Not much was known about Hakeem Adeniji when he showed up on campus nine months ago. He was following in his brother’s (Moshood) footsteps to Air Force. His brother lettered in all four years at Air Force as an offensive lineman.
But a peanut allergy was discovered and Adeniji eventually left the Air Force finding a new home at Kansas. That was a good thing for the Jayhawks. He started all 12 games for Kansas, beginning at right tackle and moving to the left side.
He was named to the All Big 12 Freshman team and graded out at 77 percent by the coaching staff.
When Adeniji arrived in Lawrence he weighed in at 262 pounds. Now he’s tipping the scales at a lot more than that.
“Right now I am in the upper 280’s,” he said. “A little bit of it came on during the season. At the end of the season I was probably around 270, maybe 275. Going home for winter break I was around 280 and I have put on a little bit since then and that got me to where I am now.”
Adeniji said he wants to play this season right at 300 pounds which he thinks he will achieve by the time fall camp starts.
When he arrived at Kansas he was coming off his senior season at Garland High where he played guard. He was a quick learner picking up the tackle position.
“My offensive line coach wanted me to play guard,” Adeniji said of his high school days. “He wanted to put me in a situation where I wasn’t as comfortable because he felt like I could take on that role. I think I did a pretty good job with it.
“There wasn’t an adjustment because at the end of the day I love playing tackle. I will play anywhere on the offensive line. I feel like my most natural spot is a tackle.”
Adeniji looks back growing up and watching his brother play offensive line. His brother was an all-district selection and voted the lineman of the year at Garland High before signing with Air Force.
“He played all four years at Air Force and he was a guard,” Adeniji said. “I learned a lot from him and he is my role model. I pattern what I do after him. Being able to see him play and learn from the mistakes or bumps and the road he had, has helped me here.”
The Jayhawks return 13 of their top 14 linemen. Last year they were playing with a lot of players with two years or less of experience. Adeniji believes they will be much improved for the 2017 season.
“I think we have a chance to be one of the best offensive lines in the Big 12,” he said. “I think we can compete with pretty much anybody offensive line-wise.”