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May 10, 2010Going into the 2010 season Jake Laptad was the only defensive lineman that looked like he had a starting spot locked up. Everyone else was going to fight for a job. That's exactly what Kevin Young did.
Young, who played high school ball a short drive away in Olathe, used this spring to elevate himself on the depth chart. When the post-spring chart was just released he was listed as the starting defensive end with Laptad.
In the spring game Young recorded two sacks. With Laptad going through limited drills in the spring Young stepped up.
"I thought I played very well," Young said of the spring game. "I started off a little sluggish but I picked it up after the first series. I improved on playing the run a lot better this spring. I do think I improved on pass rush but definitely more on the run."
Young got a head start on his career as a Jayhawk. After an intense recruiting battle against Nebraska he enrolled early at Kansas. While many of his friends were still attending Olathe North Young got a jump on college life starting classes in January of his senior year.
When he arrived a little over a year ago he weighed 225 pounds. His hard work in the weight room paid off. Under former strength and conditioning coach Chris Dawson, Young added muscle to his frame in quick fashion. He is playing at the weight he feels comfortable with now and is trying to maintain.
"I'm about 255 and I worked out pretty hard," Young said. "I'm trying not to get above 260 and just trying to add muscle weight. I'm trying to keep the bad weight off. I think we have one of the best strength staffs in the nation. We focus on every part of our body and work hard. You also have to focus on eating right and not eating fast food. If you do that you will put on the bad weight."
The defensive line had an impressive showing at the spring game. They racked up nine sacks and constantly pressured the Jayhawk quarterbacks. The competition on the line has made them better and Young saw the unit improve as the spring went along.
"Our goal has been to improve every day," Young said. "You don't stay the same every day, either you get worse or you get better. As a whole I think the d-line got better. In my opinion I think everyone on our line has stepped it up from the first day."
Young has come a long way in a year's time, but believes he can get better. He worked hard under defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt to develop his game and will continue to improve.
"I've tried to develop more of a wide range of pass rushes instead of just having one move," he said. "I don't want to be a one dimensional player and the more moves I develop I hope I can keep the tackle off balance. That way they can't predict what you are always going to do. I just need to keep working hard."
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