MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State University Wildcats huddles with teammates after a 28 - 24 win against the Miami Hurricanes September 24, 2011 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
With the recent news that Manase Foketi will not be returning to the Kansas State football program it has once again brought up the question of who will be starting in 2012.
We are still months away from the beginning of the 2012 college football season but at Kansas State the concern over the offensive line has increased in the past week. A report came out recently by Kellis Robinett that indicates former starting tackle Manase Foketi is seeking a transfer and in all likelihood will never play another down for the Wildcats.
The offensive line was already a question mark for Wildcat fans as Bill Snyder is tasked with trying to replace three starters off of last year's squad due to graduation. The only positions that appear to be locked down heading into the season are left guard with senior Nick Puetz and at center with sophomore B.J. Finney.
A best case scenario would have been a fully healthy and committed Foketi stepping back into a starting role to help fortify the o-line. Now with Foketi seemingly out of the mix trying to figure out who will be stepping out on the field on September 1st against Missouri State becomes even more of a mystery than it already was.
There is now a decent chance that the majority of the lineman in front of senior quarterback Collin Klein could be underclassmen with two of them being redshirt freshman.
Leaving spring practice the starter at right guard was redshirt freshman Boston Stiverson. He had beat out Keenan Taylor, a redshirt junior, who was the starting left guard when the Wildcats left spring practice in 2011. Two additional underclassmen who figure to also be in the mix for the open spot are redshirt sophomores Tomasi Mariner and Drew Liddle.
It is possible that redshirt freshman Cody Whitelair could transition from tackle over to guard if incoming junior college recruits Tavon Rooks and Elwood Clement can overtake him on the depth chart. It is impossible to know at this point in time which side of the line Snyder will try to play the two new juco recruits but each individuals listed size could give some small indication.
Clement was listed by K-State as 6'5" and 310 pounds while Rooks is listed on the official K-State roster as being 6'5" and 270 pounds. The scouting reports on Rooks indicate he is a strong pass blocker with good feet so he may be more suited for the left side with the massive Clement more of a candidate to maul on the right side of the line.
Also in competition for the tackle positions with the aforementioned Whitlair, Rooks & Clement are a pair of juniors in William Cooper and Cornelius Lucas. If nothing else, Lucas also fits the physical profile for a left tackle as he is listed by K-State as standing 6'9" and weighing in at 322 pounds.
Two seniors who at this time seem to have been surpassed on the depth chart are Ethan Douglas and Jordan Allred but they also have to be mentioned as no one is ever quite sure what rotation Snyder will come up with.
While it is extremely far from a sure thing there is still the possibility that both Stiverson and Whitelair could team up to form the right side of the K-State offensive line in 2012. While maybe a negative in the beginning of the season due to each player's inexperience it would seem to bode well for the future with a sophomore and two freshman comprising three fifths of the starting unit.
For more info on K-State's upcoming football season, check out Bring On the Cats.