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 LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -While leading Kansas to a 10-0 record and putting the surprising Jayhawks in the national championship race, Todd Reesing has set 14 school records. He's created a football buzz unfelt at this traditional basketball powerhouse in nearly 40 years.
What a shame he's too short to play quarterback.
That is, to their chagrin, the mistaken judgment just about every coach at every major college in the country must now admit.
Growing up just 30 minutes from the University of Texas campus, Reesing dreamed of playing for the Longhorns. The problem was, everybody thought, he quit growing too soon.
Now listed, perhaps generously, at 5-foot-10, he was judged too short even though his senior season at Lake Travis High School he threw for 3,340 yards and 41 touchdowns.
So Texas wrote him off. Apparently, every other major college program did, too.
Undeterred, a determined Reesing made a video of himself and mailed it off ``to a lot of people.''
Kansas' Mark Mangino took a look and liked what he saw, and now Kansas is 10-0 for the first time since 1899.
The Jayhawks are ranked No. 4 in The Associated Press poll and No. 3 in the BCS. If they beat Iowa State and No. 6 Missouri the next two weeks, they'll be in the Big 12 title game for the first time.
Win out, and the team with the quarterback who's too short could find itself in the BCS national championship game after being picked fourth in the Big 12 North.
``I never thought I was too small to play. It's never been an issue with myself,'' Reesing said.
``I've always had confidence in myself and knew if there was something I wanted to do and I worked hard, I'd be able to do it. Just because someone else thought I was too small never dented my confidence.''
With quick hands, quick feet and a quick mind, Reesing has shattered school records by throwing for 26 touchdowns on the season and six in one game.
Altogether, he's 207 for 334 for 2,657 yards. He doesn't have to worry about seeing over tall linemen because he's able to throw on the run, going both left and right. He's been intercepted only four times, and two of those came when the ball bounced off the receiver.
``He wasn't ever the tallest guy on his team, I doubt,'' offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. ``He learned how to play football and how to find windows to see through and anticipate things. He showed in high school he has the ability to play above his height.''
Mangino remembers the Todd Reesing tape the way film critics recall every detail of ``Gone with the Wind.''
``We said, `Holy cow, this guy is making plays all over the place,''' Mangino recalled.
Then Reesing showed up for his campus visit and ``holy cow'' turned to ``oh, no.''
``He came in and he was really small. He was really small,'' Mangino said.
But when the skeptical coach and the earnest young man began to talk, ``holy cow'' made a comeback.
``What convinced me was that he looked me in the eye, he was intelligent and he was a very confident guy. He had a little bounce to him. I remember going down the hallway when he was out taking a tour of the campus and the coaches said, `What do you think?' I said, `He's small, but I still like him.'''
Players took an instant liking to the handsome blond kid.
``You could tell the first time he got on the field as a freshman that here was someone special,'' senior tight end Derek Fine said. ``He just had a confidence about himself.''
Confidence is one of the things that makes Reesing special.
``It's like he says without saying it out loud, `If you get open, I can get you the ball. If you do what you're supposed to do, I'll do what I'm supposed to do, and we'll get `er done,''' Warinner said.
Intelligence is another big part of Reesing's game. He graduated in the top one percent of his high school class and was accepted into Kansas' honors program as a freshman.
``I think it has a huge impact on the way he plays because he understands things,'' Mangino said. ``He grasps concepts. He just has a good feel for what's going on after he has a chance to look at it and study it.''
Now for four years, opposing coaches are going to be studying Reesing. At least one - Texas' Mack Brown - is big enough to admit his error in judgment.
``Anybody who didn't recruit him, including us,'' Brown said recently, ``made a mistake.''
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