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.
K-State held its annual Spring Game last Saturday. In front of a crowd of about 18,000, the game ended in a 42-42 tie. Head Coach Bill Snyder stuck with his usual spring game format, pitting the first team against the second team and flipping the score at halftime so the first team must come from behind to win. Quarterback Collin Klein’s arm looked fantastic, making nearly every throw. Some surprises included running back Robert Rose, who’ll look to push John Hubert for the starting job during the fall, and wide receiver Curry Sexton, who made a spectacular catch in the corner of the endzone and managed to get his foot down for a touchdown in the first half. Chris Harper looked solid, as did Tramaine Thompson.
Tyler Lockett did not play due to an undisclosed injury. Fullback Braden Wilson got a lot of touches, which is something K-State fans hope to see more of this fall. True Freshman quarterback Tavarius Bender got the nod with the second team offense, which is saying a lot considering he’s only been on campus since January. On defense, cornerback Nigel Malone looked like the same person that was a second team All-American last season. Linebacker Arthur Brown looked extremely fluid in his drops into pass coverage and was his normal ball hawk self on run plays. Converted quarterback Justin Tuggle got the start with the first team defense at linebacker over Jarell Childs. Safety Ty Zimmerman performed well in pass coverage and truly has a knack for getting to the ball. All in all, it was a very vanilla game. Nothing earth shattering, just what we all expected to see from a Bill Snyder coached team. The outright leader on defense is Arthur Brown. Along with his phenomenal play, he brings fantastic leadership. The story this year for Kansas State will be about Collin Klein. This team can go as far as he can take them.