Kansas football sophomore linebacker Nick Channel received word just moments before kickoff that he would be starting at inside linebacker for the Jayhawks' game against Oklahoma State Oct. 3.
“Leading up to the game we weren’t sure what was going to be happening,” Channel said. “I didn’t know I’d actually be starting.”
As Channel took the field, he said the coaching staff told him to not overthink things and to just go out and play. Channel did just that, recording eight tackles, a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Channel’s biggest moment of the game came on Oklahoma State’s second drive when he sacked Oklahoma State freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth for a loss of nine yards.
Channel said most of the coaches were impressed with what he was able to do, and he hopes to get even more opportunities to be on the field moving forward.
“I think I surprised myself a little bit,” Channel said. “But I also knew I would make a few mistakes and I really did, there were a few times where I overran my gap or I didn’t get in my gap ... there’s still room for me to improve a lot.”
Channel credits a large amount of his accomplishments to his grandfather, Dale Channel.
“He’s had a pretty good impact on everything that I’ve done,” Channel said. “He’s about getting close to 80, if not already there, and he’s been running for as long as I can remember. And it teaches me to keep on going ... and not give up on anything.”
The sophomore did not have time to tell his family he was starting since he didn't find out until he was on the field. However, he was greeted with hugs from excited family members after the game.
“They were all really proud of me," Channel said. "I live right by [David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium] so they met me there. They were just excited to watch me play.”
Channel and the rest of Kansas football will next face off against West Virginia on the road Saturday. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.