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Mangino's recruiting class ranked 33rd nationally

Mark Mangino

After only two wins in his initial season as KU's head football coach, Mark Mangino signed 26 players on Feb. 5. Of the 26 signees, 14 are junior-college transfers.

"We felt like we needed some junior-college talent, and we were successful in that area," Mangino said.

Nine junior-college newcomers are defensive players, in keeping with one of Mangino's key priorities: bolster KU's defense. The Jayhawks surrendered 42.2 points per game in the 2002 season.

"We feel with the young men that we brought in on defense, coupled with the kids that we have here in the program, we've got a chance to build our defense and be able to stop some people," Mangino said.

The most highly touted transfers are Iowa Central linebacker Gabe Toomey (6-4, 235 pounds) and Arizona Western College defensive end Monroe Weekley (6-4, 256).

Jon Kirby of rivals.com said KU's junior-college class might be the best in the country.

Rivals 100.com ranked the incoming class for the Jayhawks 33rd nationally.

Among high school players signed, running back John Randle highlights the list. Randle, an all-state player from Wichita Southeast, chose the Jayhawks over Colorado, Michigan St., Missouri and Kansas State.

"We don't take anybody from anybody," Mangino said when asked about Randle's choice of KU over rival Kansas State. "Recruiting is recruiting. It was hard work, just like it is every other kid. There's no attacking any opponents. We don't do that. We think we have a pretty good thing to sell here."

Randle played defensive back and running back while at Wichita Southeast but came to KU to be a running back.

"He told us that his true love was playing running back," Mangino said, "and that's what we're going to have him do."

Randle is excited to be a Jayhawk and thinks that a winning KU football program is on the horizon.

"I know they're not the best right now," he said, "but I have faith they're going to come up and win some games. I want to be a part of that."

Read more about the 2003 Kansas Football signees

More quotes from the recruits

2003 UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

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