As Kansas University's football program started putting together its 2005 recruiting class several months ago, many of the pieces of the puzzle looked awfully similar -- big, quick guys who are tough in the trenches.
At Wednesday's national-signing-day news conference, KU coach Mark Mangino confirmed what appeared obvious all along -- KU wanted linemen. Among 25 players who signed Wednesday to play football for the Jayhawks this fall were 12 offensive and defensive linemen.
"We need them," Mangino said. "Our offensive line ... we need to add some physical players. We need some depth. We hardly had any rotation guys last year."
KU usually had five players -- Joe Vaughn, Cesar Rodriguez, Alex Ochoa, Bob Whitaker and Matt Thompson -- spending a majority of offensive series on the field, rarely taking plays off.
Mangino doesn't want that on either line. So KU packed its 2005 class with lots of big guys, from its first commitment, California offensive lineman Jose Rodriguez, to its last, Oklahoma defensive tackle Jonathan Throneberry, who was offered a scholarship Tuesday and immediately accepted.
Mangino expects many of them to play right away, especially junior-college transfers Marcus Anderson, Jake Cox, Rodney Allen and Wayne Wilder.
"In the Big 12, you have to be able to rotate some guys and get some rest so you'll be able to slug it out in the fourth quarter," Mangino said. "We have quality players in our program, we're adding quality players and we'll have some depth."
KU's 25-man class came with three late arrivals. Along with Throneberry, Houston linebacker Arist Wright joined the class late, as did Cleburne, Texas, running back Angus Quigley. Quigley will come to KU instead of fellow Texas running back Aaron Brown, who's going to TCU.
Mangino, while still citing the need for a cornerback, called the class of 25 players his best while in Lawrence. Along with 12 linemen, he snagged two playmaking wide receivers (Brian Murph and Raimond Pendleton), a speedy juco linebacker (Eric Washington) and the top recruiting target KU had at quarterback during the entire process in Pittsburg's Kerry Meier, among others.
With a few scholarships still vacant, Mangino said the work was not done in getting personnel ready for the 2005 season.
But it was obvious Wednesday that he liked what he had so far.
"I believe, on paper, this is the best class we've brought in from top to bottom," Mangino said. "When you look at overall athleticism, speed, the offensive and defensive linemen ... I'm very pleased."
|Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino targeted lineman in this year's recruiting class, and it paid off with 12 commitments (with height, weight, next year's class and previous school):Offensive line (4)¢ Marcus Anderson, 6-3, 285, Jr., City College of San Francisco¢ Jake Cox, 6-5, 295, Jr., Iowa Central CC¢ Jose Rodriguez, 6-6, 255, Fr., La Puente, Calif.¢ Adam Welty, 6-6, 280, Fr., NewtonDefensive line (8)¢ Rodney Allen, 6-3, 275, Jr., Garden City CC¢ Caleb Blakesley, 6-5, 277, Fr., Ottawa¢ Russell Brorsen, 6-4, 235, Fr., Stillwater, Okla.¢ Bobby Johnson, 6-3, 270, Fr., Kansas City, Mo. (Westport)¢ Jonathan Throneberry, 6-3, 300, Fr., Lone Grove, Okla.¢ Darius Warner, 6-3, 245, Fr., Grapevine, Texas¢ Jeff Wheeler, 6-7, 240, Fr., Houston¢ Wayne Wilder, 6-3, 295, Jr., Garden City CC|