Ready to leave his (Maker's) Mark

For many high profile recruits, the moment they finally sign their National Letter of Intent brings with it a certain sense of relief.

That's because recruits are big news these days. In addition to the hundreds of letters, phone calls and text messages they receive from coaches vying for their commitment, the media requests grow by the year.

But for Brandon Bourbon, one of the nation's top running backs, that moment of relief didn't come when he signed his letter of intent early Wednesday morning. It came a few days before, when he had to make one of the toughest phone calls of his young life.

"My big relief was when I called and decommitted from Stanford," the three-star prospect from Potosi, Mo. said. "That was the hardest thing."

After that, the rest was smooth sailing.

Bourbon is perhaps the most high-profile member of the 2010 Kansas Jayhawks recruiting class. Blessed with a rare combination of size and speed, he boasted offers from the likes of Stanford, Notre Dame, Missouri and BYU, in addition to Kansas.

Though he originally committed to Stanford in August and planned on signing with the Cardinal, things began to change when new Jayhawks running backs coach Reggie Mitchell landed in Lawrence a few weeks ago – beginning a process than ended with Bourbon's switch to the Jayhawks last week.

"As soon as he got there he called me up and told me about how our relationship was gonna be," Bourbon said. "And we've talked every day since then. Now, we're pretty tight."

Bourbon hit it off immediately with the Kansas coaching staff, and he liked the Kansas program's close proximity to home. And when he took his official visit Jan. 22, he found he meshed well with player host Kale Pick and the rest of his future teammates.

Of course, the possibility of early playing time is attractive as well. Where as some other programs recruited him as an athlete or possible defender, he said the Jayhawks have him pegged as a running back all the way.

"He makes plays when it looks like there is nothing happening," said Kansas head coach Turner Gill at his Wednesday press conference. "He does make things happen when that occurs. I just call him a phenomenal running back who can do some great things for us."

Though he is understandably excited about his future as a Jayhawk, for now Bourbon is simply focusing on getting healthy. A rib injury suffered during his junior season of track at Potosi R3 High School slowly turned into a nagging lower back issue.

 The injury didn't stop him from impressing at summer camps and combines or playing out his senior season, but Bourbon is grateful for the chance to heal – without missing a workout, of course.

"I'm just trying to take it easy and not go real heavy on the squat rack," he said. "I'm just kind of starting light and working my way up." Top Stories