The Kansas football Jayhawks are the one Big 12 team that can’t afford to lose any key players if they expect to have any chance of improving upon their record of one conference win in the last two seasons.
Senior running backs Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox, who were running one and two on the 2014 depth chart for the Jayhawks, both suffered season-ending injuries this past week.
Bourbon tore his ACL in a scrimmage on Sunday, and Cox tore his Achilles in a non-contact drill on Sunday. Head coach Charlie Weis announced both injuries in a statement on Tuesday. The Associated Press reportedWeis as saying that both players will remain in school and explore petitioning for a sixth year of eligibility.
Bourbon played in 12 games for the Jayhawks last season and started seven. He had 41 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns and also caught 20 passes for 102 yards. The native of Patosi, Mo., was redshirted his true freshman season.
Cox saw action in just two games in 2013 before suffering an injury that knocked him our for the rest of the season. The year before, however, he played in all 12 Jayhawk games and rushed for 464 yards on 91 carries and scored three rushing touchdowns. He also averaged 20 yards on nine kickoff returns in 2012, including a 42-yard return against Baylor.
With both Bourbon and Cox now gone for the season, the running back chores revert to junior-college transfer De’Andre Mann and freshman Corey Avery. The Kansas coaches have also moved freshman safety Joe Dineen, Jr.to running back for added depth.
This is a major blow for the Kansas offense coming into the new season. Both Bourbon and Cox were being counted on to carry the majority of the rushing load in 2014.
In an unrelated note of interest to Jayhawk fans, former Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps, who lost his starting job last season to then-freshman Montell Cozart, is reported to be in consideration for the starting job this season at the University of Miami. Heaps transferred to Miami after last season. He played only one year at KU.