"Based on our evaluations we feel very comfortable with the group that we have," Mark Mangino said.
He also said that this class of 24 – 11 Texans, four Kansans, two
Oklahomans, two Floridians and one each from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois,
Nebraska and Missouri, 21 high schoolers and three juco transfers – has
a ton of talent, but as always, he's taking a wait-and-see attitude.
"I will tell you today what I have said every year that I have been at
this podium for this press conference," he cautioned, "that we think we
have some talented kids, but you never know until they get on a Big 12
field what they are going to do."
The Jayhawks recruited for need, including some players who he expects
to make an immediate impact, but one thing was common to all of them,
"We set out to recruit athleticism. Speed is a part of it, but we are
looking for people who change direction very well. Athletic guys, who
not only run well, but have the ability to change direction very
quickly and make plays on the offensive and defensive side of the
ball," Mangino explained.
He cited four players who are already on campus (Calvin Rubles, Deshaun Sands, Jordan Webb and Kevin Young) and already participating in the
winter workouts. Only two have not yet qualified academically, but that
was not a concern to the KU coach.
KU looks to keep a high-powered offense on the field for some time to
come. Play-makers were a priority for the Jayhawks. Glossy stats,
however, weren't the only criteria.
"On the offensive side of the ball we have some play-makers, kids who
not only put up big statistics but are athletic guys."
Webb and Christian Matthews look to vie for the quarterback spot of the
future. Mangino said he is excited about both of them.
"Both throw the ball very well, both are very intelligent and both can
beat you with their feet. They are quick kids. We wanted to continue to
recruit well at quarterback as our number one and number two
quarterbacks (Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier) are heading into their
senior season. We got quality at that position."
At wide receiver, Bradley McDougald, Erick McGriff and Chris Omigie
make make quick impacts. All three are big, strong and have very good
hands, Mangino said.
Mangino was also pleased with his incoming offensive linemen.
"Gavin Howard is a good-looking kid. We also have Tom Mabry, who is a
big, strong, tough kid. A very athletic kid. He is going to be a good
player and a good addition. Riley Spencer is a raw guy who looked
really good in our summer camp last year and we decided to offer him.
He is a 6-6 guy who is going to be 310, 320 before it is all over with."
Deshaun Sands – son of KU legend Tuxedo Tony Sands – is a gem among
this class, and Toben Opurum is "the big, strong running back that we
have been looking for," Mangino said. The coach talked about his speed,
agility and great vision and said that he adds power to that mix.
On defense, Kansas continues to get stronger and more athletic in the
defensive backfield. D.J. Beshears set a bucketful of school receiving
records in Texas, making 88 catches for 21 TDs and 1,450 yards as a
senior. Mangino plans to play him at cornerback.
"We have him listed at corner, but he is good enough to play wide
receiver if we needed him to," Mangino said.
The Jayhawks also seem loaded at the safety position with Prinz Kande,
Darian Kelly and Dexter Linton. All are athletics, all change direction
well and all are physical players and outstanding tacklers.
On the defensive line, Mangino was very pleased with the group he and
his assistants landed.
"We believe we have helped ourselves tremendously," he said.
Quintin Woods and Kevin Young will vie for time at defensive end, and
while Mangino says he doesn't like putting pressure on players who have
never seen the field, he compared Woods to one of his first
game-changers on the KU d-line.
"His frame reminds you a little bit of Charlton Keith," Mangino said.
"He comes off the ball with quickness and is an outstanding player."
The coaching staff expect Nebraskan Tyrone Sellers to develop in the
weight room into a good player, and Travis Stephens and Randall Dent
are being looked to to make an immediate impact at defensive tackle, a
position that has lacked punch since James McClinton graduated.
Mangino cited Jacoby Thomas and the pride of Mulvane, KS, Huldon Tharp
as outstanding players with bright futures in a program that's
developing a reputation for solid LB units.
Other notes... Mangino announced that Tyler Lawrence is no longer with
the program. Lawrence will graduate from KU early... The coach also
explained that no tight ends were recuited this year because he's
satisfied with the group he has. Next year, however, TE will be a need.
