Two of Kansas State’s best defensive players received extremely high praise from college football expert Phil Steele today. On his website, Steele named linebacker Arthur Brown a first team All-American at mid-season and defensive tackle Ray Kibble a third team All-American.
Their honors represent a drastic turnaround for both players.
A year ago, Kibble struggled to do much of anything while making 30 tackles in 13 games. He also had considerable trouble in the classroom. As a senior, he is one of K-State’s most important players. He has made 15 tackles (including two for loss and one for a sack) and is looking good academically.
Meanwhile, Brown has gone from making 17 tackles in two seasons at Miami to leading K-State with 38 tackles through five games as a junior. He is a legit difference-maker and is playing like one of the best linebackers in the nation.
How did they do it? There are many reasons, but both Brown and Kibble credit Bill Snyder for their growth. When the K-State coach came out of retirement to lead the Wildcats for a second time, many wondered how well he could connect with young players. At the age of 72, there is quite an age difference between them. But Brown and Kibble are proof that the gap is not too wide.
“I really watched him a lot, and he helped me carry out my duties,” Brown has told me of Snyder. “He helped me become the player I am today.”