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July 29, 2012

New players make strong impression

Charlie Weis has made it clear the defensive line could get a boost from new players coming in over the summer.

There is a good chance the two-deep on the defensive line will be drastically different from the spring game. During summer workouts some of those defensive newcomers have caught the attention of the current players.

Asked about what players have made a strong impression Toben Opurum picked out two players on the defensive line in Keon Stowers and Josh Williams.

"I work closely with the defensive line a whole lot," Opurum said. "Two guys that I've noticed that have really stepped up have been Keon Stowers and Josh Williams. Keon for a guy his size is very quick and I think he'll be able to use that to his advantage with his athletic ability."

Stowers, 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, signed with the Jayhawks out of Georgia Military. Stowers told Jayhawk Slant before he reported he added good weight to his frame. He wanted to get close to 290 pounds for the season.

Williams started two games last year at defensive end for Nebraska. He played in the last 26 games for the Cornhuskers.

Although Tanner Hawkinson works with the offensive line he also picked out Stowers as a new player that has turned in a good summer.

"I've been impressed with a majority of the freshmen that have come in," Hawkinson said. "Obviously, for your first summer, it's pretty tough. They've been doing workouts great and working their tails off. The juco guys I've been around Keon Stowers has been running really well."

Hawkinson also called out tight end Charles Brooks as someone having a strong summer. He said the transfers from Notre Dame have also provided leadership.

"All of the transfers with Dayne (Crist) and (Anthony) McDonald have looked good," Hawkinson said. "Obviously those guys know how to work because they've been around football for quite some time. There have been a lot of good impressions so far this summer."

For the defense to have success they have to improve up front. Although more help will be on the way later in the summer the players already on campus are off to a good start.

"Josh (Williams), who's an older guy and even with me being a captain on the team, he's stepped up and has shown me that he can be a leader," Opurum said of the Nebraska transfer. "He's older and a little more mature. This is a business for him. This is his last year. He'll definitely be able to help us as far as his leadership goes and his athletic ability.

"Keon has come in and worked. He's gained weight and has increased his speed. He's very athletic for a guy his size. Whether as a starter or backup he's going to play. He'll have an opportunity to help us out."

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