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Know Your KU History: Charles Gordon

Today we take a closer look at one of the more versatile players in recent KU football history.

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What position was Charles Gordon supposed to play for the Kansas Jayhawks? No one could seem to make up their mind on that topic, and Gordon bounced around from position to position, evidently based on the need of coach Mark Mangino.

The Santa Monica, California product was recruited to Kansas as a wide receiver and played his freshman year of 2003 in that position. He excelled in that position for the Tangerine Bowl bound Jayhawks and finished the season with 57 catches for 769 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to get Gordon onto the third team All-Big 12 squad as well as the first team All-American freshman team. His future as a big time wide receiver looked bright

But that 2003 season also saw Gordon play some cornerback on the defensive side of the ball, and by the end of the season, he was starting. Despite the great numbers he put up as a wide receiver, the coaching staff made the change permanent and Gordon became a stalwart in the Kansas secondary.

He was still used sparingly as a receiver in 2004 (15 catches for 150 yards and two TD’s) but he became prolific on defense. That season, Gordon led the country in interceptions with seven and was named first team All-Big 12 and third team All-American. Gordon was a star on the rise, but again, the Kansas coaching staff had other plans in mind.

His junior year- his final season at Kansas- saw Gordon split time between wide receiver and cornerback. Charles caught 34 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns on the offensive side of the football while picking off two passes as a cornerback for the 2005 Fort Worth Bowl Champion Jayhawks.

Let’s not forget that while playing important roles on both sides of the ball for Kansas, Gordon was also a special teams star. Over his three year KU career, Gordon returned 96 punts for 999 yards. He was a first team All-Big 12 selection as a punt returner in 2005. For the record, he also garnered second team all-conference honors on defense and was an honorable mention selection for his exploits at wide receiver.

Gordon skipped his final year at Kansas in order to get drafted into the NFL. While he was never drafted, Gordon latched on with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 as an unrestricted free agent. He played three years in the NFL for Minnesota before an injury ended his career in late 2008. Over his 33 games in the NFL, Gordon snatched two interceptions and forced one fumble.

Today, Charles Gordon is the secondary coach at the University of Northern Colorado under his former coach, the 2003-06 KU cornerback and special teams coach, Earnest Collins.