2009 Kansas Football Signee Bios
D.J. Beshears, CB, 5-9, 175, Fr., HS, Denton, Texas (Ryan HS)
Was a four-year letterwinner at Ryan HS... Played wide receiver... Was
an all-state and all-district selection... As a senior he had 88
receptions for 1,450 yards and 21 touchdowns... Established a school
record for season receiving yards as a senior... Also set a school
single-game record with 14 catches... Recorded 59 catches for 893 yards
and 13 touchdowns as a junior... Team was 9-4 and advanced to the
region semifinals his senior year... Son of Danny Beshears and April
Tesse... Father played football at Sonoma State... Has three brothers
and two sisters... Plans to major in psychology.
Randall Dent, Jr., DT, 6-4, 278, Fr., HS, Grand Prairie, Texas, (South
Grand Prairie HS)
A three-year letterwinner at South Grand Prairie HS... Was a two-time
all-state selection and a three-time all-district honoree... Earned
Super Team second team honors... Played both defensive end and tight
end... On defense he recorded 120 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 21
sacks and had five fumble recoveries... Team was 7-4 and finished third
in the district his senior season... Also played basketball... Son of
Desha and Randall Dent, Sr... Plans to major in business finance...
Would like to be a sports agent... Enjoys watching movies and producing
Gavin Howard, OL, 6-6, 295, Fr., HS, Owasso, Okla. (Owasso HS)
A three-year letterwinner at Owasso HS... Played offensive tackle...
Was a Tulsa World all-metro second team selection as a prep senior...
Team was 6-5 his senior season and finished second in the district with
a 6-1 record... Also played basketball and has earned all-state
honors... Was named an Oklahoma Academic Scholar... Son of Donny and
Deidre Howard... Has two siblings... Plans to major in engineering...
Likes to spend time with friends and play basketball.
Julian Jones, LB, 6-2, 244, Fr., HS, Lawton, Okla.(MacArthur HS)
A two-year letterwinner at MacArthur HS... Played linebacker, tight end
and running back... Was an all-state selection at linebacker as a
senior... Earned 5A linebacker of the year honors in the state of
Oklahoma... Registered 80 tackles and eight sacks as a senior... Team
was 10-3 on the season and tied for second in the district with a 5-2
record... Team reached the state semifinals his senior year... Also
played basketball... Son of Marketta and Lewis Jones... Plans to major
in sports management... Enjoys music.
Prinz Kande, S, 6-0, 190, Fr., HS, Euless, Texas (Trinity HS)
A four-year starter at Trinity HS... Played safety and cornerback...
Was an all-district first team selection as a senior... Earned
all-district second team honors as a junior... Recorded 51 tackles and
seven passes broken up as a senior... Team was 13-1, won the district
championship and advanced to the state quarterfinal game his senior
year... Trinity finished the regular season ranked first in the
state... Had 71 stops, five PBUs and an interception as a junior...
Also played basketball... Son of Patricia Muendo... Has two sisters and
one brother... Likes to draw... Plans to major in accounting.
Darian Kelly, S, 6-0, 195, Fr., HS, Girard, Kan. (Girard HS)
Was a four-year letterwinner at Girard HS... Played wide receiver,
running back and defensive back... Was an all-area honorable mention
selection as a senior... As a junior he was all-league second team as a
running back... Played in just three games as a junior, gaining 400
rushing yards before suffering an injury... Earned all-state honors as
a sophomore... Was an all-conference honoree as both a running back and
defensive back as a sophomore... Also played basketball and was
all-state second team as a sophomore and junior... Earned all-state
honorable mention honors in basketball as a freshman... Team was state
runners-up his junior season... Played one season of baseball... Son of
Jennifer and Anthony Kelly... Father plaeyd basketball at Fort Scott CC
and Pittsburg State... Mother played basketball, softball and
volleyball at Fort Scott... Has three sisters.
