Jayhawk Football Signing Day Press Conference Quotes

Feb. 2, 2005

Quotes From Kansas Coach Mark Mangino
Opening Statement:

“Good afternoon. It is a pleasure for me to introduce our recruiting class for 2005. To this point, we have signed 25 players to a national letter of intent. We are very pleased with this recruiting class. With this recruiting class, we have helped ourselves in many areas. However, I always throw the disclaimer in there that you never know what you have until you put them on a Big 12 field. We will keep that in mind.

But, based on our evaluations, and by studying the backgrounds of these players, we believe each and every one of them have an opportunity to help us during their careers. We made offensive and defensive line a high priority for us, and we feel good that we reached the goals we set in those areas. We were able to land some help on the junior college level on the offensive and defensive lines — as well with some quality high school players. It is an area that we need to strengthen and gain some depth in our program.

We were also very pleased to be able to land the number one quarterback on our board. We put him at No. 1 back in February of last year, and seldom does that happen. We were able to land Kerry Meier, who we had targeted from day one. He is going to be a Jayhawk, and we are very pleased about that.

We also wanted to help our overall speed and athleticism on our skill positions on both sides of the ball, and we attained that goal for the most part. We are pretty happy about the speed we were able to recruit at linebacker. We feel we accomplished that with the addition of Eric Washington, Jake Schermer, and Arist Wright who all run very well. They all possess very good speed. In fact, two of them run with the speed that you would like at safety. We need to add some speed to our linebacking corps, not only to help with this year, but with the future.

We recruited well in the state of Kansas. Every player that we targeted in the state of Kansas as a high school player we were able to sign. We feel very good about that. We also feel very good about the junior college help we brought in. We are very pleased that we were able to bring in all but one of our junior college players in at semester. That will be a big help to those kids. They are in the program, they are taking classes now, and they are in our winter conditioning program. They are learning their way around campus and learning how our program operates. The only junior college player that is not here now is Rodney Allen who is an extremely talented player at defensive end from Garden City Community College. We look for him to be an impact guy on our defensive front.

These young men have something in common. After they committed to the University of Kansas, they kept their word. They didn’t visit anywhere else. They didn’t commit anywhere else. Every single one of them — when they gave their word — they kept it. That makes me feel that we have done a good job finding kids with character and some resolve. Some of these young men, after they committed to us, were very aggressively recruited. Some intensely recruited, and some had to deal with community pressure. They stood up, and they believed that their visit to Kansas was something they enjoyed. They liked our program. They liked our academics. They like the people who are going to work with them, not only as coaches, but as support staff and administration. They made a firm decision and stuck by it. I think that we are doing a great job of recruiting players with character, which I think is extremely important.

Overall, I believe, on paper to date, this is the best class that we have brought in from top to bottom. When you look at the overall athleticism, speed, the offensive and defensive lineman, I know that it is the best recruiting class since we have been here at KU. The only area, and we are still looking because we believe we will have a scholarship available, is cornerback. We are still in the process of talking to some corners. We always like to hold a scholarship or two to make sure that if we run into something in the winter or spring, that we have a scholarship.

Overall, it is a strong class. It is a very good academic class, with a lot of very talented players.”

On signing a large number of offensive and defensive lineman:
“We need them. We need to add some physical play to our offensive line. We need some depth. We hardly had any rotation guys last year. We played the whole game with basically five guys. In the Big 12, you have to be able to rotate some guys so you will be able to sub out in the fourth quarter. On the defensive line, it’s the same thing. We have quality players in our program and we are adding quality players. We will have the depth that you need to win in the fourth quarter.”

On Kerry Meier:
“It is pretty obvious when you watch tape of him that he has great presence. He can throw the ball. He has great feet and he has tremendous leadership qualities. He has everything that I am looking for in a quarterback. I could not find any negatives with him. And that is hard to say, because every quarterback has strengths and weaknesses. We feel that he has the potential to be an excellent passer and an excellent leader. He can run the option and do the things that we like to do with our quarterbacks. I know that he is of good stock. I have been involved with his brother and know the kind of player that he was, and I am very pleased to have the guy. I think he is going to be really good.”

“We talked to his family. They enjoy their relationship with (Kansas State). They felt as a family that Kerry wanted to carve his own path, and he liked what we had to offer. He liked KU. He told us at the beginning that he really liked us but wasn’t in a position to make a decision until after the season. He had a lot of suiters. He likes our offense. I think he likes our coaching staff and he is still not very far from home. They never indicated anything other to me than that Kerry wanted to be a Jayhawk and we are glad that he is.”

On the possibility of redshirting players:
“I think we are being premature to talk about that. You know how we operate here, every true freshman player that comes in here at any position, if you are the best player at your position you play. They will have a chance to compete. We are going to expect those offensive lineman to be competing for a job. On the defensive side, we brought Wayne Wilder in and Rodney Allen is going to be an impact guy. We have some high school kids that we will see how they develop between now and August. You take the athleticism of Darrell Stuckey and James Holt, those guys are really athletic. Can they make an impact? That will depend on what happens now and next fall.”

On players changing their commitments:
“I think that is is progressively getting worse, year after year. I want to give credit to our coaching staff, because they understand and I understand that no matter how many commitments you have, you have to keep recruiting. Everybody is going to lose some guys, you just have to have a list at every position where you have a guy who is ready to go. I’ll put it like this, decommitting, is really trendy right now, so we are prepared. It is a hazard that comes with college football recruiting, its going to be there for a long time.”

On the wide receivers of the class:
Murph is here and he is smooth. He has really good feet and is what you would call a dependable guy. If you throw the ball near him, he is going to catch it and secure it. Pendleton is a speedy guy, who we had a bunch of competition for. He liked us and our offense and he feels like he has a chance to come in and make an impact early. His dad was an NFL player for the Dolphins, so he comes from good genes and he is going to be a very good player for us.”

On Angus Quigley:
“He is a very explosive guy, who has done a really good job the last few months in the classroom to put himself in a position we he can succeed on and off the field.”

On Darrell Stuckey:
“I am really happy about the opportunity to get Darrell Stuckey. I think he is one of the most athletic kids that we have recruited. He is as solid as a rock. the guy does everything the right way. He has a great work ethic.”

On a “sleeper” of the class:
“I’m never very good at picking those guys out on the signing date. But as a sleeper, I would say Caleb Blakesley. He is a much bigger and stronger player than people thought. He is a specimen. If he is healthy, which we believe he will be after his knee injury, he could be a guy who could get some playing time maybe as early as this year. We will not put that kind of pressure on him, because all of our freshman have to prove themselves. He is no different.”