Former Maur Hill-Mount Academy standout Nick Caudle is entering his sophomore season with the University of Kansas football program.
Like everyone else on the Jayhawk football team, Caudle is competing every day to impress the new Les Miles regime in Lawrence.
“It’s a fresh start regardless of how good or bad you did in the past,” the walk-on safety said. “We knew going into the winter you’d have to fight for a spot regardless of who you were.”
Caudle said the intensity was elevated even before the players and coaches touched the field for camp.
“We came into camp the in best shape of our lives,” Caudle said. “The energy around the team is just a little bit more than I’ve felt in past years.”
Caudle said getting to play under and know Miles has been eye opening from the standpoint of just how much of a player’s coach the one time national title winner is.
“I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous with the reputation he has,” Caudle said. “As soon as he got in there in the first meeting you could tell he is a player’s coach and likes to have fun with his guys.”
Caudle also said that Miles’ savvy as a program builder and coach is clear.
“You can tell he has won some games and he knows what he is doing,” Caudle said. “So it’s fun to be playing with a guy like that.”
Playing at Kansas has been a dream for Caudle most of his life.
His father, Todd Caudle played for the Jayhawks from 1990 to 1992.
“All I could ever think about when I was growing up is going to play for Kansas athletics, especially since my dad played there,” Caudle said. “I always wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
Caudle dealt with some injuries during his time as a Raven that put his playing future in doubt, so when he was fortunate enough to receive even the smallest opportunity from Kansas he took it.
“As soon as I heard KU and got a chance to play I was taking it.” Caudle said. “I didn’t care what it was.”
Caudle said being from a small town like Atchison is never lost on him and always provides motivation on the field.
“That is one thing you think about a lot,” Caudle said. “How can I make my family, friends and people I know back home proud.”
Caudle also said how it’s nice to see other players from Atchison compete at another Division I school and give the town more clout.
“That is what is so cool right now with Harry Trotter and Wykeen Gill playing at Kansas State,” Caudle said. “Those are people I grew up with and Atchison is probably getting a little bit more recognition than it has in a while.”
Caudle said he does hope to make an impact on special teams for the 2019 season, but is also ultimately happy to be a part of the new era of Jayhawk football.
“That is ultimately up to the coaches but special teams is the goal for me,” Caudle said. “I’m excited to be a part of something special this year.”