Spring football game

Then-sophomore offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji blocks a player during the spring football game at Memorial Stadium on April 15, 2017. The Jayhawks won, 14-7.

Multiple former players and staff represented Kansas football in Super Bowl LVI, where the Cincinnati Bengals played the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles on Sunday. 

Two former players and one former coach of the Jayhawks represented the Bengals with one former staff member performing for the Rams in the game. 

Former Kansas offensive lineman Hakeem Adenijii played for the Bengals while former Jayhawk running back Pooka Williams Jr. was on the practice roster for Cincinnati.

Adeniji was a team captain for the Jayhawks in 2019 and earned All-Big 12 honors during all four seasons with the Jayhawks. He was picked in the sixth-round of the 2020 NFL draft and started 18 games with the Bengals in his career, including on Sunday. 

Adeniji started all nine games he played in during the regular season and started all four games in the playoffs, including the Super Bowl. He played 555 offensive snaps, allowing three sacks and racking up three penalties. 

Williams earned Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and had 1,660 all-purpose yards to rank as the third best single-season total in school history. He finished his career at Kansas with 2,382 rushing yards, ninth most in school history. 

Darrin Simmons, who punted for Kansas in 1994-95, served as the Bengals’ associate head coach and special teams coordinator. The Bengals landed in twelfth place in the NFL in special teams rankings this season. 

Simmons is in his 19th season with the Bengals after he served as a graduate assistant for the Jayhawks in 1996. In his time with the Jayhawks as a punter, he ranked sixth in the country averaging 43.8 yards per punt. That average from 1995 is tied for sixth all-time in single-season Kansas history. 

The Rams had former Kansas coach Kevin Carberry, who won a ring in his first year with the Rams in their 23-20 win. Carberry was the offensive line coach who gave quarterback Matthew Stafford plenty of time to lead a game-winning drive in his first Super Bowl appearance. 

Carberry played for Ohio University before he started coaching at Kansas from 2009-2011, where he earned his master’s in sports administration. Before joining the Rams, he joined Stephen F. Austin, the Dallas Cowboys and University of Stanford, where he primarily worked on the offensive and defensive line.  

With the talented players and coaches Kansas football is currently attracting, it wouldn’t be a shock to see more former Jayhawks get a chance to compete for a Super Bowl ring.