Dexter Linton, S, 6-0, 190, Fr., HS, Arlington, Texas (James Bowie HS)
A two-year letterwinner at James Bowie HS... Played safety and
cornerback... A two-time all-district selection... As a senior he
posted 75 tackles to go along with 15 passes broken up, three
interceptions and two blocked punts... Team was 11-2, won the district
championship and advanced to the round of 16 in the state playoffs his
senior year... Team finished the regular season ranked fourth in the
state... As a junior he had 103 tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass
break ups... Team advanced to state semifinals his junior year... Was
also a state qualifier in track... Son of Marisa Linton... Undecided on
a major at Kansas.
Tom Mabry, OL, 6-5, 280, Fr., HS, Belleville, Ill. (Althoff Catholic HS)
A three-year letterwinner at Althoff HS... Played offensive tackle and
defensive end... Ranked as the 11th-best player in the St. Louis metro
area by the St. Louis Post Dispatch... As an offensive tackle he was an
all-metro first-team selection, as well as a two-time all-conference
pick and three-time all-city choice... Helped lead the way for an
offense which recorded 2,822 yards in nine games... Recorded 46 tackles
and one sack on defense as a senior... Also wrestled in high school...
Son of Barb Mabry... Has three sisters... Would like to major in
Christian Matthews, QB, 6-2, 194, Fr., HS, Arlington, Texas (James
A three-year letterwinner at James Bowie HS... Played quarterback...
Was an all-state honorable mention selection as a junior... Was the
district MVP as a senior, as well as the district offensive MVP as a
junior... Was the all-district sophomore of the year... As a senior he
hit 155 of 245 attempts (63.3 percent) for 2,256 yards with 19
touchdowns and six interceptions... Team was 11-2 and won the district
championship... Team finished the regular season ranked fourth in the
state... In his career he was 516 of 829 (61.7 percent) for 6,580
yards, 52 touchdowns and 28 interceptions... Also played basketball and
was an all-district second-team selection... Son of Zina and Robert
Matthews... Has one sister and one brother... Plans to major in
education and would like to be a high school coach.
Bradley McDougald, WR, 6-2, 195, Fr., HS, Dublin, Ohio (Scioto HS)
Played running back and defensive back for three years at Scioto HS...
Was an all-district second team selection... Recorded 37 tackles and
had one interception in seven games as a senior... Offensively he
rushed 87 times for 432 yards and six touchdowns, while catching eight
passes for 135 yards and one score... Also completed four of five
passes for 78 yards and another touchdown... Was also a kick returner
with 12 punt returns for a 21.4 average and one touchdown and four
kickoff returns for a 22.0 average... As a junior he led the team in
rushing with 1,008 yards and 10 touchdowns on 173 carries in 10
games... Also had 27 receptions for 288 yards and two scores...
Defensively he had 29 tackles, one interception and five PBUs... As a
sophomore he was second on the team in rushing with 386 yards and five
touchdowns on 87 carries... Caught 25 passes for 331 yards and two
touchdowns as well... Was also an all-district basketball selection...
Was on the honor roll... Son of Nikki McDougald and Anthony Hairston...
Has three brothers and sisters... Cooking is one of his hobbies.
Erick McGriff, WR, 6-4, 205, Fr., HS, Tampa, Fla. (Jesuit HS)
Was a three-year letterwinner at Jesuit HS... Played wide receiver,
defensive back and returned punts and kicks... Earned all-county
first-team honors as a wide receiver and second team honors as a
defensive back... Recorded 44 receptions for 732 yards and five
touchdowns as a senior... Also played basketball... Son of Fred and
Veronica McGriff... Father played major league baseball for 19
seasons... Has one sister... Plans to major in sports management.
Chris Omigie, WR, 6-4, 200, Fr., HS, Arlington, Texas (Martin HS)
A three-year letterwinner at James W. Martin HS... Played wide
receiver... Earned all-district first team honors as a senior... As a
senior he caught 55 passes for 937 yards and nine touchdowns... As a
junior he pulled in 10 balls for 156 yards and one score... Played
basketball... Also competed in track and field and was the district
champion in the long jump as a junior... Son of Brenda and William
Omigie... Has three siblings... Plans to major in engineering.
