Kansas University's struggling secondary probably could have used Kenneth Thompson this season, but the Grand Prairie, Texas, defensive back didn't qualify academically.
While the rest of coach Mark Mangino's first recruiting class was preparing for the 2002 football season, Thompson was at home studying for the ACT. He took the test in September and recently learned he had earned a qualifying score.
"He's coming, and he's excited," said Selwyn Miles, Thompson's stepfather.
Thompson (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) was an all-state and all-area selection last fall at Nimitz High and was named most valuable player of the metroplex. He finished his prep career with 4,127 yards rushing as a running back and 135 tackles and 12 interceptions as a defensive back.
Thompson, who was out of town and unavailable for comment Tuesday, also was an honor-roll student but struggled with earning a qualifying score on standardized tests.
"He's a good student," Miles said in a phone interview. "I think it was the pressure and trying so hard. This time he was settled down and calm."
Thompson plans to enroll at KU for second semester and will be able to participate in spring drills.
Players of week: Mangino announced KU's players of the week at his weekly news conference Tuesday. Senior receiver Byron Gasaway, who had two touchdowns in the Jayhawks' 47-22 loss to Texas A&M;, was named offensive player of the week. Senior linebacker Greg Cole earned defensive honors after making five tackles for losses. Sophomore Tony Stubbs was the top special teams player.
Home sweet home: Some fans have wondered if KU's annual Border War with Missouri ever would be moved to a neutral site, such as Kansas City, Mo.
Those fans shouldn't plan on tailgating at Arrowhead Stadium anytime soon.
"Every game we can play at Memorial Stadium, we want to play," said Mangino, whose team faces Mizzou on Saturday at Columbia, Mo. "We want to play at home in front of our fans and our student body on our campus every opportunity we get."
Mangino said he enjoyed coaching in the Red River Shootout Â OU's annual game against Texas at the Cotton Bowl Â when he was an assistant at Oklahoma. That neutral-site game gives OU coaches a chance to recruit in Dallas.
Mangino said his rebuilding team needs to stay closer to home Â for now.
"Now, years down the road ... we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said. "Right now, I, personally, don't have any ambition to play anyone at a neutral site."