KU senior captain Toben Opurum has been selected to the Ted Hendricks Award preseason watch list, an honor given annually to the top defensive end in the country.
Opurum, a fourth-year senior from Richardson, Texas, had 45 tackles and four sacks last season. He also finished with 10 ½ tackles for loss. Those numbers came in just the second season after Opurum transitioned to a defensive role full-time during his sophomore year. He began his career as a running back and led the Jayhawks in rushing in 2009. Opurum was one of 40 players on the watch list.
KU coach Charlie Weis has indicated that Opurum will man a hybrid defensive end/linebacker position in KU’s defense this season.
Opurum is the third Jayhawk to garner preseason recognition. Senior tight end Mike Ragone, a transfer from Notre Dame, appeared on the Mackey Award preseason watch list, while junior punter Ron Doherty was selected to the Ray Guy Award watch list.