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Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Mangino to reveal signings

February 6, 2002

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Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino and his staff have been hard at work recruiting since being hired in early December.

Today the Jayhawks will find out if that hard work paid.

Despite being burdened with recruiting and hiring assistant coaches during the past couple of months, Mangino expects to announce the signing of about 21 recruits to national letters of intent with KU today.

"When a new staff comes in I think you have to look at the whole recruiting class a little different than you do when a guy has been recruiting since September," said Jon Kirby, editor of MoKanFootball.com. "These guys had basically one visit weekend in December and then made a mad run in January. One time we had them ranked somewhere in the 70s (nationally), and they made a two-week push and jumped 30 spots into the 40s.

"I think the effort and the way Mark Mangino and his staff came together in the month of January is a real good sign for KU football and the way the program is headed."

The Jayhawks added two more pledges on the eve of signing day in Jackson (Mo.) High offensive tackle Travis Dambach and linebacker Jon Cornish of Thomas More in British Columbia, Kirby said.

Dambach is 6-foot-5, 275 pounds and blocked for one of the nation's top recruits at running back in Mario Whitney. Cornish, listed at 6-1, 200 pounds, also was considered one of Canada's top prospects at running back.

Others expected to sign on the dotted line today are two junior college transfers and 16 other high school seniors. Mangino's first signing class also likely will include at least three quarterbacks, three wide receivers and three offensive lineman.

The Jayhawks also expect letters of intent from at least two Kansas natives.

Among the quarterbacks expected to sign are Joseph Hogan, of Sallisaw, Okla., and Nick Reid of Derby High. They would join Fort Scott CC transfer QB Bill Whittemore, who threw for 2,082 yards in being named the Jayhawk Conference's offensive most valuable player last fall. He signed during the juco signing period in December and is attending KU now.

DeSoto (Texas) High wideout Mark Simmons, who decommited from Oklahoma State to give an oral commitment to KU, is expected to sign with the Jayhawks today, as are Charles Gordon, of Santa Monica, Calif., and Dominic Roux, of Gardena, Calif.

The incoming offensive linemen could include 6-5, 310-pound Mt. Lebanon (Penn.) High offensive tackle Bob Whitaker, David Ochoa, a 6-5, 255-pound guard from Houston, and Skye Peterson, a 6-3, 280-pound guard from Milford, Conn.

Other offensive players who gave oral commitments to the Jayhawks are Carrollton, Texas, running back Jerome Lewis, and tight ends Derek Fine, of Sallisaw, Okla., and Brandon Perkins, of Houston.

Leading the way among the expected signees on defense are Riverside (Calif.) CC defensive end Cory Kipp, a 6-6, 280-pounder who originally signed with Arizona as a high school senior.

The Jayhawks also received pledges from Moorpark (Calif.) CC defensive end Reggie Curry, Wichita Southeast defensive back Jerome Kemp, Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst linebacker Kevin Kane and Weston (Mo.) West Platte linebacker Kyle Knighton, who became the state's single-season all-time leading tackler.

The KU signing class should be rounded out by defensive backs Kenneth Thompson, of Irving, Texas, and Dexter Jackson of Miami.

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