By now most every Kansas State football fan knows they won’t get a wow feeling when national signing day rolls around since there won’t be a plethora of five stars next to the Wildcats commitment list. Bill Snyder and his staff have their strategy in place and they stick to it, which means they try to identify players they can develop and work in their system.
Thus when fans look at the eventual conference rankings they can usually expect to find Kansas State somewhere down around the ninth or tenth spot as determined by the “experts”. The 2012 rankings are no different as one conference ranking showed the Wildcats with the seventh best class out of nine teams, West Virginia was still not listed as a Big 12 member, but we can assume the rankings had K-State below the Mountaineers as well.
Last year the Wildcats were towards the bottom of the pack but they found a few key players like CB Nigel Malone and Tyler Lockett who filled voids and helped lead K-State to levels not seen for quite some time. Common sense would say that a few new incoming players could find themselves in starting roles once the season rolls around so who are the most obvious choices.
Naturally you should expect more initially from junior college recruits and this is definitely the case with K-State as the juco guys coming in are at positions of need. The Wildcats welcome in two huge offensive lineman in Tavon Rooks and Ellwood Clement who are listed at 6’6” 270 lbs and 6’4” 295 lbs respectively. With the loss of both starting tackles from this past season it would be somewhat disappointing if neither player could come in and at least gain playing time in 2012.
On the defensive side of the ball the Wildcats could look to junior college recruit Kent Gainous to fill the void at safety for the graduated Tysyn Hartman. If Gainous can gain a starting spot in the secondary next season that could possibly give K-State three out of the four starters hailing from the junior college level assuming the starting cornerbacks are Nigel Malone and Allen Chapman. Two junior college players, Chaquil Reed and Wesley Hollingshed, will compete for playing at defensive tackle next to Vai Latui who came in from the juco level last season.
Trying to pick which high school player might contribute next season for K-State is simply a crapshoot as only one high school player from the 2011 class, Tyler Lockett, was a major contributor this past season. One player who might have a chance to step in and compete for playing time right away could be OL Aderius Epps who is listed at 6’2” 295 pounds so it would appear he already has the size needed to hold his own. The Wildcats have spots to fill on the offensive line but as previously mentioned Epps will be competing against a couple of incoming junior college recruits in Rooks and Clement as well as the returning players from last season.
It is not uncommon for a few more names to trickle in late as Snyder always seems to have a few surprises out there. While the recruiting season is exciting and keeps a level of interest on college football, K-State fans have learned to take the hype with a grain of salt.