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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Keegan

Column: Mitchell, Campo opening doors in recruiting

Kansas assistant coaches Dave Campo, left, and Reggie Mitchell

Kansas assistant coaches Dave Campo, left, and Reggie Mitchell

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It didn’t take the Kansas University football program’s best recruiter, Reggie Mitchell, long to see how another member of Charlie Weis’ staff could be used to open doors.

Mitchell and Dave Campo, former head coach of America’s Team, were on a recruiting trip in the nation’s capital a while back. A recruit’s uncle owned a barber shop in Washington, D.C., ’Skins country. Word spread via text that the former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys was in the shop.

“It turned into a photo op,” said Mitchell, recruiting coordinator/running backs coach. “People were coming in off the street, wanting to take pictures with him. And of course he had on a Super Bowl ring.”

After the barber-shop stop, Mitchell teased Campo, associate head coach in charge of defensive backs.

“I told him, ‘Dave, we didn’t get anything done we wanted to get done.’ I said, ‘We’re supposed to be talking to him over here, Dave, not them over there.’ I just sat back and watched,” Mitchell said.

During his days with the Cowboys, Campo developed relationships with high school coaches in the Dallas Metroplex and has strong name recognition with the parents of recruits. It comes in handy, adding to a staff loaded with coaches who have strong Texas recruiting ties.

“I like going back (to Dallas),” Campo said. “It was my home for so long.”

During one spring visit to evaluate prospects at a high school, the coach stopped practice, pointed to Campo and asked his players, “You know who that is, right?”

Wrong.

“You were 2 years old when he was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys,” the coach said.

Now they knew and won’t forget.

Campo recently helped KU to score two significant Texas Class of 2015 commitments.

KU has proven it’s possible to build a strong secondary primarily with junior-college talent. Michael Mathis comes to KU from Kilgore Junior College in Texas.

KU also shows how it’s not possible to build a strong offensive line without building the base with high school talent. Aaron Garza, a high school offensive lineman from Sherman, Texas, backed out of his commitment to Texas when Mack Brown was fired, and Campo scooped him up.

Mitchell credits head coach Charlie Weis with KU’s shift to what he calls “group recruiting.” The assistant in charge of a specific geographic area makes the initial contact, and the position coach joins the recruitment for the next visit.

“If I’m recruiting a defensive lineman, I’ll make the initial contact, and then Buddy (Wyatt) will come in,” Mitchell said. “When you’re recruiting kids by position, the position coach is the one that will spend more time with them. When I’m recruiting a running back, I’ll tell him, ‘If you don’t like me, if you’re not comfortable with me, you probably shouldn’t come here, because what you see is what you get.’”

What you see is what you get with Campo. He made it all the way to the top of the coaching profession as head coach of football’s most famous franchise. Even then, what he enjoyed most was teaching young athletes how to become better football players. It appears Mitchell, Campo and the rest of the staff have recruiting heading in a positive direction.

Comments

Jim Jackson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Admittedly, I am a recruiting junkie as I subscribe to some of the online recruiting sites.

It's nice to see us picking off talent from other BCS schools, particularly when we've only won 4 games in the past 2 seasons.

Our class was ranked 7th in the Big 12 last year, and did not include the 3 star QB from UCLA and 4 star TE from Florida we inked (transfers aren't included in the rankings).

If we can get to 6 wins this year, which I believe we will barring significant injuries, look out for us on the recruiting trail.

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Glen Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I'm a bigtime KU fan, but please tell me which 6 games you are thinking we will win? I think we get all over hyped by our signings and what the coaches are saying and we forget that the same things were said last season. I see us winning two of 3 non-conference games (losing to Duke). Winning 4 Big 12 games is going to be pretty tough. I think more realistically we win 4 games, but don't get blown out by anyone except for maybe OU. I definitely think we will be competitive and our talent is catching up.

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Doug Cramer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Jim - you mention we ranked 7th in the Big 12 with the 2013 class. But you forget that class was WAY overrated.

Our highest rated recruits that class are gone.

  1. Chris Martin
  2. Marquel Combs
  3. Pearce Slater
  4. Markus Jenkins-Moore
  5. Samson Faifili
  6. Zack Fondal

The 2014 class according to Rivals...ranks 9 out of 10 in the Big 12...but...we lost Wrench...who was our only 4 star. So that class probably ranks last in the Big 12 now.

This coaching staff hasn't proven anything with recruiting yet. Although I will say, Mitchell IS proven. It's obvious he can recruit running backs.

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Jim Jackson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Those guys are soft, Doug! They left because they KNEW they wouldn't play due to the competition. How is that a bad thing?

And not so fast, buddy! The current rivals list does not include transfers Nigel King and Larry Mazyck; both high 3 star recruits. Would probably put us 6th.

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Doug Cramer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"those guys are soft" EXACTLY ! Which is why that class was way overrated.

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Doug Cramer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Jim - hope you're right with 6 wins...but I don't see it. 3 - 9 is what we'll likely get. Although it's possible we only win 2 if we can't sneak one in Big 12 play.

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Jim Jackson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

We'll soon find out, won't we?

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Brett McCabe 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Again, for the first time in a long time, I feel like we have a true college football D1 coaching staff. That alone makes a world of difference. I believe that this staff can win football games if it can recruit talent every single year without an off-year.

Win four games, put together a 5th or 6th ranked (Big 12) recruiting class, and you just might start seeing the stadium fill up again.

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Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Completely agree. 4-5 wins because there can always be that big upset win and being more competitive in games this season is even more of a key for us this year. Some positive wins, close losses compared to blow outs regularly and recruits will see progress and some will think they could be the player that puts KU back in bowl talk. I am not making any predictions, but just saying this season needs to be the one that says we are on the way up.

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Billy Derringer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

ok put it this way KU football=TCU basketball= KU nor TCU is going to compete with the big boys ever if your only getting 3 star kids face it 3 star is not even close to what we need to be getting to rise up..damm it people are talent sucks face it damm]

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Doug Cramer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

People can't see it because they are clouded by the media hype on here. Unfortunately there needs to be some local media "reality" articles that are written about this program.

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Jim Jackson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Really moron? You think KST, MU, Wisconsin, Louisville, Stanford, to name a few are full of 4 and 5 star players?

You can't even spell correctly, don't even know why I am addressing you.

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Micky Baker 1 month, 3 weeks ago

K-State does it with mostly 3 stars, they're really not that athletic.

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Jay Beakum 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Billy, Billy, Billy.

The Orange Bowl team was comprised of mostly 2 and 3 star guys.

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Brett McCabe 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Bill Snyder pretty much gave up recruiting 4-star and 5-star players because they would never sign. So he figured out other ways to succeed. As did Gary Pinkel.

You can win games with 3-star kids, but you need a boat load of them. Solid quality players with good coaching can win you a lot of games.

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Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The Orange Bowl team had 4, 4 star players on it. That's on average one per year, which isn't much. It's not always about the stars of the player to win consistently. We aren't asking to be national champs, but build a team that can win. That Orange Bowl team had the heart of a champion, and showed it.

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