Gary Chandler is hoping for a happy ending to his recruitment this winter. The Wichita Heights RB/DB prospect hopes for all smiles over the next month as he gets set to pick a school because his final high school football game ended with anything but happiness.
Chandler and his Falcon teammates were eliminated in the second round of the 6A state playoffs by Hutchinson, despite a 10-0 record heading into the game. In his final prep contest, Chandler carried the ball 22 times for 149 yards but it was not enough as Heights fell 28-21 and their fantastic season came crashing down.
It’s been three weeks since that heartbreaking defeat and since then the Salt Hawks of Hutchinson have gone on to win the state title. Chandler meanwhile has had to sit home and wonder what might have been. The two-star stud hasn’t been sulking too much though – he’s got bigger things to think about.
Next week Chandler will visit Manhattan to check out the Kansas State program and see how it compares to his current leader, the University of Kansas. The Jayhawks hold a slight lead in what has shaped up to be a two horse race thanks mostly to their scholarship offer.
“On the 10th (of December) I go to K-State for a visit. I want to go in and see what the coaches are like and talk with some people on campus. I also want to take a look at some educational things instead of football things.”
Chandler is as undecided about his major as he is his college of choice, but is confident that both of his final two schools will offer plenty in the classroom.
“Whatever school I choose I think they should probably be a good fit for me as far as my education goes.”
That “fit” is what Chandler calls the most important factor in making his decision, but it must come not only in the classroom but also on the field.
“I think I’ll pick the school that I think I’ll fit better in as far as getting my education and playing good football. That’s pretty much what’s going to come into play. We’ll see which one turns out to be the better fit. I’m really not too sure right now, but pretty soon I should be.”
So, where does Chandler stand when it comes to KU vs. K-State? Phog.net asked the 6-0, 190 senior what immediately comes to mind when he thinks of the two respective programs.
“When I think of Kansas State I think of ‘on the rise’. They’re a young team, so you know they’re going to have a very good team here in the near future.
“With Kansas, the word I think of is ‘competitive’. They’ve been having some pretty close ball games and barely getting nipped. But they’re getting better and will come around. That Texas game was such a heartbreaker. I was watching that one on TV.”
Chandler had planned on watching that game in person at Memorial Stadium, but plans changed before game day. He’d already seen one game in Lawrence earlier in the year when Kansas took on Tulsa. While he didn’t see the Texas game live and in person, he was certainly listening when Mark Mangino sounded off on the officiating after the game. The way Mangino stood up for his Kansas players really impressed Chandler.
“This fine thing really didn’t put a bad image on Coach Mangino. I think that was just him showing his support for the players and working hard. Sometimes hard work isn’t enough to win though, and he got frustrated. I’d probably be frustrated too. I don’t blame him at all for saying that.
One of the things I’m looking for is a good player/coach relationship and that right there shows he has a lot of love for the players.”
Chandler also thinks Mangino possesses “excellent coaching skills”. So, how about his take on KSU’s Bill Snyder?
“When I think of Coach Snyder I’d just have to say that he’s consistent with winning. This year they kind of fell off a little bit but hopefully they’ll do better next year. I think they will.”
With Chandler clearly impressed with both coaches and both programs the obvious question is how much an offer from Kansas State would change his current frame of mind.
“Right now Kansas has a slight edge because they got the offer out already. If K-State were to offer you could say it would sway me a little bit, but not too much.”
If an offer comes at all from Manhattan it might happen during his visit on the 10th. Check back soon for more on this sunflower showdown of football recruiting.