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Friday, February 11, 2011

Head of the class: KU football recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell earns praise

Kansas University running-backs coach Reggie Mitchell talks with coach Turner Gill, back center, and the running backs on the sideline. Mitchell is also KU’s recruiting coordinator.

Kansas University running-backs coach Reggie Mitchell talks with coach Turner Gill, back center, and the running backs on the sideline. Mitchell is also KU’s recruiting coordinator.

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With the letters from Kansas University’s 2011 football recruiting class signed, sealed and delivered, the attention has shifted to which schools fared the best on national signing day.

By now, it’s well known that KU secured the nation’s 34th-best recruiting class, according to Rivals.com, which put the Jayhawks fifth in the Big 12 and ahead of traditional nonconference powers Miami, Penn State and Wisconsin, among others.

Naturally, KU coach Turner Gill received a lot of attention for landing such a strong class. But Gill was the first person to spread the praise to his coaching staff, a crew that Gill has spoken highly of since arriving at Kansas.

“I give a lot of credit to our coaching staff,” Gill said. “They did a heck of a job of going out there and getting the parents on campus. I’m very pleased with the job our staff did.”

Of all of Gill’s assistants, one seemed to play the largest role in KU’s success in the Class of 2011. Running-backs coach Reggie Mitchell, who doubles as KU’s recruiting coordinator, was the lead recruiter for six of KU’s 27 targets, including Blue Springs, Mo., running back Darrian Miller and East St. Louis, Ill., athlete Anthony Pierson, the two four-star prospects KU landed.

Earlier this week, Mitchell was honored by Rivals.com as one of the top-10 recruiters in the Big 12. Mitchell was the only member of KU’s staff on the list, and the website touted his reputation and ability to steer the two big targets to Kansas.

This is not the first time Mitchell received such an honor. In 2006, Rivals.com tapped him as one of the 20 best recruiters in the nation. A year later, he was named to Rivals’ list of the top five recruiters in the Big Ten. What’s more, Illinois’ recruiting classes ranked in the top 35 nationally during three of Mitchell’s five seasons as the Illini’s recruiting coordinator. That includes 2007, when UI’s class ranked 20th and included two five-star players and five four-star guys. A year later, the Illini ranked 23rd in the country, with six four-star prospects.

Mitchell surfaced in the Big Ten after spending nine seasons (1988-96) at KU with former Jayhawk coach Glen Mason. From there, he spent two years at Minnesota (1997-98), six years at Michigan State (1999-2004) and five at Illinois (2005-09).

It was there that the Flint, Mich., native established himself as one of the top recruiters in the country, bringing to Michigan State such big-name prospects as wide receiver Charles Rogers, the former No. 2 overall pick of the Detroit Lions, running back T.J. Duckett, who also was a first-round draft pick, and former all-pro wide receiver Plaxico Burress.

At Illinois, Mitchell helped land running back Rashard Mendenhall, the current Pittsburgh Steelers starter, who, in 2007, set Illinois school records for rushing yards and touchdowns on his way to becoming a first-round pick.

Those players, among many others, enjoy relationships with Mitchell to this day and have had nothing but good things to say about how valuable he was to their programs and careers.

“He is a great recruiter and a great coach because he just relates better than most coaches,” Duckett said. “I always felt I could go and talk to him, and he really was a role model for me and the other players. The one thing I always knew is that I could lean on coach Mitchell for information and advice.”

Added Rogers: “Reggie is the type of coach you know will always be in your life. He recruited me to Michigan State and is one of the main reasons I feel East Lansing, Mich., is my second home.”

Comments

jhox 3 years, 8 months ago

Let's hope we are able to keep him in Lawrence for a long, long time.

KGphoto 3 years, 8 months ago

Gill and Mitchell must have really been enjoying that Super Bowl. Both having coached the two starting running backs.

Reggie also coached June Henley in '96. I'm sure he had a hand recruiting Gilbert Brown and Dana Stubblefield too. He started coaching our D-Line right before they arrived at KU. The guy is a winner.

Scott Smetana 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm impressed... you know your 90's KU football. Reggie coached June in '96, but it was mainly Vic Adamle before that. It was actually Vic who coached RB's in Minnesota.

Reggie was known under Mason to be a great inner city recruiter much more than a coach.

bigtex 3 years, 8 months ago

Mitchell does a great job recruiting, but even better job coaching and relating to players once they are on campus. Some coaches can really lay out the BS to recruits,parents,and the press. Mitchell is truly genuine, no BS with this guy.

Lance Hobson 3 years, 8 months ago

Hope this translates into wins. The team seemed to lack fire and toughness last year, unlike Mangino's teams. That will have to change.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

I can only hope that Missouri was below us in class recruiting.

