Now that Kansas University's football coaches have assembled most of their recruiting class, the key now is to get out the swords and fend off those trying for their commitments.
With 23 known pledges locked for the 2006 class - including four junior-college transfers who already have signed - only a few scholarships remain before signing day Feb. 1.
"I would say that we'll probably take two or three more," Mangino said Thursday. "We're really winding down here."
Mangino usually likes to save a scholarship for a possible late addition after signing day, but hinted if he can get who he's targeting, he wouldn't hold any back.
Some nicks: Spring practices are expected to start in March, and Mangino confirmed a few players wouldn't take part.
"We'll have a couple of guys out," Mangino said. "We knew prior to the bowl game that we would have some kids that won't be participating."
Mangino declined to name who would be held out, but sources say one is lineman Todd Haselhorst, who still is recovering from an injury and subsequent surgery that kept him out most of the season.
Still no word: KU starts its offseason conditioning program Monday, but whether that's with defensive tackle Eric Butler remains unclear.
Mangino said he was in close contact with compliance regarding Butler's situation. Though Butler only has played two seasons of football, he initially enrolled in college five years ago, and that started his eligibility clock. It technically expired, and KU now is petitioning for added eligibility.
"His waiver has to be cleared before he can participate in anything," Mangino said.
Keith invited: Former defensive end Charlton Keith has been invited to attend the NFL Combine, which starts Feb. 22 in Indianapolis.
Keith shined in his final season at KU, making 61 tackles, including nine sacks. He also had a fumble recovery and an interception return for a touchdown.
The Combine is heavily attended by NFL personnel and consists of a variety of testing. It often can boost stock significantly before the NFL Draft in late April.
Rice added: Associate athletic director Larry Keating said Thursday that KU had agreed to a four-year football series with Rice.
The Jayhawks and Owls will meet in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, with two of the games in Lawrence and two in Houston.
The Owls, members of Conference-USA, have fallen on hard times recently. They finished 1-10 in '05, beating only Tulane.
Keating said he still was trying to complete the 2006 schedule. A nonconference game on Sept. 9 remains vacant.
Walk-ons rewarded: Mangino announced Thursday that walk-on defensive backs Sadiq Muhammed and Brian Seymour were awarded scholarships for the 2006 season.
Seymour, a Lawrence High grad, played on special teams this year; Muhammed played behind Jerome Kemp at strong safety.
"They're both very deserving," Mangino said. "They have made our team better."
Ceremony planned: Kansas has scheduled a football awards ceremony for 7 p.m. on Jan. 28 at the Lied Center.
The public is invited to attend, and there is no charge. Awards will be handed out, and a highlight video will be shown.