🎙 The Jayhawker Podcast | Todd Reesing

Episode 36: Todd Reesing | September 17, 2020

He’s the most prolific passer in KU football history. He helped engineer the greatest two-year stretch the program has ever seen. Todd Reesing is as legendary as it gets when it comes to Kansas Football. While most Jayhawk fans are well aware of what Reesing accomplished along the way to the KU Ring of Honor, you might not know what sold him on Kansas in the first place.

This week on The Jayhawker podcast we chronicle Reesing’s entire Jayhawk career from his initial commitment to being immortalized in the Kansas record books.

Reesing’s first ever encounter with Coach Mark Mangino ended in a scholarship offer for the reigning Texas 4A Player of the Year. Following his junior season at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Reesing and his family decided to visit Lawrence and check out the Kansas football facilities while driving up to the Sunflower State for a Kansas State football camp. As a sub-six-feet-tall quarterback, Reesing was being overlooked by most of the local schools in his home state. Kansas State had been his first major conference offer, but Reesing also sent his film to the Jayhawks and receivers coach Tim Beck asked Todd and his family to check out both Kansas schools on their trip north.

“We went right into Coach Mangino’s office and started talking to him,” recalled Reesing. “Within 15 minutes, he said, ‘I watched your tape this morning, I’ve seen all I need to see. We want to offer you a scholarship.’”

The coach’s assertive approach and confidence in Reesing really scored major points with Todd.

“Whereas, every other school I’d be talking to said, ‘Well, we’d like to see you throw in person’ or ‘You’re on our ‘B-list’ of quarterbacks’ – which is what the Texas A&M coach told me. But Coach Mangino, as soon as he saw the tape, the first time I meet him, he goes, ‘I don’t care how tall you are. You have that X-factor. I’d like you to come play quarterback for us.’”

The fact that Mangino saw something special in Reesing and wasn’t deterred by his height convinced Reesing that Kansas was where he belonged.

“Having that confidence instilled in you right away that he didn’t care about the height or anything else, he just thought that I could play football – I think that’s what really sold me on Kansas,” described Reesing. “It was really Coach Mangino from that very first second having the belief that I could play (that convinced me to be a Jayhawk).”

Reesing committed soon after and then turned in another impressive season at Lake Travis before arriving at KU in the spring of 2006. Though he didn’t measure up physically with his primary competition for the quarterback job – 4-star QB recruit Kerry Meier, then a redshirt freshman – Reesing was determined to prove he belonged.

“My first winter workout in the offseason was at the indoor track on campus,” remembered Reesing. “We’re doing 200-yard sprints around the indoor track but we’re staggered in four different groups. In just 200 yards, after we’ve run a few of these, I get passed by someone from the group behind me with these long, flowing golden locks (of hair). And he’s just looking like a thoroughbred cruising past me and I’m thinking, ‘This is the guy I gotta compete with?’

So my prospects early on at Kansas of winning the starting job when you’ve got Kerry Meier who is the golden boy that everyone called “Franchise”, a year ahead of me, didn’t inspire a lot of early confidence.”

Reesing would soon start gaining the confidence of his teammates and coaches though and when a Meier injury mid-season and a lackluster first half by the KU offense versus Colorado opened the door, Reesing came charging through. The freshman jumped at the chance to play, having no reservations about lifting his redshirt 9 games into the season. What ensued was a second half comeback victory that helped propel KU to a 6-6 season, earned Reesing the nickname “Sparky” from his Coach, and set him on path to KU Football greatness no Jayhawk quarterback had ever seen.

Come along for the rest of the ride on this week’s edition of “The Jayhawker Podcast.”