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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reesing takes time to make South ninth grader’s day

South Junior High ninth grader Tara Rasing, right, got to meet former KU quarterback Todd Reesing, her favorite football player, on Tuesday during a school assembly.

South Junior High ninth grader Tara Rasing, right, got to meet former KU quarterback Todd Reesing, her favorite football player, on Tuesday during a school assembly.

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Reesing fan receives signed surprise

A local ninth grader and huge Todd Reesing fan got to meet the former KU quarterback in person Tuesday. Reesing hand-delivered a signed No. 5 jersey.

As far as South Junior High ninth grader Tara Rasing was concerned, receiving a Todd Reesing jersey from her physical education teacher at an all-school sports assembly was enough.

Add to that thrill the fact that the jersey — blue, size medium, sporting a white No. 5 — was being delivered by Reesing himself and, really, there was only one way to describe it.

“My guts dropped,” Rasing said.

The jersey presentation highlighted Tuesday’s assembly, which was thrown together as much to honor South’s eighth- and ninth-grade athletic teams as to lift Rasing’s spirits. Clearly, it worked.

“This was just a burst of enjoyment for me,” said Rasing, who, like her favorite KU football player, has overcome her share of adversity in her life. “This was one of the best days I’ve had in a really long time.”

The same could be said for Reesing, who, after graduating in December with degrees in finance and economics, has spent the past several weeks in Lawrence at the Anderson Family Football Complex preparing for a shot at professional football. Although most of his time has been spent focusing on dropping his 40-yard dash time along with strength and agility drills, Reesing said he was happy to deliver the jersey when asked by South P.E. teacher and former KU football player David Lawrence.

“I was told about all of the obstacles (Rasing’s) had to overcome in her life at such a young age, and I heard that she was also a huge fan, so this was just a no-brainer for me,” Reesing said. “Once you’ve done it before and you see how spending time with kids and just being around them brings a smile to their faces, it’s almost impossible to turn something like that down.”

With just 58 days remaining before the 2010 NFL Draft (April 22-24), Reesing is hoping that at least one general manager will feel the same way about him. Reesing wrapped up his KU career as the school’s leader in every major passing category. In addition, he became known around college football as a player who, despite his small frame, could make something out of nothing on any play. While that style became the signature for one of the most productive careers in KU football history, Reesing has spent the last couple of months fine-tuning the elements of his game that he believes the pro scouts will want to see.

“It’s the same thing I’ve been doing at every stage of my life it seems like,” he said. “Just one more time I’ve gotta go out and prove myself and earn my way because it’s not going to be handed to you.”

At Tuesday’s assembly, Reesing told the room full of South Cougars what playing pro football would mean to him.

“In the next couple of months, I have the opportunity to accomplish my ultimate childhood dream, and that’s a chance to play pro football,” he said. “If you would have told me that 10 years ago, when I was in y’all’s shoes, I might have lost it. So shoot high. Always go for your dreams. And whether it’s sports, school or your social environment don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something.”

The next date circled on Reesing’s football calendar is March 10, when the KU football program will welcome several pro scouts to town for the school’s annual pro day.

“We’ll probably get a lot more feedback after that day,” Reesing said. “And we’ll have a better understanding of what I might end up with or what my chances in the NFL are.”

Comments

bradh 12 years, 11 months ago

Todd is a class act. Good luck with the NFL, I think you'd make some team a great QB.

Jayhawk444 12 years, 11 months ago

I like these kinds of stories. Still....why is Tara such a big fan of Todd? What are the "adversity" she has faced? (I understand there may be a need for privacy here, but couldn't the article at least put us in the ballpark with a generic "medical issues" or "family struggles"? This article was hard to read - it kept jumping back and forth between human interest story and a "Todd goes to the NFL" story.

Ron Prichard 12 years, 11 months ago

I second that 100%, Jayhawk444. A human interest story is only really interesting if you tell us the human side. Here, we just heard about Todd. That itself is great, but after reading the title, I was really hoping the story would have been more about the girl and her adversities.

topekahawk 12 years, 11 months ago

C'mon, Tait. Did her dog and cat die in the same day? Does she have a wooden peg leg? You covered the Reesing/NFL angle in another story.

Jonathan Allison 12 years, 11 months ago

and what is the wooden thing that he's carrying in his hand? Did he pull that out of the lawn on his way in?

Matt Tait 12 years, 11 months ago

To answer a few questions....

  1. Due to the sensitive nature of the girl's struggles we were asked not to get into the specifics.... Whatever her issues, though, be it home life, school, social, whatever, she seems like a wonderful young lady and was very appreciative of such an inspiring surprise.

  2. My assignment was to attend the assembly and get an update on Todd. The human interest part of it just happened to provide an incredible and unique lead-in to the latest update.

  3. The wooden thing (which can be seen in the video) is called "Cougar on a stick" and, as Kevin Romary and I witnessed yesterday, it has the ultimate respect of everyone who walks the halls at SJHS. Lot of pride over there in Cougar Country. It was pretty cool to see.

KirkwoodHawk 12 years, 11 months ago

I am confident with Turner Gill as our new coach that the Jayhawks will continue to be successful on the field with student athletes of good character like Todd.

Ron Prichard 12 years, 11 months ago

Matt--thanks for the additional information. If you could have just added that one sentence to the article ("Due to the sensitive nature of the girl's struggles we were asked not to get into the specifics") I think it would have kept inquisitive minds like mine from questioning you.

Still...nice update on Todd.

d_prowess 12 years, 11 months ago

The girl is getting her money's worth on that hug!!

Matt Tait 12 years, 11 months ago

Point well taken, raprichard...

I still don't know if there's a place for it in the story, but it definitely would have been a good idea to clarify that in some manner, be it via an editor's note or as the first comment or whatever.

Thanks for your thoughts! - Matt

Lance Hobson 12 years, 11 months ago

The fact that he's not at the combine tells you a lot about his chances. That's ok, he'll still be a legend around here for the next 50 years. Probably won't win a BCS game in those years, either.

Mike Kendall 12 years, 11 months ago

I work with kids all the time--nice story, Matt! Keep 'em coming! Todd is a class act off the football field. I will miss him being a Jayhawk!

Rick Arnoldy 12 years, 11 months ago

Strikewso, I was thinking the same thing. I wonder what percent of those who get drafted did not get invited to combine. I also wonder how many make an NFL roster.

John Myers 12 years, 11 months ago

Great story, and brings back great memories of SJHS - although it's been demo'd and rebuilt since I left there in '84..

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