Mangum high on the Dawgs

One of the stars of the Scout Los Angeles Combine was Chandler (Arizona) LB Kurt Mangum, but even though he's been a standout everywhere he's played his high school ball few schools knew about him. That's begun to change recently and one of the programs starting to increase their attention on the hard-nosed middle linebacker is Washington.

"Coach (Kent) Baer and I talk a lot and he was going to come to my game last week the night before their game against Arizona State, but he couldn't make it," Mangum told shortly after practice on Tuesday night. "He's been talking to me a lot about getting my film and I just sent them my five-game highlight tape, along with a bunch of other schools, so they sound like they might be getting close to offering me, but nothing has come of it yet.

"From what I gathered, coach (Tyrone) Willingham really likes to take things slow with a recruit and get to know him and his family before he offers and that's kind of where we are right now.

"They've known about me for a while because they knew me when I was living up in Michigan and I played my first two years up there, but they just found me again this past summer and they've been pretty steady in their attention toward me."

Other schools who have been making contact recently are North Carolina, California, Wake Forest, Duke and Stanford among others.

"My teammate (Marc Anthony) has committed to Cal already and they said they like me a lot," Mangum said. "Both Cal and North Carolina have been heating up. Stanford has asked for my transcripts so they seem like they might be getting close too."

Mangum's father, also Kurt, was moved by his company to Arizona after the younger Mangum's sophomore year of high school (2005) so after playing two years at powerhouse St. Mary's Prep in Orchard Lake, Michigan he headed to Hamilton and played defensive end as a junior.

Now at Chandler, Mangum has blossomed as the middle linebacker of one of the top high school programs in the Grand Canyon State posting 90 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in seven games.

"I think I've taken to the middle pretty well," Mangum said understatedly. "I'm second in the state in tackles and first in the Sierra Region which is the top region in our state. I lead that by something like 20 tackles.

"I like playing in the middle because you're in the middle of everything and you just have to make plays, read your keys and then hit people. I love the contact, but I like to dish out the contact."

Seeing as he didn't arrive at Chandler until this summer, was Mangum surprised by his ability to take over the leadership role of the defense?

"Well, me and Marc are the two captains, but the corners don't come into the huddle so his leadership really can't be felt with the front seven," Mangum said. "He's a great leader, but my front guys look to me to make the calls and make the plays up near the line and basically since the third day I got here, I just sort of took things over because I have the confidence of my teammates and in myself."

Mangum's physical stats are impressive. He's already a solid 6-1, 225 and he ran a 4.59 forty time at the Los Angeles combine and was voted the MVP of the linebackers – a unit that also included USC-bound Maurice Simmons – for his efforts down there.

Mangum said he expects to take all his visits before he makes any kind of a decision and that Washington has talked about him visiting early in December.

We'll have more in the very near future as Mangum's status begins to increase.

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