Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Kansas recruiting needs

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No team has capitalized more on hidden recruiting gems than Kansas, which has utilized that development of sleepers to notch back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in school history.

The Jayhawks are a fashionable challenger to contend for their first undisputed North championship, but coach Mark Mangino has some personnel holes to fill that can be addressed during recruiting.

Their biggest personnel need is at linebacker where starters James Holt, Joe Mortensen and Mike Rivera all completed their college careers last season. Dakota Lewis, Drew Dudley and Arist Wright are penciled in as the likely starters, but Kansas desperately needs depth at the position.

After losing starting guards Adrian Mayes and Chet Hartley and starting center Ryan Cantrell to graduation, the Jayhawks will have to rebuild the middle of their offensive line. They also need to develop depth at quarterback, where both Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier will be seniors next season and at running back, where top rushing threats Jake Sharp, Jocques Crawford and Angus Quigley all will be seniors in 2009.

The Jayhawks turned their secondary around with the insertion of sophomore Phillip Strozier at free safety and freshman Daymond Patterson at right cornerback. But more players are needed as starting left corner Justin Thornton and strong safety Darrell Stuckey both will be seniors next season.

The immediate personnel needs aren't that severe outside of linebacker and running back. But if the Jayhawks can develop depth at those positions, it could likely determine whether they have a legitimate chance to challenge for their first undisputed North title.