Aqib Talib #21 CB
Height: 6-1 Weight: 205 Age: 29
Born: 2/13/1986 Cleveland , OH
Experience: 8th season
High School: L.V. Berkner HS [Richardson, TX]
Selected By: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick (Overall): 20 (20)
One of the best shutdown cornerbacks in the collegiate ranks, Aqib Talib has shown marked improvement and dramatically improved his work ethic and approach to the game since he was suspended early in the 2006 season.
A player who came to Kansas with a self-described poor work habits, Talib showed some signs of immaturity during his first season, when he redshirted.
"That was a very immature person as far as the workout schedule and everything," said Talib. "I was just kind of immature and on my own schedule, like 'I'll get on the Stairmaster and not lift weights.' It was me not knowing what I had a chance to do. It was just me being very young and not thinking."
After applying himself off the field, his play elevated him among the elite players in the game, going on to start 32 of his final 34 contests. In just three seasons, he recorded 162 tackles (126 solo) and deflected 43 passes.
His 13 interceptions rank second in school history, with a KU career record 322 yards in returns and a pair of touchdowns. His 322 return yards also rank second in Big Twelve Conference annals. To further highlight his "new attitude," he also developed into an offensive weapon, as five of his nine receptions resulted in touchdowns.
At Berkner High School, Talib earned first-team All-District and All-City honors and was named the Defensive Back of the Year for Berkner as a senior. As a junior, he returned an interception for a 99-yard touchdown. In addition, he lettered in basketball and track.
In 2004, Talib turned down scholarship offers from Kansas State, Wyoming, Tulsa, Arizona and Baylor to enroll at Kansas. He spent the season competing on the scout team. He and Kansas offensive tackle Anthony Collins earned extra money cleaning stoves and refrigerators in dorms on campus.
The following year, Talib started nine of 11 games at right cornerback, earning Freshman All-American honors from Rivals.com and was named to The Sporting News' Freshman All-Big Twelve Conference team. Wearing jersey No. 28, he picked off two passes, deflected eight others and ranked sixth on the squad with 54 tackles (45 solo). Showing the strength to stack and control inside the box, he caused two fumbles, had four stops behind the line of scrimmage and recovered a fumble that he advanced six yards.
During 2006 fall camp, Talib was suspended by the coaching staff. He returned to the lineup wearing jersey No. 3 for his final 10 games after sitting out vs. Northwestern State and Louisiana-Monroe. He would go on to lead the nation with 22 pass breakups, as he also intercepted six other throws. He posted 42 tackles (39 solo) with two stops for losses and a fumble recovery. He also saw his first action as a receiver, registering a 42-yard touchdown on his only reception.
The consensus All-American and unanimous All-Big Twelve Conference first-team pick was also a finalist for the Nagurski Award (National Defensive Player of the Year) and a semi-finalist for the Thorpe Award (nation's top defensive back). He registered 66 tackles (42 solos) with 3.5 stops for losses. From his left cornerback position, he posted 13 pass deflections and gained 195 yards with two touchdowns on five interceptions. He also snared eight passes for 182 yards (22.8-yard average) and four scores, adding 21 yards on a pair of punt returns.
In 34 games at Kansas, Talib started 32 contests. He produced 162 tackles (126 solos) with 9.5 stops for losses of 19 yards and one quarterback pressure. He recovered two fumbles, advancing one six yards and also had a pair of forced fumbles. He deflected 43 passes and amassed 322 yards with two touchdowns on 13 interception returns (24.8-yard average). He hauled in nine passes for 224 yards (24.9 avg) and five scores, returned two punts for 21 yards (10.5 avg) and carried once for a 6-yard loss.