Toben Opurum, RB, 6-2, 235, Fr., HS, Plano, Texas (Plano East HS)
A three-year starter at Plano East HS... Played running back,
linebacker, punter and returned kicks... Was a two-time all-district
first team selection... Earned super team second team honors... Was his
school's MVP and a team captain... As a senior he rushed 107 times for
882 yards and eight touchdowns... He also had 31 receptions for 238
yards... As a junior he rushed 99 times for 600 yards and four
scores... He also had 27 catches for 574 yards and six more
touchdowns... For his career he averaged 7.1 yards per carry... Also
competed in track... Son of George and Agatha Opurum... Has three
brothers... Would like to major in business... Likes singing, rapping,
playing basketball and video games.
Tyler Patmon, CB, 5-10, 170, Fr., HS, Cedar Park, Texas, (Vista Ridge
A two-year letterwinner at Vista Ridge HS... Played cornerback and wide
receiver... Earned all-district first team honors as both a junior and
a senior... As a senior he recorded 37 tackles, broke up two passes and
had two interceptions defensively... On offense he had seven receptions
for 113 yards and two scores... Also blocked one punt and two field
goals... As a junior he had 45 tackles, one interception, 11 passes
broken up and forced one fumble... Also ran track and was a state
qualifier... Earned academic all-district honors... Son of Shaun and
Todd Patmon... Has one brother and two sisters... Father played
football at Central Oklahoma, while both grandfathers played college
football (one at Oklahoma and one at Oklahoma State)... Two uncles also
played football at Oklahoma... Plans to major in business... Would like
to play in the NFL or run the family insurance business.
Calvin Rubles, CB, 6-3, 199, Jr., JC, Richardson, Texas (Berkner
Is already on campus... A junior college transfer from Tyler JC...
Played defensive back for two seasons... Was an all-conference first
team selection as a sophomore... Recorded 45 tackles, three
interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries... Team
was 5-4 in 2008... A two-year letterwinner at Berkner HS... Played as a
defensive back... Was an all-state second team selection... Also earned
all-region honors... As a senior he had 48 tackles and six
interceptions... Was also an all-state basketball player... Was
recruited at the division I level in both football and basketball...
Son of Barbara Rubles and Hosie Perkins... Has three siblings... Older
brother Sidney played for current KU assistant coach David Beaty at
Richardson Berkner HS... Plans to major in sports management.
Deshaun Sands, RB, 5-9, 180, Fr., HS, Sunrise, Fla. (Piper HS)
Is already on campus... Played running back, defensive back and
returned both punts and kickoffs... Played his senior season at Piper
HS after previously attending Monarch HS... Rushed for 1,276 yards and
10 touchdowns on 235 carries as a senior... Was the second-leading
rusher in Broward County... His 235 carries were the 10th-most in
Broward County history... As a junior he led Broward County in rushing
with 1,486 yards and 13 touchdowns on 223 carries... Son of Maxie and
Calandra Sands... Father Tony Sands was a standout running back at
Kansas from 1988-91... Tony holds the KU single-game rushing record of
396 yards vs. Missouri in 1991 and is the school's second-leading
career rusher with 3,788 yards... Has one brother and one sister...
Plans to major in liberal arts.
Tyrone Sellers, Jr., DE, 6-3, 220, Fr., HS, McCook, Neb. (McCook HS)
A three-year letterwinner at McCook HS... Played tight end and
defensive end... Was named the 2008 Nebraska Gatorade Player of the
Year... Was a Super State first team selection as both a junior and
senior... Earned all-district honors... As a senior he recorded 40
tackles with 14 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles...
Offensively he caught 14 passes for 272 yards and five touchdowns as a
tight end... His senior year the team was 11-1 and advanced to the
state semifinals... For his career he registered 143 tackles, 35
tackles for loss, 18 sacks, three forced fumbles and blocked four
punts... Also competed in basketball and track and anchored the 4x100
relay team... Son of Christina McConnell and Tyrone Sellers, Sr... Has
four brothers and sisters... Undecided on his major.
