Kansas Football Players To Report For Camp Thursday

Aug. 4, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino will welcome 105 players when the Jayhawks report for fall training camp on Thursday.

The players will complete physicals, receive equipment and attend meetings on their first day. The team will hold its first practice on Friday.

Jayhawk fans will have an opportunity to see this season’s team in action during camp when open practices are held on August 11 at 9 a.m. and on Fan Appreciation Day on August 26.

Kansas returns 41 lettermen, including 17 starters from last season’s Insight Bowl Championship team. The 2008 Jayhawks posted an 8-5 record, including a 4-4 mark in Big 12 Conference play.

Among the returnees are 2008 All-Big 12 selections safety Darrell Stuckey (first team), wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe (second team), and honorable mention picks defensive tackle Caleb Blakesley, defensive end Jake Laptad, wide receiver Kerry Meier and running back Jake Sharp.

Quarterback Todd Reesing returns for his senior campaign already holding a number of school career passing records, including yards (7,578), completion percentage (64.2) and touchdown passes (68). In 2008 he threw for a single-season school-record 3,888 yards and ranked seventh in the country.

Reesing’s top four targets from last year all return for 2009. Meier caught a school-record 97 passes for 1,045 yards and eight touchdowns, while Briscoe pulled in 92 balls for a school mark 1,407 yards and another school record 15 touchdowns.

Johnathan Wilson, the team’s third-leading receiver, pulled in 43 passes for 573 yards and three touchdowns. Sharp caught 25 passes for 283 yards while leading the team in rushing with 860 yards and 12 touchdowns on 186 carries.

Up front two starters return in sophomores Jeremiah Hatch and Jeff Spikes. As tackles last season, both players earned some freshman All-America honors. This year Hatch has been moved to center, while Spikes will man the right tackle spot again this year.

Defensively, Stuckey anchors a unit which returns seven starters. The All-Big 12 safety registered 98 tackles and five interceptions a year ago. The secondary is experienced and talented with the return of Justin Thornton, Chris Harris, Phillip Strozier and Daymond Patterson among others.

The defensive line appears solid with the return of Blakesley, Richard Johnson and Jamal Green inside and Laptad and Maxwell Onyegbule on the ends.

The linebacking corp will be an area of interest as practice begins as the Jayhawks need to replace all three starters from this unit. Senior Arist Wright had 33 tackles, Justin Springer 15 and Drew Dudley 12, in backup roles a year ago.

The Jayhawks return both placekicker Jacob Branstetter and punter Alonso Rojas, as well as fourth-year long snapper Kayl Anderson. The return game could feature Briscoe, Stuckey and Daymond Patterson.

Mangino enters his eighth season at the helm, which will tie for the third-longest tenure of any Jayhawk coach behind nine seasons by Jack Mitchell (1958-66) and Glen Mason (1988-96) and tied with Don Fambrough (1971-74, 79-82).

Mangino’s 45 victories through seven seasons trail only A.R. Kennedy (52 from 1904-10) and Mason (47) on the KU victory list. Mangino, the 2007 consensus national coach of the year, has guided KU to consecutive bowl seasons for the first time in school history.

Kansas will open the 2009 season hosting Northern Colorado on Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. Ticket information is available at www.kuathletics.com.