The Kansas State Wildcats have made their reputation over the last few years by developing junior college talent under head coach Bill Snyder, as well as taking transfers from other programs, most notably players like wide receiver Chris Harper (Oregon) and Arthur Brown (Miami), both of whom departed after the 2012 season.
Those ingredients will remain at the forefront of the Kansas State recruiting approach, but the Wildcats may have to start recruiting high school talent better to stay in the top tier of the Big 12, considering the 2013 recruiting class ranked last in the Big 12 by the 247Sports Composite team rankings. Or at least land more high-level junior-college prospects -- of the 19 signees in the group, only five of them came from junior colleges, including three from Iowa Western.
So far so good in the 2014 cycle for Snyder and his staff in their attempt to turn things around on the recruiting trail, as the Wildcats reeled in five prospects by mid April. It wasn't until August of 2012 before Kansas State had five players pledged to become part of the 2013 class.
The 14 prospects currently committed in the class are good enough to put the 'Cats at seventh in the Big 12.
Dalvin Warmack, Blue Springs (Mo.) running back
5'9 | 179 pounds | *** | No. 24 running back nationally | no. 4 player in Missouri
The early jewel of the 2014 class, Warmack is a four-star prospect by 247Sports and held offers from Kansas, Missouri, and Toledo before ending his recruitment in favor of Kansas State just days after traveling to Manhattan for a Junior Day in early March.
A back with similar size to current Kansas State starter John Hubert, Warmack has a knack for hiding behind his offensive line before emerging from traffic, at which point he can use his reported 4.47 40 speed to create big gains for state champion Blue Springs. Likewise, his stature makes him hard to bring down by bigger players because of his low center of gravity.
Elijah Lee, Blue Springs (Mo.) linebacker
6'3 | 210 pounds | *** | no. 33 outside linebacker nationally | no. 5 player in Missouri
Ranked just behind his high school teammate as one of the top players in the state of Missouri, Lee held offers from Toledo and Wyoming just prior to his commitment, despite taking Junior Day visits to Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.
A prospect who split time between playing with his hand on the ground as a defensive end and working as a stand-up edge rusher as a junior, Lee will have to make the full-time transition to linebacker in college, including working more in coverage, which can take some time for players who are used to playing almost exclusively downhill.
Dalton Risner, Wiggins (Co.) center
6'4 | 285 pounds | *** | no. 5 center nationally | no. 4 player in Colorado
A consensus three-star prospect, Risner held offers from Arizona State, Colorado State, Missouri, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, Tulsa, and Wyoming before he committed to Kansas State on March 8th. Risner is considered one of the top center prospects in West region.
C.J. Reese, San Antonio (Texas) Madison defensive lineman
6'4 | 260 pounds | *** | no. 48 strongside defensive end nationally | no. 169 player in Texas
A 2012 teammate of Oklahoma State defensive tackle signee Vincent Taylor, Reese is a solid athlete who has a knack for getting into passing lanes and the motor to track down plays across the field. Already at 260 pounds, the Madison product looks like a future swing player and will probably play in college at 280 pounds or more.
Prior to his April 15th commitment to the Wildcats, Reese had not visited Manhattan, but that didn't stop him from choosing the Wildcats over offers from Colorado, Nevada, and SMU.
Sam Sizelove, Argyle (Texas) linebacker
6'3 | 225 pounds | *** | no. 39 inside linebacker | no. 144 in state of Texas
A middle linebacker prospect who could conceivably grow into a defensive end because his frame could easily add 20 or more pounds, Sizelove chose the Wildcats following a weekend visit to Manhattan over offers from Houston, Iowa State, North Texas, and SMU.
On film, Sizelove has the appearance of a rather underrated prospect who could eventually move into the top 100 in Texas because he is quick and instinctive coming downhill against the run game and is a strong hitter when he arrives, though he doesn't appear to be a natural in bending and exploding through ballcarriers. He also has some sideline to sideline range, which will be necessary when attempting to combat Big 12 offenses.
Aaron Sharp, Humble (Texas) Summer Creek quarterback
6'3 | 190 pounds | *** | No. 19 dual-threat quarterback nationally | No. 86 player in Texas
Recruited by some schools as an athlete after winning the Texas 4A 200m in May, Sharp chose the Wildcats in late June after a wild couple of days that saw him commit to Utah only to change his mind hours later. He held offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Mississippi State, Michigan State, and Texas prior to ending his recruitment.
Mostly a passing quarterback in high school, Sharp doesn't have the opportunity to show off his wheels to full effect until he gets on the track, but he's also a pretty refined passer with excellent touch -- he averaged over 10 yards per attempt as a junior. If there's one major question about him as as quarterback, it's about his arm strength, which is less than elite.
Winston Dimel, Manhattan (Kansas) fullback
6'0 | 215 pounds | *** | No. 10 fullback | No. 13 player in Kansas
A low three-star prospect in the composite rankings, the local product committed to Kansas State on July 19. His 247Sports profile does not indicate that he has any other offers. And while fullbacks have gone out of style in many offenses around the country, Dimel is an old-school football player who should fit in well with his old-school coach. He'll need to add weight to play the fullback position in college, but he's a tough and tenacious blocker who can use his leverage to record pancakes.
