Monday, August 31, 2009
Mangino praises freshmen Opurum, McDonald
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Freshman running back Toben Opurum and freshman wide receiver Bradley McDougald have both cracked the Kansas two-deep roster after their first training camp.
Kansas coach Mark Mangino expects big contributions from both Opurum and McDougald when the Jayhawks start their season Saturday night against Northern Colorado.
Opurum, a bruising 235-pounder, is listed as a co-No. 2 back behind starter Jake Sharp along Rell Lewis. He has been favorably compared to former Kansas running back Brandon McAnderson because of his tough inside running ability.
"Toben is coming along," Mangino said. "He's a big, strong kid who runs really well. He has a lot to learn, but he's very talented, and he is a guy that I think, as we go along, is going to get better and better every week as he gets comfortable with what we're doing and realizes that things are a little faster-paced here than they are in high school. He has had a really good training camp."
And McDougald, a 6-foot-2, 195-pounder, is listed as backup at a wide receiver slot behind Kerry Meier. The native of Dublin, Ohio, was a late addition to the Jayhawks' recruiting class after mainly working as a running back last season in high school. He produced only eight receptions for 135 yards last season after working mainly as a running back, defensive back and kick returner.
But Mangino has been pleased with his learning of Kansas' offense and believes he will be an immediate target in the Jayhawks' passing game.
"Bradley McDougald has done very well in training camp," Mangino said. "He is a very talented young man -- kind of a mature guy for his age. He has very good football aptitude. He understands what we're trying to do and how we're trying to do it and how we're trying to do it against various defensive looks that he gets. He will be in the mix in the rotation and will play a significant amount for us this season."
It's interesting that both running back and wide receiver were thought to be talented positions for the Jayhawks coming into the season before the freshmen arrived. The addition of the contributions from both of them should only boost both positions.