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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Randle still KU student

Ex-player denied other schools' offers

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— John Randle is a former Kansas University football player, but he also is a current KU student -- and it appears that's not going to change.

Despite attention from universities wanting him for his football skills, Randle is choosing to stay at KU and work on his degree this year despite being dismissed from the football team after another alleged alcohol-induced brush with the law in March.

So what does this mean? If he straightens up, could Randle possibly play football for KU again?

"I never say never," coach Mark Mangino said. "But there is no plan to bring him back."

"Never say never" simply is a precautionary phrase on Mangino's part, and he referenced former KU basketball coach Roy Williams as a reason for leaving the door slightly cracked. Williams promised he'd stay at KU for life after being courted by North Carolina in 2000. He then left for UNC three years later, a move that still has Jayhawk fans livid.

Mangino dismissed Randle after his arrest outside a Lawrence bar, but the fourth-year Jayhawk coach did offer to pay for Randle's education at KU if he decided to stay. In the weeks that followed, several schools contacted Mangino and got in touch with Randle.

"We had several universities contact us asking for a release," Mangino said. "He said no."

Mangino said he still talked to Randle and mentored him frequently. Mangino thinks his story has a happy ending ahead.

"I think he has the potential to be a great person," Mangino said. "If he turns out to be a great person and he gets his degree, it's a success."

¢ Three won't make it: Three incoming freshmen who signed in February aren't on the roster: Jonathan Throneberry, Darius Warner and Bobby Johnson.

Mangino confirmed three wouldn't make it, including Throneberry, who Mangino said went home to Lone Grove, Okla., after one day this summer because of homesickness.

The two others, who Mangino didn't specifically name, were unable to qualify academically.

¢ Playing hurt: Never one to disclose injuries, Mangino went down an unexpected road concerning linebacker Nick Reid.

A hot interview topic centered around last year's Texas game, which included a missed tackle by Reid that allowed UT quarterback Vince Young to scramble for a first down and prolong Texas' drive. UT won the game, 27-23.

"I'll tell you something that's not been revealed," Mangino said. "Nick Reid had cartilage damage in his knee and finished the season when he shouldn't have played, and had surgery after the Missouri game."

Reid said the operation was a simple scope, and he was back on his feet in no time.

¢ No Gordon: Junior cornerback Charles Gordon was scheduled to appear at Media Day on Tuesday, but didn't make it because of class.

"Missing one of those summer-session classes is like missing a week," Mangino said. "It wouldn't be in his best interest to make the trip today."

Linebacker Kevin Kane showed up in his place.

¢ Heaggans back: Mangino also confirmed Tuesday that senior kick-return specialist Greg Heaggans was back on the team after sitting out the spring to deal with undisclosed issues.

Mangino said after the spring game it wasn't likely Heaggans was coming back, but said Tuesday the Kansas City Schlagle graduate turned over a new leaf.

"He's done everything I've asked," Mangino said. "He's been awesome."

Heaggans, statistically, is KU's all-time best kick returner, with 1,715 career yards.

¢ Other new faces: Other names have popped up on the roster of the new media guide.

Along with incoming freshmen who signed letters of intent and were publicized at February's signing day, freshman punter Mat Davis (Rose Hill), offensive lineman Taylor Hurd (Fowler, Colo.), long snapper Aaron Jensen (Algonquin, Ill.), safety John Kosko (Emporia) and linebacker Tom Phelps (Roeland Park) also are new to the roster.

In addition, Butler County transfers Matt Zeleznak (linebacker) and Derek Spears (tight end) are listed, as well as Avila University transfer Eric Butler, a defensive tackle.

¢ Off to Washburn: Mangino's son, Tommy, has decided to play football and baseball at Washburn University in Topeka after playing baseball for two seasons at Johnson County Community College.

Tommy, who is interested in eventually coaching football, will play quarterback in the fall and catcher in the spring.

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