The past 10 years haven’t been pretty for the University of Kansas football program.
Four head coaches. No winning seasons — not even close to one, actually.
But even as the Jayhawks struggled to win, depending on the year, one, two or three games between 2010 and 2019, a decade during which KU compiled a 21-99 record, there were players who managed to stand out and make those few victories possible.
So before the Jayhawks head into 2020, and the second year under head coach Les Miles, here’s a look at the past 10 years and some of the players who helped a long-suffering fan base get through it all.
KU football All-Decade Team - Offense
(Any player who suited up for the Jayhawks at least one season between 2010 and 2019 was eligible.)
OL - Hakeem Adeniji (2016-19): Incredibly, the tackle from Garland, Texas, not only started in his college debut in 2016, but also remained in the starting lineup every week for the remainder of his four-year career.
Adeniji got to 48 starts by playing through injuries, too. That was never more challenging than during his sophomore year, when Adeniji suffered a torn labrum in one shoulder before the season even began and then the same injury on the opposite shoulder in early October. The left tackle waited until after the 12-game schedule was over to have two separate surgeries to repair his shoulders.
Adeniji became an All-Big 12 performer (first-team by coaches, second-team by AP) during his senior season.
OL - Tanner Hawkinson (2009-12): Though his KU football career began one season before this past decade began, the 6-foot-5 blocker from McPherson put in most of his work after 2009 and the conclusion of the Mark Mangino era. Hawkinson, a big tackle who played on both ends of the line during his time in Lawrence, was one of a few KU O-linemen who proved dependable during the early stages of the 2010s. Over the course of his career he started all 12 games every season.
Hawkinson picked up second-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior and went on to become a fifth-round pick of Cincinnati in the 2013 NFL Draft.
OL - Jeremiah Hatch (2008-11): A holdover from the last KU team to post a winning season, the steady and tough O-lineman from Dallas endured through the beginning of the down years, too.
A center in his final three seasons with the Jayhawks, Hatch was a team captain during his senior year, when he picked up a second-team All-Big 12 nod.
Hatch started the final 21 games of his career, while battling injuries.
OL - Trevor Marrongelli (2009-12): Though born and raised in Austin, Texas, the O-lineman would become a key contributor up front in Lawrence, with the Jayhawks.
Marrongelli went from a scout team performer during his redshirt season to a starter in the final 24 games of his career.
The interior lineman mostly played guard before shifting to center for his senior season, in 2012, when he was an Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree for the fourth year in a row.
OL - Duane Zlatnik (2009-12): A Sunflower State native from Rossville, Zlatnik showed up at KU as a defensive lineman but transitioned over to the O-line ahead of the 2010 season.
After starting at both left and right guard as a sophomore, he would go on to man either one of those spots as a starter throughout the rest of his career.
The AP listed Zlatnik as an honorable mention O-lineman following his senior year at left guard.
QB - Carter Stanley (2016-19): In a decade characterized by not only poor offensive outings but quarterback issues in particular, Stanley’s senior season easily outshone the nine years of KU QB play that preceded it.
Stanley completed 60.9% of his passes (226-for-371) this past year, throwing for 2,664 yards and 24 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions.
The tough-minded, 6-2 QB from Vero Beach, Fla., started multiple games during his first three seasons in uniform and all 12 as a senior. Stanley finished his time at KU with the second-most passing TDs (37) in program history, trailing only Todd Reesing (90). In all, Stanley threw for 5,035 yards as a Jayhawk.
RB - James Sims (2010-13): One of the most productive rushers in KU history, Sims ranks third all-time in the program’s record books with 3,592 rushing yards and even higher in rushing TDs, with 34 — only June Henley’s 41 career TD runs rank higher.
Sims finished his time with the Jayhawks with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing years (1,013 as a junior, followed by 1,110 as a senior).
The 6-foot halfback from Irving, Texas, basically was KU’s entire offense at times and even led KU with 25 receptions in 2013. Sims was an All-Big 12 second team back each of his final two years.
RB - Pooka Williams Jr. (2018-19): It had been years since KU could put as dynamic a player on the field as it found in Williams, a rusher from Louisiana with plenty of dimensions to his skill set.
In his freshman season of 2018, Williams averaged 102.3 rushing yards per game with his 1,125 yards and contributed 289 more yards as a pass-catcher, while accounting for 10 total TDs (one of which he threw on a trick play).
A known commodity as a sophomore, Williams again surpassed 1,000 rushing yards (1,061) and scored five total TDs, while repeating as a first-team All-Big 12 performer.
WR - Steven Sims Jr. (2015-18): For so much of this down decade of KU football, the Jayhawks struggled to catch up with the rest of the Big 12 in the passing game and often lacked a go-to receiver.
They finally found one in Steven Sims Jr. The 5-10 speedster from Houston owns the program’s 10-year high mark for receptions in a season, with his 72 catches in 2016.
His 214 career receptions rank third in program history. Plus, Sims is second all-time among KU pass-catchers with not only 2,582 career receiving yards, but also 19 career TDs.
WR - Andrew Parchment (2019): So few receivers produced within KU’s paltry offense over the course of the past 10 years that in his first season with the Jayhawks, as a transfer from the junior college ranks, Parchment was able to separate himself.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, with speed and ball skills at 6-2, hauled in 65 passes, giving him the second-best single-season total in that category during the decade.
Parchment, as a junior, quickly became one of Stanley’s favorite targets, and finished 2019 with 831 receiving yards and seven TD catches.
TE - Jimmay Mundine (2011-14): Again, KU’s passing offense was nonexistent for the better part of a decade, making it difficult for tight ends to flourish. Still, Mundine led the team in receptions (45) during his senior year.
Over the course of four years, the Denison, Texas, native caught 11 TD passes and made 86 receptions for 1,082 yards. Mundine was a second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2014.
K - Gabriel Rui (2017-18): He only spent two years kicking for the Jayhawks, but Rui left the program as its all-time leader in field goal percentage (minimum 24 attempts), at 78.4%.
Rui, a Hinton, Okla., native, drilled 29 of his 37 career field goal tries. He went 17-for-20 in 2017.
Not once — on 51 career attempts — did Rui misfire on an extra point.
His career long field goal of 54 yards is tied for seventh-best in KU history.