Quotes from Head Coach Mark Mangino

Feb. 1, 2006

Head Coach Mark Mangino

Opening statement:
“Good afternoon. I’m pleased to announce the signing of 21 high school football players today. We feel like it’s a good class for us. For the most part, we met our needs at all of the offensive and defensive positions. We went out to recruit some quarterbacks because we’re thin in that area, and I think we did very well with that. We also signed three fine tailbacks. We continued on our quest to find speedy, tough defensive players. We were able to accomplish that. We also needed to get some offensive linemen in here — some kids we could develop. Overall, I’m very pleased with the people that we signed. It is my feeling as a coach that you have to develop these kids out on the field. You really don’t know how good your class is until they get out onto the field in the Big 12. Collectively, the coaching staff and I agree that this is a class that really meets our needs. I thought our assistant coaches did an outstanding job in evaluating and getting the right kind of kids in front of me.”

“We’re pretty balanced with our signings. Eleven defensive players and 10 offensive players make up the class. We recruited not only locally and regionally, but around the country. We landed four players from the state of Kansas, 10 from Texas, three from California, two from Florida, two from Missouri and one from Colorado. We reached out far and wide in recruiting. As coaches, we’re anxious to work with these kids and develop them. We feel like we helped our program immensely today with these signings.”

On his recruiting philosophy:
“Each and every year we learn more and more about our program. Our recruiting has always been very good. I think we took some extra precautions to make sure these kids were of character. Character is an important factor in the signing of our signing players. I think our staff did an outstanding job of finding out who all the principals were, all the people who would be influencing the kids. We have added some new coaches to the staff that have really added to the tenacious style of recruiting that we do. I think those are the factors as to why we didn’t have any defections.”

If playing in the Fort Worth Bowl helped recruiting in Texas:
“I would say it didn’t hurt any. We have recruited Texas pretty aggressively since we’ve been here. I certainly don’t think it hurt us to be down there and playing well with a lot of kids watching on TV. One of the reasons why the Fort Worth Bowl was attractive to us as coaches was because we know we spend a lot of time in the Metroplex recruiting. I don’t think it hurt us one bit. If anything, it did help us. If you look at our recruiting over the years, we’ve been fairly consistent.”

On recruiting Kansas City-area players:
“When we talk in recruiting meetings and we discuss in-state recruiting, Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., are considered the state of Kansas. That’s the way we look at it, and that’s primary recruiting territory for us. We’ve been able to get some good players out of there in the past, and we’re very happy about the kids we got out of there this year.”

On recruiting the state of Kansas:
“Recruiting in the state of Kansas is about the same every year. There may be some years where there are six or seven bonafide players, and that’s a big year. This year we thought that there were probably two or three guys that would fit in our program and could play at the Big 12 level. We actively recruited those kids, and we got them. There have been very few years since I’ve been in the conference that there have been 10 to 12 Division I players that we thought needed to be recruited.”

On running back Jake Sharp:
“He stacks up well. He’s speedy, tough and has breakaway speed. His first steps on the field will probably be on special teams. I think he’s a quality kid. The thing I like the most about him is that he is a tough customer. That guy is fearless. He is a hardnosed, tough kid, and we’ll always have room for those guys here.”

On quarterback Todd Reesing:
“I’m not a big fan of high school kids coming out early. I have never encouraged a prospect to do that. I think the senior prom and all those other things that come with being a senior are important, and you’re only a senior once in high school. He’s ready for the jump in a lot of ways — intellectually and emotionally. Here’s a kid with a 4.5 weighted GPA. As soon as he came on campus, our academic staff took him over to the honors school. He’s a fearless competitor and very intelligent. He’s one of the few guys that is completely ready to make that jump. We are excited to have him in spring ball. Our quarterback numbers are low, so he’ll get repetitions. He’s a guy that can throw from the pocket but is also very quick and can avoid the rush. He can put the ball under his arm. He’s not a real tall guy, so there’s been some talk as to whether or not he can throw over the defensive line, but I think if you watch tape of him you’ll be able to see that he has that keen ability, not unlike Bill Whittemore, to be able to find the throwing lane. He put up tremendous numbers at Lake Travis High School. He really is a heck of a guy. I’m not concerned at all that he’s not 6-3 or 6-4. Some of the best quarterbacks that I’ve been around have been rather vertically challenged.”