Riley Spencer, OL, 6-7, 290, Fr., HS, Hesston, Kan. (Hesston HS)
A three-year letterwinner at Hesston HS... Played offensive tackle,
defensive tackle, defensive end and punter... Was an all-state
selection on the offensive line as a senior... Earned all-league first
team honors as a senior and honorable mention accolades as a sophomore
and junior... Team was 6-3 his senior season... Also played
basketball... Son of Sherie and Brent Spencer... Has one brother and
one sister... Had a cousin play basketball at Empora State... Another
cousin ran cross country at Oklahoma State... Plans on attending
graduate school... Likes sports, movies and being outdoors.
Travis Stephens, DT, 6-3, 262, Jr., JC, Houston, Texas (Jersey Village
Played two seasons at Blinn JC... Was an all-conference first team
selection as a defensive end his sophomore season... Earned Heart of
Texas Bowl team MVP honors... Team was 9-3 on the season and won a
conference championship... Recorded 10 sacks and 29 tackles for loss as
a sophomore... Prepped at Jersey Village HS... Lettered two years...
Played defensive end, linebacker and tight end... Recorded 18 sacks as
a senior... Was an all-district selection... Also earned all-greater
Houston area... Also played basketball... Son of Sheba Stephens... Has
three brothers and two sisters.
Huldon Tharp, LB, 6-0, 215, Fr., HS, Mulvane, Kan. (Mulvane HS)
A four-year letterwinner at Mulvane HS... Played linebacker and running
back... Was an all-state first team selection as a linebacker... Earned
all-state honorable mention running back honors... Was a two-time
all-league first team selection at both positions... Rushed for more
than 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in his career... Defensively he
registered more than 400 tackles... Team was 5-5 his senior season...
Competed in track and basketball for one season... Son of Robin and
Chad Tharp... Has one brother and one sister... Plans to major in
psychology... Would like to get a master's degree as well... Hobbies
include football, working out, fishing and hunting.
Jacoby Thomas, LB, 6-2, 212, Fr., HS, Texarkana, Texas (Texas HS)
Was a four-year letterwinner at Texas HS... Played defensive end,
linebacker and tight end... Was an all-East Texas second-team selection
as a senior... Also earned all-district first team and all-area
honors... Was the all-area player of the year as well... Had 80
tackles, 10 sacks and an interception as a senior... Team was 9-2 on
the season... Recorded 74 tackles, eight sacks and an interception as a
junior... Son of Shenell Sharper... Has one brother... Plans to major
Jordan Webb, QB, 6-1, 205, Fr., HS, Union, Mo. (Union HS)
Is already on campus... A four-year letterwinner at Union HS... Played
quarterback... Was a two-time all-state first team selection... Ranked
as the 13th-best player in the St. Louis metro area by the St. Louis
Post Dispatch... As a sophomore he was all-state second team... As a
senior he threw for 3,100 yards and 31 touchdowns, while rushing for
1,024 yards and 24 touchdowns... Team was 11-1 advancing to the state
sectionals... As a junior he threw for 3,832 yards and 46 touchdowns...
Played basketball and earned all-conference honors as a sophomore...
Son of Stacy and Kevin Grus... Has three brothers... Would like to
coach football... Main hobby is fishing.
Quintin Woods, DE, 6-5, 230, Jr., JC, Flint, Mich. (Southwestern
Spent the last two seasons as a defensive end at Bakersfield CC...
Earned all-conference second team honors as a sophomore ... Recorded 80
tackles, including 14 tackles for loss with eight sacks as a
sophomore... Originally signed with Michigan out of high school... As a
high school senior he recorded 114 tackles with eight sacks, five pass
break ups and four fumble recoveries... He earned first-team all-league
honors as a prep senior.
Kevin Young, DE, 6-4, 235, Fr., HS, Olathe, Kan. (Olathe North HS)
Is already on campus... A three-year letterwinner at Olathe North HS...
Played tight end and defensive end... Was an all-state, all-league and
all-city selection... Team was 8-3 on the season and advanced to the
second round of the state playoffs... As a junior he recorded 80
tackles and 12 sacks while earning all-league second team honors...
Also played basketball... Was all-city and all-league... Son of
Michelle and Jason Young... Has two brothers... Would like to major in
Mangino "Very Comfortable" With 2009 Class
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