Kansas’ Trevor Pardula has come a long way in the game of football since his days as a senior at Leigh High School in San Jose.
Pardula would grow into a 6-foot-5 punter, one who was good enough to be invited to this week’s NFL Combine, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was just a former soccer who only played one year of high school football.
“I played soccer my whole life, could always kick farther than almost anyone I played against, so I figured I’d give it a shot,” Pardula said. “My senior year, my high school team, we went 1-9 so there wasn’t much exposure there.”
Pardula then spent two seasons at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif., to showcase his skills. It worked, as he received offers from hometown San Jose State and, of course, Kansas, the school he ended up settling on.
“It was a Big 12 offer, and I grew up in California and spent the first 19 years of my life there,” Pardula said. “I think moving away from home, just to get the experience of something different, something new, I wanted to experience that.
Pardula flourished at Kansas, averaging punts of 43.7 yards in 2013 and 44.3 yards in 2014. He is among three Jayhawks at the event, including linebacker Ben Heeney and cornerback JaCorey Shepherd.
“It shows that we have the talent there, that we have the potential,” said Pardula, whose Jayhawks went 6-18 the last two seasons. “It’s a good thing showing that Kansas is a place talent can come from.”
Pardula added that he was pleased with his decision to go to Kansas, citing the fact that the school gave him the exposure he needed to get to the next level.
“It worked out for me,” Pardula said. “I’m here. Kansas was a great place for me. I really enjoyed my team there.”