On quarterback Tyler Lawrence:
“Tyler is another intelligent young man. He came here to our summer camp and just tore it up. We like him a lot. He’s smart, competitive and athletic. We’re really pleased to have Tyler, and he’s right here in our backyard. It was a good catch for us. To play quarterback in our system here at KU, you have to be able to think. You have to be able to see things and recognize them and do what you’re taught to do in those situations. These two young guys will have no problem at all running our system.”

On recruiting Rockhurst (Mo.) High School:
“I have been tapping Rockhurst High School since the old Big Eight Conference. I always stopped in there as an assistant coach or even as head coach. I make sure when it is allowable by rules that I stop in the school. I have great respect for the program, their coach and what he does developing players. He does at Rockhurst what we do here — he develops players and makes them better. We had a great experience with Kevin Kane, and there is no reason to believe we won’t have a good experience with Sal Capra and Phil Strozier. I have spent a lot of years recruiting there. They trust us, they trust me and I trust them.”

On the junior college cornerbacks:
“Both players that signed early with us are in the program. They are making the adjustment now to the standards that we have in our program in terms of competing, work ethic and the out-of-season program. They are adjusting really well. Both have told me it is a little different from junior college, which we expected. They just need to get stronger, and work hard in the out-of-season program because we expect both of those young guys to be out there competing for a starting spot.”

On defensive backs Anthony Webb and Phillip Strozier:
“(Webb) is a young man that committed to us a long time ago. He took an interest in our program early on. He has really good hips, quick feet and great change of direction that you need. He has a lot of fight and competitive spirit in him. Strozier is the same way. He is a guy who is really physically put together. He has good feet and good hips. He has that good burst that you like, and he is very athletic. For a high school player, he is really physically developed. He is a powerful and strong kid, and we really like his attitude. He is a `can do’ type of guy. Every time you talk to him on the phone, he is very positive and very upbeat. As soon as he made his decision to come to KU, there was absolutely no wavering at all.”

On whether the incoming freshman cornerbacks can come in and start:
“We graduated three cornerbacks. We are not selling any of those kids short. We told them that nobody has a job that is penciled in stone opposite of Aqib Talib.”

On linebacker Sal Capra:
“Sal Capra is a very intelligent young man. Our linebacker reads are very precise. You have to get down hill, you have to understand pursuit angles, you have to understand your gap, who is going to block you and which shoulder to take it on with. Plus, you have to know all of the coverages. Being an intelligent guy helps him. He is similar to Kevin Kane in that respect. He is bigger and thicker than Kevin coming out of high school. Sal is a young man that is talented, and we are glad to have him.”

On wide receiver Tertavian Ingram:
“He has some size to him, which you like receivers nowadays to have because the corners and safeties that line up against them have size. He is a really gifted athlete, and he runs good routes. What he does is catch the ball and get yards after the catch as well. He is another really smart young man. I was really impressed with his focus. He knows what he wants in college and what he wants to achieve. He really has goals set for himself, but he is a gifted athlete and will have a chance to have a great career here.”

On how this recruiting class compares to his past classes:
“Just like everything else in our program is improving each year, so is the recruiting. But I don’t want to get into this thing where every year I come out here to make this announcement that this is our best recruiting class. We would hope that everybody understands that we are working on the assumption that just like we are improving in all areas in our program, this is another facet we are improving upon.”

On how recruiting has improved:
“It has been a very slow process. When I first got here, we were able to get into some kid’s homes, other kids and families just shut us out. Then, after the first year, we didn’t have a great year, and it was kind of the same thing. The third year, we had a decent season and people started to recognize that we are getting better. A year ago, we didn’t have a winning record, but people were able to see the progress of the program and that we could compete with anybody in the conference. This year it even got better because we had a winning season, played well in our bowl game and beat some good football teams. The national publicity helps the program too. That’s what helps us outside of Kansas. People are recognizing that our program is making strides and getting better and better.”