Everything Up For Grabs

Now that signing day is over, new head Kansas head coach Turner Gill and staff will begin the process of putting in a new system, with all starting spots up for grabs. More inside...

   Since arriving as the new football coach at Kansas, Turner Gill has offered some bold rhetoric, considering he inherited a seven-game losing streak.
   On signing day, the bold predictions continued.
   "We're going to win right now," Gill said. "I don't see a situation or a position where we evaluated and after looking at things we had to say, 'This position right here is a serious need. Let's go get a junior college guy.' That was not our thinking."
   So, the Jayhawks included just one junior college transfer among the 18 players they signed in a class ranked just 55th overall by Rivals.com and ninth in the Big 12.
   That doesn't sound like much of a quick fix after Mark Mangino was fired following a 5-7 finish and amid allegations the eight-year coach mistreated players. Kansas finished last in the North after it was expected to contend for the division title.
   "There's nobody who has a starting job at this point in time, whether they played for two years or three years here," Gill said. "We're going to evaluate every guy on this football team, and the best guys are going to play, whether he's a senior or a freshman."
   That approach gives the one junior college signee a chance to contribute immediately, and he just happens to be a quarterback.
   Quinn Mecham initially committed to the former staff after throwing for 3,091 yards and 40 touchdowns last season at Snow Community College. He will participate in spring drills and compete for a open berth at quarterback, where sophomore Kale Pick is the only returnee with any experience.
   Among the high school signees, Kansas gained two four-star recruits from Missouri. Wide receiver Keeston Terry of Blue Springs committed to the previous staff and is considered a potential breakout star. Meanwhile, running back Brandon Bourbon of Potosi switched to Kansas late after initially committing to Stanford.

   --Kansas released details pertaining to new coach Turner Gill's compensation. His $2 million annual salary is slightly less than the $2.3 million of former coach Mark Mangino, who signed a contract extension in the summer of 2008 but was fired in December following an investigation into mistreatment of players.
   --Among the coaches Turner Gill assembled for his staff is Reggie Mitchell, who left Illinois for his second tour of duty at Kansas. He originally coached for the Jayhawks under Glen Mason. "When we first got here in 1988, it was broken," Mitchell said of the situation Mason inherited. "If you look at the program now, I wouldn't say it's broken at all." Two years off an Orange Bowl appearance, the Jayhawks are more recognizable, according to Mitchell, who added that KU's facilities would rank among the best in the Big Ten.
   --RB Brandon Bourbon, Potosi, Mo. -- A four-star prospect (Rivals) who switched his commitment late after previously pledging to Stanford. Set the career rushing record for his high school with 5,551 yards, including a single-game record of 451 yards.
   --QB Quinn Mecham, Provo, Utah -- The only junior college transfer in the class, Mecham averaged 257 passing yards per game to rank fifth nationally. Pickup games weren't hard growing up. He has 12 siblings.
   --WR Keeston Terry, Blue Springs, Mo. -- Produced 900-yard seasons as a receiver as both a senior and junior. His father, Doug Terry, played for Kansas before moving on to a brief NFL career as a defensive back.
   QUOTE TO NOTE: "The brand is a little different than the time before. Then, there weren't a ton of people trying to get the KU job. This time there was, especially two years coming off the Orange Bowl." -- Kansas recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell.

   2010 LOOK AHEAD: With Turner Gill taking over as coach, expect an overhaul in philosophy and schemes. The former Buffalo coach wants to throw the ball, and may be in a good situation breaking in a new quarterback who is not accustomed to running the old system. RB Toben Opurum is a power back with promise. WR Bradley McDougald also showed star power as a freshman. Defensively, the Jayhawks will have to be re-tooled after losing their best player, SS Darrell Stuckey, off a unit that often gave up too many easy completions and snagged fewer interceptions than any Big 12 team.
   SPRING SNAPSHOT: Introducing a new system will be the main thrust for Gill. As with any new coach, virtually every position will be up for grabs -- and they should be after the Jayhawks lost their most experienced playmakers and also lost the last seven games of the 2009 season. Gill has promised a positive approach, a tactical move designed to reduce whatever fear the Jayhawks felt playing under coach Mark Mangino. Still, the toughness Mangino instilled in his eight years at Kansas cannot be lost. This is, after all, football.
   --SS Darrell Stuckey -- Tied for game-high honors with seven tackles for the West squad in the East-West Shrine Game. Stuckey was the Jayhawks' leading tackler with 93 stops in 2009.
   --WR Kerry Meier -- The record-setting receiver figures to be a good possession target in the NFL, especially if he capitalizes on his 6-4 frame. Meier is a versatile threat who started at quarterback for Kansas in 2006.
   --QB Todd Reesing -- Size is a major deterrent for the 5-10 Reesing, even though he rewrote virtually all the Kansas passing records as a three-year starter. When asked about his size at the next level while in camp for the East-West Shrine Game, Reesing said, "I'm tall enough to ride the rides over at Universal Studios."
   --OL Darius Parish was arrested in Johnson County (Kan.) on four charges in late December, with the most serious being one felony count of making a criminal threat. Parish redshirted as a sophomore offensive lineman after making the switch from playing on the defensive line as a true freshman.
   --DE Geneo Grissom was the most high-profile commitment to renege on Kansas following the hiring of coach Turner Gill. Grissom, who signed with Oklahoma, was rated as a three-star (Rivals.com) prospect out of Hutchinson, Kan. With the addition of Grissom, Oklahoma signed the top three prep prospects out of Kansas after also luring QB Blake Bell of Wichita and WR Justin McCay of Shawnee.
   --Among former Kansas assistants who worked under Mark Mangino, the coach who made the biggest move was Ed Warinner. He was named as offensive line coach at Notre Dame after previously coordinating the Kansas offense. None of Mangino's assistants were retained by Gill.

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