Saturday, January 31, 2009


Football turning corner


Many a Kansas University football player through the years has said sitting in the Allen Fieldhouse crowd at a basketball game clinched his college choice. The atmosphere won them over.

Today, more than ever, represents a chance to hook some big-time football recruits because they not only will get a taste of what a good time it is to watch the basketball team play, they’ll have a chance to see how much the football team means now to the community.

The entire team will be honored at halftime on the court for winning the Insight Bowl. The louder the crowd’s response, the more it will impress the recruits, days before Wednesday’s national-letter-of-intent signing day. The halftime ceremony kicks off a string of events that bring attention to the football team here in the heart of the defending national champions’ basketball season.

The annual postseason awards dinner will take place at 7:30 p.m. today at the Lied Center. The public is invited at no cost for an evening that will include the 2008 highlight video and talks from coach Mark Mangino, Chancellor Robert Hemenway and athletic director Lew Perkins. Again, the bigger the turnout and louder the response to the players receiving awards, the more impressed it will leave recruits.

The weeklong football party continues Thursday, the day after signing day, at Zig and Mac’s Bar and Grill (Bob Billings and Wakarusa) at 7 p.m., where the KU Quarterback Club serves as host. That will feature highlights of the new recruits and talks from recruiting coordinator Brandon Blaney and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen.

Whereas football once was viewed by many as a way to pass the time until basketball season, it now has worked its way into conversations year-round. Three bowl victories in four years clearly changes the way a football program is perceived.

Next year will make four bowl games in five years. Book it.

Not many schools can boast returning a quarterback who has thrown for 7,578 yards and 68 touchdown passes, both school records. Todd Reesing’s 63.6 completion percentage also is the best in school history, and he holds a slew of other passing records.

Reesing’s three favorite targets — Kerry Meier, Dezmon Briscoe and Johnathan Wilson — return as well. Not many quarterbacks can say they have two receivers (Meier and Briscoe) who combined for 189 receptions, 2,452 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. A sophomore, Briscoe already has the school record for touchdown receptions (22) and will own the yardage record 364 yards into next season.

Yet, even with all that firepower returning, immediate playing time can be earned at several positions, especially considering the caliber of athlete Mangino and his recently fortified coaching staff — new defensive assistants Bill Miller and Kerry Locklin bring big-time reputations with them to Lawrence — are in on heading into the final days of the recruiting season.

If pummeling Colorado for the second time in 15 days doesn’t fully jack the crowd today in the fieldhouse, maybe looking back on another successful football season and ahead to the highlights that recruits on hand might produce can fill in the gaps.


onlylookin2score 10 years, 12 months ago

Good message! I can't be there, seeing how I live in NC, but I hope all of you scream your hearts out for the FB team. You never know, the past and next couple of years could be our glory days. ROCKEM CHALKEM & HAWKEM

John Mueller 10 years, 12 months ago

Nicely done, Mr. Keegan. Same here, Spring, TX is a long way away but all I can say is.....Rock Chalk Jayhawk! We will be in Waco Monday night flying the colors and representing jayhawk nation as well.I am looking forward to hearing about the new class of Jayhawks and think 09 football season could be really special. Big 12 North, here we come!!

KU1979 10 years, 12 months ago

Thanks for the article, Tom. Anything football related this time of year is much appreciated. Rock Chalk!

William James 10 years, 12 months ago

We are the Kansas Football Jayhawks, and we will, we will, Hawk you!

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 12 months ago

Next year could be another special year....just like 07-08. BCS bowl win and national championship again? Perhaps not, but we'll be darn good in both football and mens basketball. our football team is becoming a true football program.....not just running guys out there year in and year out. good football players are replacing good players when they leave....and it's building something pretty special. good kudos to HCMM and the entire athletic dept. for the job they are doing.

KU 10 years, 12 months ago

Who are the football recruits that are expected to be in Lawrence today?? Rivals has KU rated around #33 in the country in recruiting right now--just a few spots below Nebraska and Oklahoma State. Combined the dramatically increased recruiting success with our stellar coaching staff and we should be strong for the foreseeable future!Got your season tickets?

longhawk 10 years, 12 months ago

Has anyone officially given the word that Bradley McDougald is coming to KU? Rivals and Scout are treating it like it's happening, but haven't officially put him in the KU column as a commit.

