It was in the middle of a Kansas University football practice last season when coach Mark Mangino wanted a word with Todd Reesing.
As the coach pulled his quarterback aside, Reesing was prepared to discuss what plays he would call on the next practice drive.
Mangino had something else in mind.
“He pulled me off to the side and said, ‘Todd...what are we going to do about this market?’ So instead of being out there running plays for the next game, me and him were sitting there talking about the financial district and how that was going to affect our lives,” Reesing recalled at last week’s Big 12 Media Days in Irving, Texas.
Mangino and Reesing talk like they’re old friends. They ask about each other’s families. They talk about business and investment opportunities.
The foundation of their solid relationship started with Reesing’s campus visit to Lawrence in 2005.
Just a few years ago, no big-time school wanted Reesing. He was 5-foot-11 and allegedly too small to play in the Big 12, despite his 3,340 passing yards and 49 total touchdowns in 2005, his senior year at Lake Travis (Texas) High.
Mangino didn’t care. He saw something he liked in Reesing and let him know it. Reesing said of all his campus visits, only in Lawrence did he step foot in the head coach’s office.
“He really had this swagger about him,” Mangino said. “When he shook my hand, he looked me right in the eye. He was full of energy. He was intelligent. He could speak on subjects other than just football. And he had a bounce in his step.”
Mangino’s belief in Reesing symbolized a vision. Four years after his campus visit, Reesing is the most accomplished quarterback to ever play at Kansas.
“The coaches came down to my office to ask me what I thought of him because I’d already watched the tape,” Mangino said. “And I can almost quote, I said, ‘He’s small. He’s really small. But I like him. And if we can get him, let’s get him.’ He exuded confidence, and he was just like a stick of dynamite.”
Reesing said Mangino offered him a scholarship after speaking with him for 30 minutes. The coach had only watched tape on Reesing one day before the offer.
What started as a basic get-to-know-you has blossomed into a strong friendship and fearsome force on the field. The duo has carved a script that Disneyland would have no problem turning into a ride at one of its theme parks.
Highlights include an Orange Bowl victory in the 2007 season, the first BCS bowl triumph in school history; a 12-win season for the first time in school history that same year; and Reesing is now KU’s all-time leader in career completions (619), yards (7,578) and touchdown passes (68).
Scary thing is, he’s not done. This fall, in Reesing’s senior year, the Jayhawks have hopes of winning their first outright Big 12 North title ever.
Whether Reesing’s college football career will take him to the NFL is still up in the air.
“I think the big thing is, all you need is one person that thinks you can do it,” Reesing said. “That’s all it took for me in college, so maybe that’s all it will take at the next level. Who knows?”
As for his college accomplishments, Mangino knew. He knew after the first time he spoke to Reesing.