Archive for Thursday, February 5, 2004

At least one surprise in Mangino’s class

February 5, 2004

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Mark Mangino had one trick up his sleeve on national signing day.

Media and recruiting analysts had figured out most of Kansas University's football recruiting class, but defensive end Charlton Keith slipped under everyone's radar.

"He's very athletic, quick as a cat and works extremely hard. (He) has a great work ethic on the football field," Mangino said Wednesday while announcing his third recruiting class. "He is one of those guys that always has his motor running. We are excited to get him."

Keith started his collegiate career playing for Glen Mason at Minnesota, where he led the Gophers in sacks as a red-shirt freshman in 2002 and was a Sporting News Freshman All-American.

"When you sign a kid, you hope to develop him into a Division One player," said recruiting analyst Jon Kirby of rivals.com. "He's already shown he's a Division One player. To come up with a kid like this that late is big."

When Mason's staff wanted to move Keith to linebacker, he moved to Minnesota West Community College instead.

"We were fortunate to have him," Minnesota West coach Jeff Linder said. "He was a man among boys at this level."

Keith (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) was a two-way player -- lining up at receiver, tight end and defensive end -- in the first two games of 2003 before focusing primarily on defense. He had 11 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, 61 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in nine games. He also caught 17 passes.

Linder said Keith received interest from Kansas State, Houston, Indiana State and Kentucky, but Mangino had one thing none of those schools could offer -- KU strength and conditioning coach Chris Dawson was Keith's strength coach for two years at Minnesota.

"He's a kid I never had a problem with," Dawson said. "We have to get him in the weight room.

"Junior-college teams don't have weight facilities like we have here. They might have a training table, but it's not what it is here. I'm looking forward to him getting here and getting better."

KU already had signed Tyler (Texas) JC defensive end Jermail Ashley in December. A third end -- Martin Miller of Moorpark (Calif.) College -- had given KU an oral commitment, but he signed Wednesday with San Diego State. Miller also had given a commitment to Colorado State, but the Oregon native opted to stay closer to home.

A similar scenario unfolded with Miami Edison linebacker Brouce Mompremier, who committed to South Florida, switched to KU but ultimately signed with USF.

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