I'm guessing Texas, Oklahoma, A&M and Nebraska were ahead of us. Does anyone know for sure. I am very curious.

Thanks!!

Matt Tait 3 years, 8 months ago

It actually ranked the "new" Big 12, with just the 10 teams that remain so Nebraska didn't count, though the Huskers were ahead of KU.

KU was actually tied with Oklahoma State for fifth in the league...

  1. Texas
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Texas Tech
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Kansas
  6. Oklahoma State
  7. Baylor
  8. Missouri
  9. Iowa State
  10. K-State

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks, Matt...that really puts into perspective what a good recruiting job this staff did this year...amazing!! Naysaers will now say, yeah, but you got to coach them.

Well, you still need quality players to start with....you can't teach SPEED!!!

Joe Baker 3 years, 8 months ago

Great progress and moving the right direction...he's kept his first commitment: Recruit, Recruit, Recruit!

Looking forward to many more recruits to the program. Somewhere in there, a bowl game or two would be wonderful.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

Not only did it help me out...it made my day!!!! :):):) Thanks.

slowplay 3 years, 8 months ago

I've always felt that when a coach reaches this level, he knows football, but the successful ones surround themselves with a good/great coaching staff.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 8 months ago

i'll admit that i thought this class was good, 'till i sat down and used my brain. 6th place (don't know where 5th came from) out of 10 teams is nothing to brag about. And if things fall into place with this class that means we will have at least 5 losses in big 12/10 play when these classes develop. throw in our annual FCS team beating us (what? it has happened every year gill has coached us) and we are scratching and clawing against ISU and KSU for a chance to be .500. whooooooooooooopppppppppppppppppppiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt Tait 3 years, 8 months ago

On signing day, it was fifth. They must have redone the rankings since then and... if you'll notice... KU and OSU have the same exact average score. My guess is OSU is listed first because they have one more commitment, but, if you think about it, reaching the same score with one less player actually makes KU's class stronger. But that's splitting hairs.

The bottom line is this: the class is good because it's good for KU. It's worth bragging about because it's one of the best KU's had in a while. No one's comparing KU to the elite programs out there in any way, shape or form so holding them up against those programs just doesn't make any sense.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 8 months ago

dude seriously!?!?!?!?! no quote from plaxico. hop a plane to rikers island, swallow a ballon, bake a cake with a file in it, and then put your nipple on the glass when you see him. do whatever it takes!

lbranchcrew 3 years, 8 months ago

"(what? it has happened every year Gill has coached us)" Thank You for making yourself look like an idiot and removing all credibility from anything you say... he's only coached one year. Kind of a small test pool don't ya think? No, you don't.

3 years, 8 months ago

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

Speaking of Lincoln, is jayhawkinnebr now posting from aspersionexperience’s basement computer and login?

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 8 months ago

I was listening to Jeremy Crabtree, formerly of Rivals now with ESPN, up here in Omaha, and he was asked to name a team or two that he thought did the best in the Big XII. He went right to Kansas, didn't mention the Texas or OU classes. He said Kansas upgraded every skill position and brought in speed and size across the board. This wasn't an interview being done with KC radio or the LJW. This was an interview in Omaha, so there was no reason to play to the audience. Well done staff!

91TEKU 3 years, 8 months ago

Reggie is an incredible recruiter. You may remember our D Line in the early 90's was dominant and they were all his recruits...Stubblefield, G. Brown, Kyle Moore, Chris Maumalanga, Guy Howard, just to name a few. He would get guys from Detroit, among other places, who had no business coming to KU. When I saw that HCTG brought Reggie back I had a feeling the talent level would improve. Great job, Reggie.

tauck 3 years, 8 months ago

Reggie Mitchell great recruiter!!!!!! Back in the day....Vic Adamle hands down best recruiter for Glenn Mason and the Jayhawks EVER....Guy could sell ice to the Eskimos

Bill Kackley 3 years, 8 months ago

The reason MU was so low was that they only had 17 scholarships to give. So as much as I would like to feel real good about being ahead of them, I can't just yet. Also Snider is always last, since he came back, but seems to do well with what he gets. Although his recruiting Jucos might have something to do with his low ratings.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 8 months ago

That's not completely true. While they did have a small class, Nebraska also had a small class, but was highly ranked in every single recruiting service. Misery only had one 4 star recruit and that was a JUCO kid who couldn't make grades two years ago. It was small, but it also lacked the star power that gets the points in these rankings.

rob4lb 3 years, 8 months ago

Even though the rankings have flaws, it is a way of measuring. By any measure, this was a good class, probably better (on paper) than any class Mangino recruited. Being mid-pack in the Big 12 is a great position for KU. KU did not beat out and cannot expect to beat out UT, OU and A&M for 4 and 5 star players. None of those schools were interested in most of the players that KU signed and that's not going to change. It will be a combination of recruiting talent and coaching that will elevate the fortunes of KU's football program.

