Khalil Herbert (10) of the Kansas Jayhawks tries to pick up yards as he is brought down by Ohio Bobcats defenders in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Football

Big 12 media days Q&A: Kansas’ Khalil Herbert — on football, Stoneman Douglas and his extra toe

Posted July 16th, 2018

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FRISCO — Kansas junior Khalil Herbert accounted for 53.9 percent of the Jayhawks’ 1,231 rushing yards in 2017. In a 56-34 loss to West Virginia, he picked up 291 of those 663 yards. It was the third-best rushing performance in school history.

A Florida native, Herbert attended Parkland’s Stoneman Douglas High for three years. On Feb. 14, 17 people were killed in an on-campus shooting that reignited a countrywide debate about gun control. Among those killed was Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach who died while shielding students from gunfire.

On Monday, Herbert discussed Feis, the Jayhawks and his extra toe:

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What are the expectations out in Lawrence this year?

We expect to go to a bowl game. We expect to win a lot of games this year. We come in every day with that on our mind, working every day towards that goal of getting to a bowl game.

What was this off-season like with everything going on back home?

It was tough. My team is like my family. Coaches, teammates are like my family, brother-oriented. It’s a brotherhood, so they had my back. They were supporting me through it, helping me get through it. I was able to talk with them. They helped a lot.

What was that day like for you?

It’s a touchy subject. I don’t really want to get into that. It’s hard to talk about it still.

Do you feel like you will be playing with more purpose since you might be playing for those back home?

Definitely. Every day I go to work and I think of (Feis) and I work hard for him. That’s what he instilled in us when I was growing up.

It is crazy to think you bested Gale Sayers’ best game at Kansas with that 291-yard performance? 

It’s crazy, but (without) the work coaches put me through every day, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

David Beaty said you were born with 12 fingers?

I was born with 12 fingers and 11 toes. My left foot, I have six and they’re webbed. My (extra) fingers were cut off when I was born. I still have my webbed toes. I think it was a genetic thing.

I’m guessing if you are running for 291, the webbed foot isn’t slowing you down.

It’s all I know, so it doesn’t feel any different to me.

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