Kansas University's most beloved football player in a decade is back - this time, as a coach.
Bill Whittemore, KU's quarterback in 2002 and 2003, will join the Jayhawk coaching staff as a graduate assistant for the 2006 season. He will focus primarily on offense, and in the past, graduate assistants have been in charge of the program's scout teams.
Whittemore had a similar position, though on defense, at Louisiana-Monroe this spring under coach Charlie Weatherbie. He will leave that job for Lawrence after just one semester, but it won't be the last he sees of ULM - the Jayhawks play the Indians on Sept. 9.
Whittemore has had brief professional stints, including a preseason tryout with the Atlanta Falcons and a season with the Arena Football League's Nashville Kats. He has said, though, that he wanted to make his way up the coaching ladder.
Prior to his brief stay at ULM, he was a high school assistant coach in Brentwood, Tenn., his hometown.
He said last fall he would be interested in being a G.A. at Kansas.
Now, he'll get his wish.
"We are glad to have Bill back in our program," coach Mark Mangino said in a statement. "This is where he wants to be to develop his coaching skills. He's a perfect fit."
Former Kansas University defensive end Jermial Ashley, after impressing the right sets of eyes in a rookie minicamp tryout, has signed a free-agent deal with the Cleveland Browns.
Ashley is the fourth former Jayhawk affiliated with the Browns. Wide receiver Brandon Rideau took a similar route as Ashley, showing up as an unsigned rookie and earning a contract. He's still with the team.
In addition, David McMillan was drafted by Cleveland last year, and Charlton Keith signed with the Browns on April 30. However, a wrist injury has set him back.
Ashley registered 44 tackles, including 12 for a loss in two years at KU.
Opening back up
Kansas University is back down to one commitment for the 2007 recruiting class, after rivals.com reported that Kansas City (Mo.) lineman Donald Stephenson had re-opened his recruitment.
Now, the only known pledge is Free State High tight end Christian Ballard. According to rivals.com, Ballard is starting to get a ton of attention despite the commitment, including offers from Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas State.
Football players in the class of '07 can't sign letters of intent until next February.