KGphoto 3 years, 8 months ago

Don't forget, they recruited these guys to a school coming off a sub-par season. A team installing a new system, and with almost no football pedigree. A coach who kicked two of his most talented players off the team last year for behavioral reasons. A coaching staff who has tightened up curfews, and prohibited certain "liberties". Generally to what could be perceived as a less than desirable opportunity.

I know Ahperse was absolutely loving the potential recruiting wall TG was building, by asking these wild young men to be home by 10pm. He was so certain that parents didn't have enough say in the process, for the kid to choose a disciplinarian for a coach. Well, Ahperse. Do you like apples?

jhawkrulz 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe I am reading this wrong,

"Earlier this week, Mitchell was honored by Rivals.com as one of the top-10 recruiters in the Big 12. "

If there are 10 teams left in the big 12, so wouldn't every recruiting coordinator be in the top 10? It sounded like from the article that he was the recruiting coordinator, I think this is talking about all recruiting personnel, but wouldn't there basically only 1 key recruiter per team?

captku 3 years, 8 months ago

I wondered the exact same thing. That statement needs to be cleared up. I assume they mean he is the only one from the Big12 in the top 10? At any rate it is a step-change.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 8 months ago

do i like apples!?!?!?! ha, not on dominos friday.

captku 3 years, 8 months ago

Ahh, yes. Reminds me of ordering Pizza Shuttle and watching KU away games on ESPN on Thursdays with my buddies - that was a few years ago.

Kevin Studer 3 years, 8 months ago

I am not sold on Gill, but even the most hardened fan would have to admit that this class has a chance to be fantastic. Many of these freshmen will never see a redshirt, which means they will be key members of the team for their entire tenures at Kansas. Gill may not win a whole lot (and may not ever; too early to tell), but the speed on defense and the skill positions, plus the bulk of the huge O-Line class, will be fun to watch!

bbhawk234 3 years, 8 months ago

There should be a better product on the field this year. I dont believe that we may be looking at a bowl or anything but we should see great improvements. Not necessarily in wins or losses but in execution. Give this coaching staff a solid 3 years to lay the foundation and year 4 we should be very competative. Come on Fans we need to show the support! Get your tickets and stand by our team. I know 4 years but we already have year one under our belt. This team will just get faster and faster every year and that is one aspect of our past teams never really had, that is overall speed. BELIEVE but must be patient and let the coaches lay this foundation.

Stephen Johnson 3 years, 8 months ago

Well done Coach Mitchell and thanks to Coach Gill for bringing him on board

Ryan Gerstner 3 years, 8 months ago

People need to remember that Rivals only rates the top 20 players in a class to form a class rank. So yeah, it helps to oversign in that you might get more highly rated recruits in your top 20, which helps your ranking.

tauck 3 years, 8 months ago

No maxhawk I.m not referring to Mitch Browning, as I stated I'm referring to Vic Adamle. Browning and Reggie did their thing as all assistants do but Adamle was just a step above when it came to the recruiting game

DevilHawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Recruiting Update:

Tanner Gibas committed today, adding a long-snapper to the 2011 class.

jayhawkintx73 3 years, 8 months ago

It was a strong recruiting class. I think we already have the speed at WR we needed, but there are a couple of guys in this class that can line up out there and where a number in between 20 and 49, who can also be part of the overall package on some gadget play designs.

The offensive line and some of the speed at linebacker in this class is impressive.

Towards the end of last year there were some guys coming on in our defensive backfield, and that could prove to be our Charles Gordon and Aqib Talib by mid-season 2011.

The most important is the OL. If we can keep our offense on the field and sustain drives and score in the 30 to 35 point range. Well, we also have at least 2 very capable QBs, not including Pick and I think with the WR coach returning from Mangino's staff, Pick might become a legitimate threat from the slot, and have some of them QB, to Slot WR, to Outside WR plays like the Reesing, to Meier, to Briscoe type plays. Spring drills and the Spring Game is something I'm looking forward to, although I won't be able to be there to see it, but I want to see some of these new guys get their chances and see what they do.

UmbertoConforti 3 years, 7 months ago

We will soon be observing the old coaches' adage, "It aint the dog in the fight, it's the fight in the dog."

UmbertoConforti 3 years, 7 months ago

I forgot to add that otherwise we will be in the second half of the Big 12 x 10 Conference.

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