Jayhawks losing Gordon to NFL Draft

Charles Gordon, one of Kansas University’s most electrifying playmakers and a key component to the football team’s rebuilding efforts, announced Sunday he would skip his senior season and enter into the NFL Draft.

In a prepared statement, Gordon said the jump to the next level “is in the best interest for me and my family,” and added, “It was not until I received coach (Mark) Mangino’s blessing that my decision was final.”

Mangino was out of town and unavailable for comment, though he did say after KU’s 73-46 basketball victory over Kentucky on Saturday that he would support any decision Gordon made.

Kansas used Gordon in a variety of ways, including at wide receiver, cornerback and punt and kick returner. He holds the school record with 999 punt-return yards, and his seven interceptions in 2004 led NCAA Division I-A. On offense, he had career totals of 106 catches for 1,232 yards and nine touchdowns.

Gordon was a freshman All-America selection at wide receiver in 2003, then a third-team All-American at cornerback in 2004.

In ’05, though, his time was too split between the offense and defense to rack up similar national awards. He intercepted two passes and caught 34 balls for 313 yards at receiver, but his statistics weren’t flashy enough to earn him anything outside of All-Big 12 Conference honors as an all-purpose performer.

Charles Gordon’s statement

Here is the text of the statement released Sunday by Charles Gordon:

“After much consideration, I believe that it is in the best interest for me and my family to enter the 2006 NFL Draft. This decision did not come easily. While playing in the NFL has always been a dream of mine, the idea of leaving KU, my teammates, my friends, my coaches and most importantly all the Jayhawk fans was extremely hard. It was not until I received Coach Mangino’s blessing that my decision was final. After spending four great years here, I felt I was ready to take on the next challenge in my life. I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me by the University of Kansas and will always hold the Jayhawk community close to my heart. Thank you for all the great memories!”

Though he was a solid contributor everywhere he played, Gordon projects as a cornerback at the next level, thanks to his instinctive gifts, good hands and great footwork. He only measures around 5-foot-10, though, and isn’t known for his explosive speed like other defensive backs going pro with him.

That leads to the looming question that will linger until the draft in April: What does the league think of Gordon?

Dave Lapham, who analyzed Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net and also serves as color commentator for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, questioned Gordon’s size when asked if the Carson, Calif., native would translate to the next level. He wondered whether Gordon ever could develop into a full-time NFL cornerback, though he did say Gordon’s intelligence and versatility certainly helped his chances.

Lapham envisioned Gordon playing special teams to start his career and working his way into a defensive-back role in nickel formations. Lapham said using Gordon as a third-down back wasn’t a ludicrous thought.

“I think that’s the intriguing thing about him,” Lapham said. “He can handle a myriad of roles.”

¢ Now what?: Gordon’s departure opens a couple of holes in KU’s attack.

Gordon was projected as a wide receiver next year, and that’s a major hit to the fleet, which now has one regular starter, Brian Murph, returning. Marcus Henry, Marcus Herford and Dominic Roux all return, and others like Dexton Fields and Raimond Pendleton could step up.

On defense, Aqib Talib looks to have locked down one cornerback position, while the Jayhawks have a number of defensive backs recruited, including junior-college transfers Mike McCoy and Blake Bueltel and Dallas prep star Anthony Webb, the highest-rated recruit among KU’s commitments.

Murph is a candidate to return punts, though someone like Gary Green or incoming freshman Jake Sharp could battle for the duties.

¢ Reid chosen: Former KU linebacker Nick Reid was selected to play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium in Sin City. The game will be televised live at 3:30 p.m. by CSTV (Sunflower Broadband Channel 143).

A Hula Bowl roster that the Honolulu Advertiser ran showed no Jayhawks on it. Kansas had three representatives – David McMillan, Brandon Rideau and Joe Vaughn – in last year’s Hula Bowl.

¢ Burst bubble?: Mangino commented to reporters Saturday the possibility of an inflatable bubble being put over the Memorial Stadium field for practice.

Sounds intriguing, but associate athletic director Jim Marchiony cautions the curious not to get too excited, replying “No” when asked if that was a serious idea.

“That’s one of many options that have been discussed over the last three years,” Marchiony said. “But I haven’t heard any serious talks about it in months.

“Everything is premature right now. Our focus is on the building, getting those details.”

KU is raising funds for construction of a football facility adjacent to Memorial, which will cost between $30 and $40 million and feature locker rooms, a weight room, meeting rooms and offices.

¢ Krehbiel unlikely: It appears a falling-out has occurred between KU and Scott Krehbiel, one of the state’s top prospects.

Krehbiel, a 6-foot-7, 280-pound offensive lineman, seriously injured his knee playing basketball and, as a result, lost a lot of interest on the recruiting front for football. He was scheduled to make his official visit to KU this weekend, but never made it to Lawrence.

Now, Krehbiel has listed Kansas State and Tennessee as his top two, while Kansas dropped out of sight. It’s believed Kansas rescinded its offer.

Reached Sunday at his home in Pratt, Scott’s father, Bruce, said Scott couldn’t come to the phone and wouldn’t speak of his son’s situation.

“I have no comment right now,” Bruce Krehbiel said.

¢ Another commitment: A big weekend for recruiting wrapped up with another commitment Sunday, according to rivals.com.

Maxwell Onyegbule, a 6-4, 215-pound linebacker from Arlington, Texas, chose Kansas over Baylor, Iowa State, Minnesota, Tulane and Central Florida after visiting over the weekend.