Maciah Long has found a home at defensive end
Maciah Long has new a home on the field and he’s starting to earn the praise from the coaches.
Long signed with Kansas after playing quarterback at North Shore High School in Texas. As a senior, he led North Shore to the 6A, Division One title. He was named the Offensive MVP of the championship game.
When Long got to Lawrence he knew his future was going to be something other than quarterback. As a true freshman, he played linebacker then saw time at quarterback in the Jayhawk formation. In the spring he moved to defensive end and has quickly caught on to the new position.
“He has adapted to the position,” said defensive coordinator Clint Bowen. “He is thick and strong and quick. We can stand him up and move him around. He has a lot of versatility to him and that will allow him to help us.”
Long is in the middle of the competition fighting for a starting spot at defensive end opposite Dorance Armstrong. He said he has been learning a lot from Armstrong.
“He has been a great help,” Long said of Armstrong. “He has been teaching me what to do in certain situations. He has been showing me the ins and outs and pointers on what he has done.”
The transition from linebacker has still been a learning experience. Long said one of the biggest differences is being physical with the offensive linemen.
“At linebacker you have to get physical at times but at defensive end you are getting physical every play,” he said. “I have to come with it every snap to be able to do my job.”
Long has caught on quick. He credits the coaching staff with helping him make the switch both on and off the field.
“It was challenging at first,” Long said. “Coach (Jesse) Williams and Coach (Joe) DeForest have done a great job getting me to where I am at today. Coach (Zac) Woodfin has done a great job with my body getting me to where I can take on the bigger guys and put a strike on them.
“I have put on more muscle because of Coach Woodfin’s program because he is great at what he does. This past summer I can just feel a difference in myself and my body. I feel stronger, more physical, and faster.”
After shifting around positions in his first season Long is settling into his new role and believes he found a home where he can continue to get better.
“I feel comfortable at the position I am playing right now,” Long said. “I feel at peace and motivated to work hard. It just feels good to be where I’m at.”