1000 Yards for Sharp?

Jake Sharp is living the good life right now. Doubted by countless people growing up in Salina, Kan., this 5-10 former Central High School standout is now excelling as a rising sophomore star running back at Kansas.

Jake Sharp leads KU (7-0) with 551 rushing yards (No. 8 in Big 12 at 78.7 yards per game), and ranks second on the team with six rushing touchdowns. He is on pace to rush for 1,023 yards this season, and become just the 10th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.

So with six games left to play, has 1,000 yards entered Sharp’s mind?

“No,” he quickly replied. “I think about winning a bowl game, to be honest with you, and a Big 12 championship. If that happens, all our personal accolades will fall into place.”

Sharp certainly knows all about personal and team accolades after a legendary high school career in Salina. He rushed for a a state record 63 touchdowns his senior year, and finished his career rushing for an astounding 6,524 yards — the second highest total in KSHAA history. Sharp led Central High to an undefeated state championship his senior year in 2005, and was ranked the No. 1 player in Kansas by one recruiting service. Sharp was also named Kansas Gatorade Player of Year and earned EA Sports All-America honors as a multipurpose player.

After playing all 12 games last season and rushing for 129 yards (6.1 yards per carry) as a backup to Jon Cornish, Sharp is thriving in a more prominent role this year, splitting duty with senior back Brandon McAnderson, who ranks second on the team with 505 rushing yards.

Sharp has lost just five yards this season on a team-best 91 carries, and is the only Jayhawk with a rushing and receiving touchdown. Sharp has recorded three 100-yard rushing games, including a career-best 127 yards against Toledo on Sept. 15.

Sharp said he’s a more comfortable and confident player this year after starring in high school and learning the ropes last season as a Jayhawk freshman.

“I’m getting there,” he said. “I still got a long way to go. I was pretty comfortable as a senior (in high school). I’m definitely getting more comfortable with the offense and getting more confidence. Confidence is a big thing. Last year, I was a little nervous. I’m finally getting some confidence under me. We got a great offense and support around us.”

Sharp has helped lead the way. Yes indeed, his game is progressing just fine.

“I think I’m just listening to my coaches day in and day out on the practice field and (have) a great supporting cast around that’s kind of helped building me every week,” Sharp said. “I think I’m just getting better in all phases every week.”

But Sharp knows he and the team must improve and get better. Sure, 7-0 is nice, but he wants more. Much more. So after two straight road wins over K-State and Colorado, Sharp is primed for KU’s next road test against Texas A&M this Saturday night.

“I’m very excited to go down there and have a chance to play at College Station,” Sharp said. “It’s supposed to be a tough place to play. I think we’ll have a good challenge.”

Sharp’s not going to stop running now. He has his goals on a Big 12 championship and a big-time BCS bowl game. Forget the 1,000 yards, he just wants to compete and WIN.

“We’re not a letdown team,” Sharp said. “Every week you’re going to see our best performance put out on the field, no matter who we’re playing. We’re going to come out as hard as we can and do everything possible to win the football game.”


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