Ryan Gerstner 10 years, 12 months ago

We definitely need more football articles. Next year should be a huge year for the Hawks! Hopefully season ticket sales are off to a strong start. FYI. Today's the last day to avoid the $50 handling charge per ticket order so get your tickets ordered.

Jory Collins 10 years, 12 months ago

Longhawk, I was wondering that as well, they had him committed for about two hours a few days ago, then they took him off. He would be a tremendous late pickup.

railer1122 10 years, 12 months ago

According to everything but Rivals, he is a Jayhawk. On rivals if you look, KU is high on the list, everyone else has very little to no interest. We have a good class of secondary coming in, especially at the S position. They will likely learn under Stuckey or whoever for a year then have a big role in the coming years. And I'm hoping we do very big things next year with most of our good players gone after the '09 season. Then comes along Kale Pick, a very good QB with, I think, better speed the Reesing back there, but not necessarily accuracy. Next year should be a big year.

fattygav 10 years, 12 months ago

Rumor is he doesn't want his commitment to distract his basketball teams' current season. This likely shows you the type of person he is - putting the team before himself. If this is case, he's already one of the guys I'm rooting hard for future success (preferably donning the crimson and blue!)

Cody Stumma 10 years, 12 months ago

"Got your season tickets?"Psh, I don't need no season tickets... I'm with the band! :PCan't wait for next year though.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 12 months ago

Nice article. Thanks for the update. Wish we could be there, but the trip from the left coast is even a few miles further than NC :-) It would be nice to know which recruits are on campus. We've been hanging on 24 recruits for a while now, and would really be nice to get Poppe (TE), Miller (OL), Aumen (OL) from instate, and maybe some speed like Ricco Sanders for the outside. It seems like all the receivers we picked up are more the big, possesion type receivers.All that being said, scouting FB prospects seems like so much more of a crap shoot from the non-coaching staff perspective, and I trust Coach Mangino and staff a whole lot more than Rivals, Scout, ...

Gary Denning 10 years, 12 months ago

With regard to McDougald not wanting to distract from the basketball season, I've got my doubts. If he doesn't want to detract from basketball season, just make the announcement without a lot of fanfare and move on. I hope he comes to KU--he appears to be a great prospect--but I'm not buying that he delayed his announcement for the reasons stated.Just hope it's not a Fitz/Patterson deal where somebody screws up the kids plans by announcing earlier than what he wanted and therefore fouls the entire deal, whatever it was.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 12 months ago

At least one of the recuits that is suppose to be on campus this weekend: Shane Gordon from Cypress Bay HS (Weston, FL). The #38 MLB, a 3* Speedy Linebacker Ht: 6-0 Wt: 220 He apparently gave a soft verbal to Pittsburgh with KU being low interest prior to his official visit. All others are now no interest.He sounds like he would be a great addition, and the next in a line of really good (progressing toward) LB's.I'd say this is the century of the Jayhawk. Rock Chalk.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 12 months ago

Briscoe may break that record the first game!

JBurtin 10 years, 12 months ago

"With regard to McDougald not wanting to distract from the basketball season, I've got my doubts. If he doesn't want to detract from basketball season, just make the announcement without a lot of fanfare and move on. I hope he comes to KU--he appears to be a great prospect--but I'm not buying that he delayed his announcement for the reasons stated.Just hope it's not a Fitz/Patterson deal where somebody screws up the kids plans by announcing earlier than what he wanted and therefore fouls the entire deal, whatever it was."From what I've heard he's just a really quiet kid. The scuttlebutt is that his phone lit up like a Christmas tree when the announcement went up and he didn't like all the attention. I think he kind of used the basketball team as an excuse for just not wanting to talk to a bunch of reporters. His way of quietly committing without a lot of fanfare is to simply send in his LOI on signing day when there is big news breaking all over the country and the focus won't all be on him.

troutsee 10 years, 11 months ago

We are witnessing the rise of KU football. Thank you Mark, coaches, Lew, and team. FB is the greatest of all team sports. The enthusiasm that winning FB teams bring to the fan base and to the notoriaty to their school is huge. Fabio has said it best..."we are KU FB and we will Hawk you." Good line.

Jonathan Briles 10 years, 11 months ago

On regards to McDougald, he is listed as a Safety and very highly rated at that, but I read that he is being recruited as a WR for us. I'm not sure how true that is, but that's just what what I heard which would be great considering his speed and the fact that he can play so great both ways and would really know what was in the heads of the defense and be able to get open. He might be another two way player or just be outstanding at one or the other.

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