Ryan Wood’s KU football notebook

Recruiting update

One of the most intriguing positions Kansas is pursuing in the final weeks of recruiting is running back, with the loss of Brandon McAnderson to graduation still on the minds of KU coaches.

Kansas currently has two high-profile targets for the position: DeSoto (Texas) High star Cyrus Gray and Cisco (Texas) Community College product Jocques Crawford.

Crawford originally committed to Texas Tech, where his brother Aaron plays, but backed out after Tech revealed it planned to use Jocques at safety. Rivals.com indicates that Kansas, TCU and Mississippi may be battling for the NJCAA’s leading rusher, who plans to graduate from junior college in May.

Gray, meanwhile, has an even more complicated recruitment going on. He is considered one of the top 100 recruits in the nation and visited Kansas on Dec. 7. Rivals now is reporting that Gray is nearing his decision, but seems to be keeping his favorites close to the vest. Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Florida and Kansas are possibilities.

More Young talk

KU defensive coordinator Bill Young appears to be a popular man in the wake of KU’s Orange Bowl victory.

Young is considered a candidate for the defensive-coordinator opening at Washington. CSTV.com now is reporting that Miami may be interested in Young for its coordinator vacancy, as well.

Young has been at Kansas since 2002, Mangino’s first season. He recently was a finalist for the Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

The competition

Tuesday was the last day underclassmen could declare for the NFL Draft, and more than 40 early entrants have declared.

That includes KU cornerback Aqib Talib and offensive tackle Anthony Collins, who announced their plans Jan. 7.

As for their competition? Obviously there are gobs of seniors. But the unofficial underclassmen list includes five cornerbacks: Talib, Virginia Tech’s Brandon Flowers, Wisconsin’s Jake Ikegwuonu, Penn State’s Justin King and Oklahoma’s Reggie Smith.

In addition, there are four offensive linemen coming out early: Collins, Virginia’s Branden Albert, Boise State’s Ryan Clady and Mississippi’s Michael Oher.

ESPN’s Todd McShay recently listed Talib as the 17th-best prospect, underclassman or not, in the 2008 NFL Draft.