TL Ford, Cartersville (Ga.) wide receiver
6'3 | 180 pounds | *** | No. 147 wide receiver nationally | No. 104 player in Georgia
One of five pledges to commit to the Wildcats on July 27, Ford also held offers from Cincinnati and Southern Miss, among others, with Kansas State winning out in part because they were the first to offer Ford. An outside receiver prospect who averaged over 18 yards per catch as a junior, he has enough fluidity and speed to create separation at the high school level, looks natural catching the ball, and can use his big body to his advantage.
Kendall Adams, Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints athlete
6'1 | 197 pounds | *** | No. 120 athlete nationally | No. 200 player in Texas
A strong and well-built athlete capable of playing safety or wide receiver for Kansas State, Adams also committed on July 27, choosing Kansas State over Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, and Rice. Unfortunately, his Hudl page is set on private, so his recent highlights are unavailable.
Dominique Heath, Huntersville (S.C.) Hopewell wide receiver
5'9 | 170 pounds | ** | No. 304 wide receiver nationally | No. 65 player in South Carolina
A small receiver in the Brandon Banks/Tramaine Thompson/Tyler Lockett mold, Heath is yet another July 27th pledge to the Wildcats, with his other offers coming from Appalachian State, Old Dominion, Gardner-Webb, and Youngstown State. Primarily known for his straight-line speed, Heath needs to work in improving his ability to get in and out of breaks, as well as his show better moves after the catch to make defenders miss in order to contribute in college.
Kaleb Prewett, Blue Springs (Mo.) safety
6'1 | 195 pounds | *** | No. 146 safety nationally | No. 36 player in Missouri
Prewett chose the Wildcats on July 27 over offers from Missouri and a host of smaller schools. A strong, physical player with listed 4.5 speed and a 35-inch vertical leap, Prewett excels playing near the line of scrimmage and coming downhill to provide support in the run game. With his skill set, he has a chance to play early on special teams.
Mike Stevens, Davidson (N.C.) Day wide receiver
6'0 | 180 pounds | ** | No. 232 wide receiver nationally | No. 51 player in North Carolina
The Wildcats won out for Stevens' services on July 27 over schools like Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia State, and Kentucky. Unfortunately, he does not have any publicly-available film.
Tyler Ahrens, Kerrville (Texas) Tivy wide receiver
6'4 | 190 pounds | ** | No. 212 wide receiver nationally | No. 236 player in Texas
A big-bodied wide receiver, Ahrens committed to the Wildcats over former North division rival Iowa State. He's not a particularly dynamic athlete, especially after the catch, but he does know how to help out his quarterback and use his size to his advantage, as well as find holes in zone coverage.
D'Vonta Derricott, Garden City (Kansas) Community College linebacker
6'1 | 233 pounds | *** | No. 1 inside linebacker in junior college | No. five junior college player in Kansas
A highly-coveted linebacker who held offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, the Badgers were thought to be the favorite after Derricott declared them the leaders in early June, but an offer shortly after from the Wildcats was enough to change his mind. The listed 4.34 40 time seems a little bit hard to believe given that he's over 230 pounds, but he does have the speed to chase down running backs with an angle and has quick feet to slide gaps to leverage properly against the run. When he arrives at the football, he does so with force, though he can have trouble squaring up opponents in the open field at times.
Luke Hays, El Dorado (Kansas) Butler Community College offensive tackle
6'6 | 300 pounds | *** | No. 10 junior college offensive tackle nationally | No. 11 junior college player in Kansas
Hays committed to Kansas State on October 13, a day after taking a visit to Manhattan for the Baylor game. The pledge of Hays is one of the biggest in the class so far for the Wildcats, as he held offers from Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina State, and West Virginia. A former high school tight end and defensive end, Hays has grown into his current position and has ideal measurables to play outside. He may struggle to stay at left tackle in college, but in pass protection he does a good job of hand placement early that allows him to control opponents and keep them from exploiting the speed rush. Athletically, he's extremely impressive with his movement ability in the open field, though he does need some work in his ability to acquire defenders in those situations.
Colby Moore, Argyle (Texas) Liberty Christian quarterback
6'1 | 196 pounds | ** | No. 68 dual-threat quarterback nationally | No. 411 player in Texas
A good athlete with a SPARQ-verified 36.5-inch vertical, Moore committed to Kansas State in mid-October over an offer from Army. His private-school competition doesn't help evaluations of him and gives some necessary context to what he puts on film. With similar physical dimensions to current Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters, Moore appears marginally more athletic as a runner in terms of his straight-line speed, while lacking Waters' arm talent. In fact, Moore can hit some small windows over the middle in the short and intermediate passing game, he doesn't evidence the ability to push the ball from one hash to the sideline and is at his best . His athleticism may eventually result in a move to another position if he can't make a dent on the Kansas State depth chart.
Alec Ruth, Littleton (Colo.) Valor Christian offensive tackle
6'6 | 300 pounds | *** | No. 104 offensive tackle nationally | No. 9 player in Colorado
Offers from Oregon State and San Diego State weren't enough to keep Ruth from committing to Kansas State in late October. Ruth has the measurables of a BCS-level offensive lineman with ideal size and weight to play offensive tackle in college. However, his athleticism lingers behind his measurables, as does his technical ability, a combination that may reduce him to playing inside and makes him a likely long-term developmental project.
National Signing Day is still more than four months away. Verbal commitments are non-binding and change frequently.
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