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It is easy to say so far that Brad Thorson is making the most of his second chance. Coaches and players alike call him a pleasant surprise, and Thorson is projected to be the heir apparent to Ryan Cantrell at center next year. Still though, the sophomore transfer from Wisconsin is just happy to have an opportunity to play.
It was just six months ago during a Wisconsin spring practice when Thorson's life was turned upside down. Thorson was going up against Wisconsin defensive lineman Dan Moore during a one-on-one drill, and ended up twisting Moore down to the turf. Moore suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the rest of spring practice.
Thorson and the Wisconsin coaches disagreed on what really happened during the drill, with Thorson calling it a "freak play," and others thinking it was a dirty move on Thorson's part.
One thing Thorson and the coaches could agree on though was it was best that Thorson find a new home.
"I have moved on from it," Thorson said. "There are no hard feelings. I still keep in touch with all those guys up there. To tell you the truth from what I think happened, it was a non-incident."
After Thorson left Wisconsin, he started on his search to find a new school. He remembered how well Kansas ran the football last year, a credit to the offensive line, and gave Kansas offensive line coach John Reagan a call. Things fell into place and Thorson became a Jayhawk, with the only catch being he would join the program as a walk on.
"I am just trying to earn my way on," Thorson said. "I have confidence in myself and hopefully can contribute to this team and become a scholarship player."
While coaches say Thorson has made great strides on the field since he has been here, it has been in the classroom where he has been most ahead of the curve. Thorson graduated from Wisconsin with a degree in business after just two years in part to long study hours and a heavy dose of high school AP credits before he arrived on campus. His early graduation also allowed him to play for Kansas without missing a season.
An NCAA rule lets athletes play immediately for their new school if they have already graduated and are working on their graduate degree. Right now Thorson's focus is sports management.
"I love the opportunity to keep learning whether it be football, sports administration or anything that anybody wants to throw at me," Thorson said.
On the field, Thorson does his learning by watching senior center Ryan Cantrell. While Thorson said Cantrell will leave behind "big shoes to fill," after this season, offensive coordinator Ed Warinner thinks Thorson can handle the challenge.
"He is a very smart guy and learns well," Warinner said. "He is playing hard in practice. I think he is ready if we needed him. He could step in and do a very adequate job for us."
That opportunity will come later, right now Thorson is just happy to be back playing football.
"I have two teams who I would all call my brothers," Thorson said. "It has worked out well."