Courtesy: KU Athletics
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football’s first game is less than three weeks away, and while the current crop of Jayhawks are preparing for their game against Southeast Missouri State, Kansas Athletics announced plans to honor one of the most successful seasons in KU Football history. The 2007 squad that finished as 2008 Orange Bowl champions, along with two players and a coach from that team will be recognized at the season-opening contest.
The 2007 team will be inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame, cornerback Aqib Talib and offensive lineman Anthony Collins will each be individually inducted into the Hall of Fame and will have their names added to the KU Football Ring of Honor and 2007 head coach Mark Mangino will be individually added to the Hall of Fame as the coach of the Orange Bowl victors.
Kansas Athletics and K Club will be hosting a weekend of events including a private dinner to honor the football student-athletes, support staff and coaches who were a part of the 2007 team. The team, Mangino, Talib and Collins will also be a part of on-field recognitions when KU plays host to SEMO on Sept. 2.
Not only did the 2007 Jayhawks capture the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl win, they also collected a school-record 12 wins. The Orange Bowl win marked KU’s first January bowl game since playing in the 1969 Orange Bowl. Led by team captains running back Brandon McAnderson, tight end Derek Fine, defensive tackle James McClinton and Talib, KU achieved its highest ranking in school history, appearing at No. 2 in all four college football polls on Nov. 18, 2007 after improving to 11-0 following a win over Iowa State.
Mangino took home nearly every Coach of the Year honor awarded for the 2007 campaign. He was bestowed with the American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Bear Bryant, Eddie Robinson, Home Depot, Sporting News, Walter Camp and Woody Hayes awards for the top head coach in college football that season.
Talib, a Richardson, Texas, native, earned a number of national honors after helping Kansas to its 12-1 record during the 2007 season, including being named Orange Bowl MVP. He finished the 2007 campaign with 66 tackles, while tallying a team-best 13 passes broken up and five interceptions. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns, including a 60-yarder for the first score against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
In his three-year Jayhawk career, Talib registered 13 interceptions to rank second all-time at Kansas and added 45 passes broken up. In 2007 he became an offensive threat as well, pulling in eight receptions for 182 yards and four touchdowns as a part-time wide receiver.
Talib used his time at KU as a stepping stone to even greater success at the next level. After being drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he is in the midst of an outstanding career in professional football. A four-time NFL Pro-Bowler, Talib helped lead the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 championship in February 2016.
Collins, a native of Beaumont, Texas, was a finalist for the Outland Trophy after helping anchor KU’s offensive line during the 2007 season. He earned All-America First Team honors by the Associated Press, Walter Camp, the Football Writer’s Association of America, SI.com, CBSSportsline.com and Rivals.com. He started 24 games in his three-year KU career, playing at both right and left tackle during his time as a Jayhawk.
Following his time in the Crimson and Blue, Collins spent seven seasons playing in the NFL. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008 and spent his first six years suiting up in Cincy. In 2014 he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played his final season with the Bucs.
Talib and Collins are the first Jayhawks to have their names added to the Ring of Honor since Mike McCormack was added in 2008. Talib and Collins will become the 17th and 18th former Jayhawks to have their names added to the ring on the north end of Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium.
Others in the KU Ring of Honor include Nolan Cromwell, Bobby Douglass, Ray Evans, John Hadl, David Jaynes, Bruce Kallmeyer, Curtis McClinton, Mike McCormack, George Mrkonic, Willie Pless, Gil Reich, John Riggins, Gale Sayers, Otto Schnellbacher, Oliver Spencer and John Zook.
Single-game tickets are on sale, with prices ranging from $15-$80, depending on the game and seat location in Memorial Stadium.