Advertisement

Sports

Sports

Football closing talent gap

Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino speaks during a press conference Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 at the Camelback Inn in Scotsdale, Arizona.

Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino speaks during a press conference Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 at the Camelback Inn in Scotsdale, Arizona.

January 8, 2009

Advertisement

Quietly, football coach Mark Mangino and his fleet of hard-working assistants are assembling a recruiting class that could enable Kansas University to shrink the talent disadvantage against the trio of Big 12 South teams Mangino hasn’t yet beaten.

Skeptical? Need some hard evidence? OK, a quick check with Jon Kirby of Rivals.com led to a startling piece of information. Three of the Rivals.com/Dallas Morning News Top 20 players in the Dallas area have made nonbinding oral commitments to Kansas, a figure that matches Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

As far as elite recruits are concerned, Kansas finally has become one of the pretty girls in the room. Recruits are checking out Kansas and liking what they see.

Prinz Kande, a safety from Euless ranked No. 35 in the state of Texas by Rivals.com and recruited by Clint Bowen, turned down a scholarship offer from Wisconsin to say yes to Kansas. Toben Opurum, a 225-pound running back from Plano ranked No. 45 in the state, had offers from Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Purdue and Texas Tech and said yes to David Beaty, KU’s receivers coach and a former high school football coach from Texas who’s having a terrific recruiting season. Dexter Linton, a safety from Arlington ranked No. 48 in Texas, said yes to Beaty, which meant he had to say no to Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Texas Tech and Wisconsin, among others.

Bowen scored an athletic defensive end, maybe as good a speed rusher as KU has had since Charlton Keith. Quintin Woods, who signed with Michigan out of high school before enrolling in Bakersfield Community College, is a 6-foot-6, 245-pound quarterback-chaser.

To hear Kirby tell it, Kansas isn’t done landing heavyweights. (Signing day is Feb. 4).

“In the past, it always seemed like Kansas rounded out its class with some sleepers,” said Kirby, who has been tracking Kansas football recruiting for 10 years. “I’m not saying they weren’t solid. They were. Now, they started strong, the middle’s been strong, and the guys still on the board that they have a chance with are as strong or stronger than what they started with.”

Two exciting names still in play for Kansas: 1. Ronnie Wingo, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound running back from St. Louis, expected a visit Wednesday night from KU offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, according to Rivals.com. Wingo is the nation’s No. 74 prospect; 2. DeQuin Evans, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive end from Los Angeles Harbor Community College.

Kirby said recruits consistently marvel at the new football facilities, built thanks to the fundraising skills of John Hadl of the Williams Fund and athletic director Lew Perkins, and the generosity of KU alumni Tom Kivisto, Dana Anderson and others.

“There’s no doubt there is a big difference in the perception of the program,” Kirby said. “A few things play into that. No. 1, stability. Mangino’s the defending National Coach of the Year. They’ve won three bowl games in the past four years. The increased attendance. And the facilities. It’s a whole different ballgame than it was even three, four years ago. They’re getting a different kind of athlete.”

Once they get here, Mangino and his staff will make them improve at a faster rate than most staffs.

Comments

beawolf 5 years, 11 months ago

Notice how they keep Mangino out of the recruiting process?

beawolf 5 years, 11 months ago

nschmi04,Chill dude. I know as much, if not more than you about college recruiting. And I know you are referencing the fact that many head coaches rely on assistants to do the leg work and visits. But, the best coaches do not!Carroll, Bowden, Brown (Texas), Carr (ex-Michigan), Stoops etc. etc., all scout and personally visit recruits. As far as I'm concerned, Kansas will always be a middle of the pack football team with Mangino, and recruiting is the least of his problems.

jeffds01 5 years, 11 months ago

beawolf, dude stop hating on KU football, how can you call yourself a fan, if your gonna hate like this.KU has just begun to rebuild its program over the last five years, and Mangino has done a damn good job at with back to back bowl wins. You have no respect for the program if you don't like to see it moving in the right direction, and this recruiting news is def. moving in the right direction.So beawolf, who cares about how much you think you know, your ignorant brain doesn't allow any of that to stand out.KU is a basketball school, it was always be a basketball school, deal with it! Football is finally winning games, we will never be a national powerhouse, who cares.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

Brilliant, beawolf. Since we haven't been middle of the pack the last two years and Mangino's considered one of the top ten coaches in college football, I'm gonna say your assertion that you know much about the sport is pretty much bull pucks.

Eric Neuteboom 5 years, 11 months ago

And anybody knows that the head coach only visits the absolute top level, 5-star recruits to close the deal. No reason (or practically speaking, opportunity) for him to meet with each recruit.

OLine56 5 years, 11 months ago

To beawolf,I must respectfuly disagree with your previous assertion that all upper eschelon college football coaches personally recruit prospects. Even if I were to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you meant to say that these coaches personally recruit elite players you would still be incorrect. I will use one of your own examples to make my point against yours. You stated that great college football coaches such as Pete Carrol personally scout AND recruit prospects. This can be proven to be untrue by recent history. You see 3 of the most noteable recruits USC has signed under Coach Carrol were recruited almost entirely by an assistant coach named Ed Ojerhron. The two known my almost all college football fans would be Reggie Bush and Matt Lienart. With both of these recruits Coach Carrols simply made his alotted home visit and of course had phone conversation or two. Even the phone conversatons though were initiated by Ojerhron and then passed off to Carrol. The third recruit was defensive lineman Shaun Rodgers, coming out of high school he was one of the nations top rated recruits. Ed Ojerhron managed to keep Rodgers commited to the school even though through the bulk of the heavy recruiting period USC had not even named Carrol head coach. Lastly I would simply offer the fact that the amount of contact made by a Head coach to a prospect is actually limited by NCAA guidelinesIf you wish to check these facts read the book "Meat Market: a look in to the world of college football recruiting"

beawolf 5 years, 11 months ago

Oline56-Nice comment. I see you've researched this thoroughly and present a good argument (unlike some others). I read of other instances that contradict your comments, but I'll reserve judgment until I read "Meat Market". Suffice it to say, I do not think KU football will ever reach the upper echelon in the Big 12 as long as Mangino is the head coach. The recruiting class for 2009 ranks at #43 (Rivals) for 2009. That is NOT top tier recruiting. If fans are satisfied with a team that will constantly end up at 7-5 or 8-4 and play in some backwoods bowl, so be it. At $2.3M, Mangino is getting paid to produce a contender.The Orange Bowl was a highlight (based on a light schedule), but his overall body of work since he's been at KU is mediocre.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.