All-time NCAA single-game rushing leader Tony Sands received a lot of attention at both the Hula and East-West Shrine Bowl football games.
"I had big articles written on me in the San Francisco and Hawaii papers," said the ex-KU running back, who gained a record 396 yards rushing on 58 carries versus Missouri. "I was surprised. A lot of the players came up to me and talked about the record.
"They said they didn't think a guy my size could carry that many times and gain that many yards. They started calling me `Quick Sands.' It was kind of nice seeing I could compete with the quote-unquote, best players."
THE PUB was a bonus, but there was also a down side to playing in the two all-star games showcases for NFL scouts.
"Everybody is checking you out agents, scouts. When we went on the field, I felt like a cow about to be slaughtered," Sands said. "The scouts were everywhere. They went to our practices, even our engagements. They wanted to see how you acted off the field."
Sands, projected at best as a late-round pick because of his 5-6, 170-pound frame, didn't compile eye-opening numbers in either game.
He gained 22 yards on eight carries in the Shrine game after gaining 18 yards on six totes in the Hula Bowl. He caught three passes in the two games.
"I had scouts from Dallas, the Raiders, San Diego and Tampa Bay talk to me," Sands said. "They told me to work on the pass catching. They want to see me improve there. They said that would boost my stock.
"I THINK I proved I could catch the ball," he added. "It seems everybody who's come out of the Big Eight has had that question mark, can he catch the ball. (Barry) Sanders, (Eric) Bieniemy, Ken Clark, that's been the question."
Sands will work out for NFL scouts on KU's campus. Unlike teammates Tim Hill and Chris Perez, he has not been invited to the NFL scouting combine starting next Wednesday in Indianapolis.
"It puzzles me," said Sands of the NFL snub, "but not many things have come to me easy. I've been up against a lot of things. When they (scouts) come through here, I'll show I can run as fast as those other guys, too."
If he had his choice, he'd play for either Tampa Bay or Dallas.
"Tampa Bay because I'm from Florida," said the Fort Lauderdale, native. "Dallas because I'd like the opportunity to play with my uncle (Michael Irvin)."
IRVIN CURRENTLY is helping Sands find an agent, which is next on his agenda.
Whether he winds up in the NFL or CFL or finishes up his degree next fall, Sands can look back fondly on his senior year.
Right up there on his thrill list was his trip to Hawaii for the Hula game.
"People there treated us first class. We went surfing, went on big boats and did some fishing," he said.