Last week, at Kansas University’s football media day, KU coach Turner Gill hinted that this year’s captains likely would be seniors.
That became true Wednesday, when Sal Capra, Chris Harris, Jake Laptad, Angus Quigley and Justin Springer were announced as captains for the 2010 season through a release from the university.
All five are first-time captains and were voted to their new role by teammates. Gill said that freshmen would not be allowed to vote and that the only way an underclassman would be on the ballot would be by him putting one on there. The release did not specify if voting for an underclassman was an option, but did indicate that Gill was thrilled with the choices.
“Our players did an outstanding job of selecting excellent captains for the 2010 season,” Gill said in the release. “All of these student-athletes have displayed phenomenal leadership qualities, both on and off the field, since I have arrived here.”
Capra, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound lineman from Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst High, started all 12 games in 2009 — eight at right guard and four at left guard — and was the Gale Sayers Award winner as the team’s most courageous player. During preseason camp, Capra has worked at center and shown increased confidence and leadership.
“Sal’s a quiet guy,” KU line coach J.B. Grimes said. “But when he says something, people listen.”
Harris, a projected starting cornerback, has the most experience of the five captains. He was a starter at cornerback as a true freshman during KU’s Orange Bowl season in 2007 and has logged 29 career starts, most among all Jayhawks. During his four-year career, Harris, 5-10, 190, has recorded 208 tackles, three interceptions and 15 pass break-ups. According to him, however, his best is still ahead.
“I expect a lot out of myself this season,” Harris said. “My family expects a lot, coach Gill expects a lot, so I gotta come through. I’m looking to have that breakout season.”
Laptad, like Capra, is quiet in most cases, but, on the field, his play has been as loud as anybody’s. The 6-4, 260-pound defensive end from Tulsa, Okla., has more sacks (13.5) in the past two seasons combined than any other Jayhawk and twice has been named an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection. Named to the Hendricks Award’s national watch list for 2010, Laptad is expecting his leadership to match his play this season.
“I’m a senior now, and I’ve definitely tried to be more of a leader this year,” Laptad said at Big 12 media days in Dallas earlier this month.
Leadership has come easily this season for Quigley, a 6-1, 231-pound running back from Cleburne, Texas, who was given a sixth year of eligibility in the offseason because of two seasons (2005 and 2006) lost to injury. Armed with the knowledge that this will be his final run with the Jayhawks, Quigley, who was listed as the top back on the post-spring depth chart, has been more focused than ever.
“You gotta know when to work and when to play,” he said. “We’ve got a goal, we’ve got somewhere we want to go, and that’s what we’re focused on. We might have a few laughs before practice, but when we get out there we’re about business.”
Springer, a middle linebacker who hails from Los Fresnos, Texas, also has impressed coaches early with his intensity and ability to lead.
“He’s a great worker, plays hard, is a good leader with a great deal of personal pride,” defensive coordinator Carl Torbush said.
Reesing set for book signing
Former KU quarterback Todd Reesing will greet fans and sign copies of his recently released book, “Rising to New Heights: Inside the Jayhawks Huddle,” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Crown Toyota, 3400 South Iowa.
Reesing, who holds every major passing record in KU history, graduated from KU last December with degrees in economics and finance, and, after going undrafted in April’s NFL Draft, spent some time in Canada with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. Reesing’s time north of the border was short-lived, however, putting a temporary end to his professional career. The Austin, Texas, native has said that he hopes to get another crack at pro football and recently was named a co-host of KLWN 1320’s Rock Chalk Sports Talk radio show for the 2010 football season.
Ex-Jayhawk enrolled at MANU
Former defensive lineman Jamal Greene, a senior who was dismissed from the KU football team after an arrest in March, has enrolled at MidAmerica Nazarene University, an NAIA school in Olathe, and is preparing to play out his college career with the Pioneers.
In May, Greene, a native of Kansas City, Kan., was charged with one count of aggravated burglary, three counts of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated robbery. He originally was scheduled to appear in court on June 10, but that hearing was pushed back twice, first to July 8 and again to today.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding his legal trouble, Greene is listed on the Pioneers’ most recent roster but has not practiced with the team. According to the roster, Greene, 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, will wear No. 97 at MNU. The last time Greene appeared on a KU roster, he was listed at 6-4, 328.