I was in Manhattan this afternoon to fill in for Kellis, who was traveling back from Lubbock after K-State’s 68-59 win over Texas Tech on Tuesday night. Here’s five thoughts from Bill Snyder’s press conference on K-State’s latest recruiting class, and my story from today:
1. Can Jake Waters beat out Daniel Sams at quarterback?
A big portion of Snyder’s time was spent talking about Iowa Western quarterback Jake Waters, the top juco quarterback in the country. Waters is already on campus and participating in winter conditioning. This position battle will be all K-State fans are talking about from now until August. I saw Waters play in the national championship game, a win over Butler, and was impressed with how well he managed the game. Never got flustered, always seemed in control. But he wasn’t the best player on that side of the ball for the Reivers – that was wide receiver Deon Long, who took a lot of hitch and out routes that Waters threw and turned them into big games. Also, Waters’ listed size – 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds — is a myth on the height end. He’s about 5-11. Sams has the advantage of already knowing the offense, but the buzz surrounding him has died off since early in the season. This will be fun to watch.
2. Speaking of the Reivers…
Waters wasn’t the only one the Wildcats plucked off Iowa Western’s talented roster – defensive end Devon Nash and defensive back Travis Green are also already in Manhattan and could very well be starters this fall. A lot was being said about K-State striking out on recruits from the Jayhawk Conference, where they traditionally clean up. Yes, Martrell Spaight would’ve been great to bring into the fold. But these three guys were stars on the team that waxed Butler in the national title game. Aside from going overboard on the juco recruits – another myth is that K-State does that every year – this was a solid class of guys who are coming in ready to play.
3. The youngsters
If you’ve followed K-State for a long time, you know how unique it is for players to come right out of high school and make an impact immediately. That being said, the Wildcats had two four-star high school recruits they brought in – Conway Springs’ Tanner Wood and Lee’s Summit West linebacker Nick Ramirez. Ramirez is a cut-and-dry linebacker – 6-foot-1, 228 pounds – and could be the man in a couple of years, if not contribute right away. Snyder noted that he’s got some room for growth, meaning he can get a little heavier. Wood is a different monster – he dominated on both sides of the ball in high school at running back and linebacker and has been projected as a defensive end at K-State since he committed before his junior season. According to Snyder, his position is still up in the air and will be up to Wood once he gets to camp. At 6-5 and 237 pounds, he could end up making an impact on either side of the ball.
Or it’s proper name, “deferred enrollment” … K-State uses that extra time as good as anyone in the country. Snyder indicated up to three players off this year’s recruiting class could end up grayshirting. It’s a unique way to let players develop, physically and academically, and seems to work for K-State. Snyder pointed to former quarterback Brian Kavanagh as the first example of it working, saying without the grayshirt year he would not have eventually ended up a starter for the Wildcats, as he was in his final season.
5. Snyder’s new contract
At the end of the presser, Snyder was asked about the new contract he signed on Jan. 31, which will keep him in Manhattan until 2017. Here’s his full reply, which I thought was interesting … and he started things off with a joke:
“The fact that we lost a couple of recruits was probably because I did come back (ed. note: that was the joke). I don’t know if it has an impact on anybody … as long as I feel like I’m doing right by the university and the program and staying in decent health and can still help young people … I’ll be around for awhile. If not, I won’t. It’s that simple.”