Mangino "Very Comfortable" With 2009 Class

University of Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino wouldn't say his 2009 recruiting class was his best ever at KU, but he went about as far as he ever will in praising this incoming group.

"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, he said.

"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 music.

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 business.

Christian Matthews, QB, 6-2, 194, Fr., HS, Arlington, Texas (James Bowie HS)
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 HS)
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 HS/Tyler JC)
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 HS/Blinn CC)
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 in business.

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 Academy/Bakersfield CC)
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 sports management.

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