LAWRENCE — Dru Prox couldn’t recall the exact number off the top of his head.

Luckily, the Kansas football inside linebacker has on speed dial a free-of-charge amateur statistician, an individual eager to share every little detail about the junior’s now budding collegiate career.

Prox is emerging as the latest impact player at linebacker for the Jayhawks. Following in the footsteps of standouts Ben Heeney and Joe Dineen, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder has put together the first leg of a breakout season — Prox has led KU (2-1) in tackles in each of its first three contests, recording nine against Indiana State, 11 versus Coastal Carolina and 10 against Boston College.

Not too shabby for a player who, when asked, struggled to identify how many snaps he played at his position last season.

“Ooh, probably, um, maybe, I’ll say 20. It could be less, and if it’s more, then 25 is more,” Prox said with a laugh. “But it wasn’t a lot at all.”

There is one person more likely to know that answer than Prox himself — his mother.

A stabilizing force for Prox and his brothers growing up, Aime Hadnot is often the first person to alert the KU linebacker of any statistic both big and small — for instance, all 10 of Prox’s tackles in the Jayhawks’ upset victory over the Eagles came before halftime. Prox promises his mind isn’t on individual accomplishments while the game is ongoing, but soon after the final whistle, he’s made aware of any relevant benchmark.

“I’m saying, as soon as they come out, she’s on it,” Prox said. “Anything y’all post, it’s going to hit my phone and she’s going to tell me immediately, I promise.”

Hadnot wasn't afforded many opportunities to play this role over her son’s first three collegiate seasons.

Prox, an unranked recruit in the Class of 2016 out of Kaufman (Texas) High School, redshirted his first season in Lawrence, and as he indicated earlier, the following two years provided little more than the occasional in-game cameo. Buried in the depth chart behind the rarely rested combo of Dineen and Keith Loneker Jr., Prox leaned on positives provided by his special teams opportunities.

Still, he acknowledges now that the situation was difficult to process.

“Nobody comes to college to just sit on the sideline or not get to play, but that’s just how it played out,” Prox said. “I’m not going to be one of those guys ... who gets to badmouthing the coaches. Other players be like, ‘Why can’t I go in? I’m better than this dude,’ or ‘I’m better than this dude.’ That’s just life. That’s how it happens. You’ve just got to play your role and keep goin’.”

The graduations of Dineen and Loneker Jr., as well as the arrivals of new head coach Les Miles, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot and inside linebackers coach Mike Ekeler, afforded Prox a second chance at a first impression. Hearing Miles’ words after Prox’s 10-solo-tackle performance against the Chanticleers, it’s clear that opportunity has been seized.

“He’s having a great year,” Miles said. “He’s very talented — mobile, athletic, understands football, is a bright football man and he has a number of tackles. I like the person, the athlete. ...

"Statistically he is killing it. I think he's — it's early in the season, but he certainly would be up for postseason awards."

Prox said his hot start has been “real gratifying” but added he’s not yet satisfied, citing form and technique as two areas he hopes to hone when Big 12 play begins against West Virginia (2-1) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday inside David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. A victory in that contest would give the Jayhawks a 3-1 record for the first time since the 2009 season.

Prox doesn't need a reminder about that particular statistic.

“We’re starving. We need it bad,” Prox said. “Like, we’re really trying to show the Big 12 and every other major conference that we’re a major team. I think so far we’re off to a good start.”

Prox acknowledged KU isn't in the position it wanted to be in at this point, the result of a 12-7 home defeat in Week 2. Even in that deflating moment, however, Prox is able to identify a silver lining.

“A lot of people are looking at Coastal Carolina as a bad loss. I’m looking at it like, that’s what we needed,” Prox said. “I hate that it had to happen, but it happened. We can’t go back. It’s next team. I feel like that really showed us, like, it humbled us. They’re a D-I team just like we are. We’ve got to get it. I think we’re really using this momentum from this Boston College win. I think it’s going to keep us moving. We’re just trying to get this stream rolling.”

And, as Prox revealed, perhaps his statistician deserves a hat tip for at least one aspect of KU's bounce-back effort.

Hadnot and other family members made the long trek from Texas to Chestnut Hill, Mass., last Friday to witness the Jayhawks’ 48-24 upset victory, a game that featured a second-half shutout by the KU defense. Senior linebacker Najee Stevens-McKenzie, Prox’s roommate, was in on what became a surprise visit — Stevens-McKenzie put Prox’s family on his ticket list, and the junior wasn't clued in until just before kickoff.

“When we were doing individual stuff right before the game, they’d yell my name and I seen them,” Prox said. “That really got me excited too. Made me want to play harder. Like, ‘Well, they made this trip all the way out here. I’ve got to put on a show for them.’ ”

In lieu of sharing something from the box score, Hadnot instead offered her son a postgame hug and a few words of encouragement — “[That] I played a great game basically, what every mom is going to tell you regardless,” Prox said with a laugh.

It would be safe, then, to label Hadnot as her son's biggest cheerleader. Right?

“No. 1. Her and my son’s mom, No. 1. And my grandma, so I can’t say — three No. 1s,” Prox responded.

He smiled, then continued.

“There’s a lot of No. 1s,” Prox said. "But my mom, without a doubt."