The Kansas State Wildcats placed a school record 15 nominees for major college football awards, breaking the mark of the 1998 team. The nominations ended with Collin Klein being named to the Manning Award Watch List, which honors college footballs best quarterback. Linebacker Arthur Brown led the way for the Wildcats with five nominations. He was nominated for the Bednarik, Butkus, Walter Camp, Lombardi, and Nagurski Awards. Cornerback Nigel Malone had four nominations. He was nominated for the Bednarik, Walter Camp, Nagurski, and Thorpe Awards. Quarterback Collin Klein had three nominations, those were for the Manning, Maxwell, and O’Brien awards. Tyler Lockett, B.J. Finney, and John Hubert all had one nomination each.
They were nominated for the Walter Camp, Rimington, and Doak Walker Awards, respectively. Overall, this shows that Kansas State’s talent level this year isn’t as low as many media members suspect. Put this into perspective, this team has 15 nominees. The 1998 team, which was at one point late in the season the number one team in the country, only had 11. This team has a lot of talent and is destined for a very special season. Oh, and yes this is on a predicted sixth place team.
The Preseason Big 12 Media Poll was released the this past Thursday. The first two spots in the poll were not much of a surprise. The Oklahoma Sooners were picked first, and the West Virginia Mountaineers were picked behind OU. The most puzzling selection was putting the Kansas State Wildcats sixth. Let that sink in for a moment. A team that returns the second most starters in the league behind Texas Tech, and is coming off of a season in which they won 10 games and finished second in the conference standings, is picked sixth?
It has become very apparent that the media does not respect Kansas State and the job that Bill Snyder has done there. It is also very apparent that the media does not watch very much football. This is a team that has proven that they have what it takes to win close games. This is a team that returns essentially every piece to the puzzle that they had last year.
This is a team that has had 15 players placed on preseason award watch lists, which is a school record. You would think that the media would have learned their lesson last year when the predicted KSU to finish eighth, and they finished second. This is going to do nothing but light another fire under the players and they will come out as motivated as ever. All in all, this is just another example of how no one respects K-State. K-State will once again prove everyone wrong this Fall and finish much higher than sixth in the Big 12.
In 2011, the Kansas State football team exceeded everyone’s expectations. They were predicted by the media to finish 8th in the Big 12 and win 4 or 5 games. By now, everyone knows Kansas State football is getting back to the way it used to be. Entering the 2012 season, Kansas State returns the second most amount of starters on any team in the Big 12, behind only Texas Tech. It seems odd that many media members are continuing to discount the Wildcats in the Big 12 Title race for the upcoming season. Yes I understand they won 8 games by 7 points or less. Yes I know Collin Klein needs to work on his passing.
Yes I know the secondary needs to replace two starters. It’s also hard to understand the media’s reasoning for thinking the “ball won’t bounce” K-State’s way as much this year. Do they not realize that last year was Collin Klein, Arthur Brown, Consensus All-American Tyler Lockett, and second team All-American Nigel Malone’s first year as full time starters? Yes it took an interception of Robert Griffin to beat Baylor. Yes it took four overtimes to beat Texas A&M. With a full year starting under their belts for the four previously mentioned, how can this team not be drastically improved from last year. I don’t think people realize that. Another point of confusion is that usually when a team loses many close games in one year and returns many starters for the next year, they are picked by the media to win more games.
So how is it that a team that returns many starters that proved they could win close games, is predicted to win less? I am not even mentioning other key role players returning from last year, such as Chris Harper, Ty Zimmerman, Meshak Williams, B.J. Finney and countless others. Oh, and i haven’t even mentioned the greatest piece to the puzzle, the reigning National Coach of the Year, Bill Snyder. You think this is his first rodeo? All in all, I find it extremely puzzling that the national and local media are back to their old ways of discounting K-State and Bill Snyder. All of these preseason rankings are nothing more than bulletin board material that will ignite a fire in the players. I’m by no means upset by all of this talk, because deep inside we all know it means nothing and is just fuel for the program. As long as this talk keeps up, Bill Snyder’s players will continue to use it as motivation, and they will prove the media wrong, just like they did last year.
This past Wednesday, Kansas State signed their 2012 Football Recruiting Class. As usual, Bill Snyder’s recruiting class isn’t filled with 4 or 5 stars or any highly ranked recruits. However, the 2012 recruiting class has some of Bill Snyder’s system players that will make a huge impact either immediately or down the road. Let’s look at some of the future stars from K-State’s recruiting class.
Biggest impact next year: Marquez Clark
Marquez Clark is a wide receiver from Navarro JC. This past season he set the NJCAA records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in a season. With sub-4.4 speed, expect him to work his way into the top 4 of K-State’s receiving core along with Chris Harper, Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson.
Biggest Impact Down the Road: Tavarious Bender
Tavarious Bender is a 6-3 dual threat quarterback from Lincoln, Nebraska. Rated by Rivals as the 20th dual threat quarterback in the country and the Top recruit in the state of Nebraska. Watching his highlight film is like a man amongst boys. He runs a 4.47 election 40 and throws the ball with nice accuracy and touch. He fits Bill Snyder’s prototypical quarterback mold.
Sleeper: Judah Jones
Judah Jones is a wide receiver from Shreveport, Louisiana’s historic football program Evangel Christian. He had offers from Arkansas and a few others but chose to go to KSU on NSD. The reason I’m picking him as a sleeper is because he plays for an awesome high school program and he was a vastly underrated recruit
Overall Grade: B
As stated before, this class isn’t filled with superstars. It has a few JUCO players that can come in and contribute right away and some players that can be very productive down the road. This is Coach Snyder’s best class in awhile, and while people may be very critical of it, I see a ton of potential with this class.