Ex-Illini aide to join defensive staff
Tom Sims, formerly an assistant at Illinois, is expected to be named the Kansas University football team’s defensive line coach as early as today, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
He’ll replace Kerry Locklin, who was named the Jayhawks’ defensive line coach on Jan. 20 but is now expected to take a position with the NFL’s New York Jets.
Sims spent the past four seasons as the defensive line coach at Illinois, where the Illini went 9-4 and played in the Rose Bowl in 2007 before struggling to a 5-7 record last season. Before arriving at Illinois, Sims served as defensive line coach at Western Kentucky (1997-99), Eastern Michigan (2000) and Minnesota (2001-04).
Prior to coaching, Sims spent seven seasons as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings.
Recruit McDougald picks Kansas
On Tuesday night, the day before high school football recruits were allowed to sign college athletic scholarships, Bradley McDougald represented an uncertainty for the Kansas University football team.
Having apparently made an oral commitment to Kansas last week, a development first reported by Rivals.com, the Dublin (Ohio) Scioto senior then balked, opting to spend the final days before National Signing Day reviewing his options before going public.
On Wednesday, however, McDougald made his decision official, becoming the 24th member of KU coach Mark Mangino’s recruiting class and putting an end to a somewhat frenzied final week of his recruitment.
“It’s the biggest decision a kid his age is going to make,” said Karl Johnson, head coach at Scioto High. “And even though he thought that’s what he wanted to do, he wanted to make sure he knew that’s what he wanted to do.”
McDougald, a four-star prospect, originally committed to play at Ohio State last summer, but later decided against the Buckeyes. Recently, he was considering Kansas, Wisconsin and Colorado, and after much deliberation — and a visit from Mangino — ultimately decided on the Jayhawks.
“We felt good about (the situation),” said Mangino, after announcing the team’s 2009 recruiting class during an afternoon press conference. “I was in his home last week. (Offensive coordinator) Ed Warinner recruited him. We felt good. Everything that he told us, his mother told us, the coach told us, was right on.”
Despite being listed as a defensive back prospect by Rivals.com, Mangino said McDougald will play receiver for the Jayhawks, eventually in the slot position that Dexton Fields occupied in his tenure with the team.
As a high school senior, McDougald played multiple positions — including defensive back, running back and receiver — and finished the season with 432 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 87 carries, in addition to catching eight passes for 135 yards and one score.
“A lot of people are talking about him being a safety,” Mangino said. “He probably could be a really good safety. But we’ve got him penciled in at inside receiver — slot receiver — for us. (He’s) very talented, good range, runs well. Very athletic.”
KU recruiting class Mangino’s best
This year’s class represents the highest-rated in Mangino’s career at Kansas — and features four four-star recruits, including two — running back Toben Opurum and defensive end Randall Dent — who selected KU over defending national champion Florida.
At the end of the day Wednesday, the Jayhawks’ ‘09 class was ranked 31st nationally by Rivals.com, up from 40th last year.
QB leaving program
Mangino said Wednesday that backup quarterback Tyler Lawrence, a red-shirt sophomore in ’08, has left the program.
Lawrence, who played in three games last season while completing one of two passes for 11 yards, is planning on graduating this summer and will forgo his remaining years of athletic eligibility.
Meanwhile, the Jayhawks signed two quarterbacks Tuesday — Christian Matthews out of Arlington, Texas, and Jordan Webb out of Union, Mo. — to give them a total of five heading into 2009.
The KU Quarterback Club today will hold an event at Zig and Mac’s Bar and Grill (southeast corner of Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa). The event, which begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public, will feature an introduction by Kansas recruiting coordinator Brandon Blaney and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen.