Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dugan Arnett’s KU football notebook


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, 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, 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, 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.

Quarterback Club

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.


Toto_the_great 9 years, 4 months ago

Who was the talented QB who was supposed to replace TR? Iremeber an article about him (maybe during last summer) and how though he might take TR starting job (and the kid might be from western KS).

Rick Arnoldy 9 years, 4 months ago

Is Mangino done or is there the possibility of picking up one or two more after the dust settles?

Jeremy LeMaster 9 years, 4 months ago

Kale Pick is supposedly talented and has the intangibles and desire to lead. However, the signing of Jordan Webb could make that quite a competition (dude threw for 4,300 yards, 55 TDs, ran for 600 and 11 TDs his junior year).There are not a whole lot of players that KU is "supposedly" targeting based on's prospect tracker, but there are a couple that still have not signed LOI's. I am not sure of the possibility of landing any though.Does anyone know of where they list the players that are redshirting... for instance the freshman that came in last year... which ones were redshirted? The only way I know if is to wait for the following year and find out which ones are redshirt freshmen... just curious (Could be something for KUsports to start up).

beebe1 9 years, 4 months ago

Isn't 24 the limit on annual scholarships?

Drew Bender 9 years, 4 months ago

beebe,No... Ole Miss just had 37 players sign NLI's

d_prowess 9 years, 4 months ago

So Tyler Lawrence is finishing his college career after only three years and a summer?!? Will someone tell the kid to slow down and enjoy himself a little! No need to rush through school so you can enter the real world (especially when someone else is paying)...

greatabu 9 years, 4 months ago

Actually, you can sign as many kids as you want to a LOI, but only 25 can go on scholarship in any given year. Under certain conditions you can count players in this year's class in last year's class. For example, if you didn't use all of your scholarships in 2008 and you had a couple of guys come in at semester this year, you can count them in the 2008 class instead of the 2009 class. In Mississippi's case I'll wager that a bunch of those guys are sign and place kids. They aren't going to qualify, so they sign an LOI with them and a juco. Since they aren't going to qualify, the D1 LOI is nullified. It helps with future recruiting because if the kid pans out in juco you should have a leg up with him.

GridironHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Do you think it would be okay if I trade Tyler? He can have my job for next year and I will go back to school... In all seriousness, both Jordan Webb and Kale Pick look as though they hopefully can pick up where Todd Reesing leaves off. Watch the videos of Webb and tell me he doesn't have some of the tangibles that Reesing has. I haven't seen Pick play but everyone talks highly of him. The best part of this is Meier should get full practice at WR and not have to worry about QB much. Think how good he will be.

FlaHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't Mangino restricted to one or two less scholarships last year. I believe it was due to JUCO transfer issues. Is this restriction over now?

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

Tom Sims sounds like a great addition to the staff. Gotta love that he has the NFL experience. That aught to help with recruiting as well.The probation for recruiting (test taking by an assistant that is long gone?) the JUCO's in question should be over now. KU had been floating scholies back and forth the last couple years as needed.Is there any word whether Matthews will be in the QB mix or switched right away to another position? That could be quite the competition for backup duties, and hopefully at least one will be able to step in at the end (last quarter?) of non-con games and other blowouts. It would be good to give Todd a break as well as give the backups some reps before next year.In the late signees category, Joe Mortensen is one such player that was left empty handed by the last regime in Lincoln and conveniently became a Jayhawk. It seems that there are some good players still out there, and probably also a few like Joe that were committed elsewhere but are now available.WRT the redshirt question, the roster posted on this website seems to indicate which players have redshirted (RS **)The analysis that I would love to see is a rating of the outgoing class. Talib, Collins, Briscoe, ... may have been 2 or 3 star recruits, but they certainly weren't 2 or 3 star players. It would seem that an analysis like that could be real beneficial to less-hyped team like KU that has developed less hyped players into winners.

rasta_meta 9 years, 4 months ago

Everyone talks about Pick and Webb, but I personally think Christian Matthews might have the most talent out of all of them.

mdfraz 9 years, 4 months ago

dagger the recruiting recap at Zig and Mac's tonight still had Matthews as a QB.

JBurtin 9 years, 4 months ago

Mathews certainly isn't out of the running. He is coming here to compete for the QB position. I just see him being similar to a Marcus Herford situation. I think he's a very gifted athlete, but I don't see him being able to outperform a guy that threw for 4,300+ yards and ran for 600+ in the same season. When it comes down to it I think he'll probably rather play some different positions instead of riding the pine.You can make the argument that Mathews plays against tougher competition, but Missouri football is no slouch (many more D1 caliber guys than Kansas), and there's no arguing that Webb put up some insane numbers by any standard. Pick's main advantage is simply experience in the system, and that may go a long ways as well.I do wish Mathews well, I think he can be a great player and you never really know how things will turn out until they do.

rasta_meta 9 years, 4 months ago

Matthews reminds me of Vince Young. He is very raw, but he could a very dynamic dual-thread QB in 2 or 3 years.

jhokfan 9 years, 4 months ago

I hope they have enough depth at QB to move Kerry to full time receiver.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.