Monthly Archives: July 2013

Trent Tanking hopes to become the next walk-on success story at Kansas State

K-State freshman linebacker Trent Tanking won Most Outstanding Player for the East at the Kansas Shrine Bowl. He had a game-high 16 tackles. (Photo credit: Kansas First News)

TOPEKA — On top of having one of the best names at the Kansas Shrine Bowl, Trent Tanking looked like one of the state’s best players at the annual all-star game.

Tanking, a Holton grad, spent his summer taking classes and working out with his future teammates at Kansas State, but the freshman linebacker returned to the high school ranks for one final time over the weekend. The results proved he was ready for college practices.

Tanking was far and away the best defender on the field, making a game-high 16 tackles (the next closest total was nine), with 2.5 coming for a loss. He also forced a fumble and was named Most Outstanding Player for the East team.

It was a perfect ending to a week of practices on Washburn’s campus. Now he’s looking forward to the start of K-State’s fall training camp, where hopes to prove himself as a walk-on.

“I got invited to fall camp with K-State. That was one of my main goals this year, to get invited to fall camp, and I did it,” Tanking said. “What it holds, I have no idea. I am just going to work my butt off and see what happens. I came in as a walk-on. I have the mentality of working hard and earning everything I get. Hopefully it works out for me in the long run.”

According to his Rivals profile page, Tanking wasn’t offered a scholarship by any Division I programs, but he received interest from a handful of regional teams.

He chose to walk-on at K-State instead of accepting a scholarship at a lower level for simple reasons.

“To be honest with you, I’ve been a K-State fan my whole life,” Tanking said. “They also took me on an official visit, which showed they were pretty serious about me. I asked them if they thought I could make it up the ladder, and they said yes. That was enough for me to commit there. I’m ready to get started.”

K-State has a history of succeeding with walk-ons from its home state. Jordy Nelson, Jon McGraw, Blake Seiler and current center B.J. Finney all started as walk-ons.

Tanking hopes to follow the same path.

“It helps that they are all small town kids just like me,” Tanking said. “They had the work ethic. Hopefully I can mimic that, but I’m just looking to get anything I deserve. I’m not looking to do anything they did, because they are unbelievable players and they had incredible careers. I am just looking to earn whatever I can get.”

His main contributions will likely come during practice or on the scout team as a freshman. With several experienced linebackers in front of him on the depth chart, he figures to be a redshirt candidate.

Tanking said he doesn’t have any expectations for the upcoming season, other than continuing to improve his game the way he did this summer.

That’s the same approach he took with him to the Kansas Shrine Bowl, and he was quickly named a captain for his team. He then went out and played well when the lights came on.

“My hips have gotten more flexible and I’m faster now,” Tanking said. “(Strength) coach (Chris) Dawson has helped me a lot already. I can feel myself getting stronger and faster. I have already had some interesting experiences with the older guys, too. I feel like I have made new friends and new relationships. I’m lucky enough to have great mentors like Blake Slaughter and Tre Walker to look up to.

“I can’t say anything about what will happen next season. All I know is we have a lot of guys back and we will all work hard. The team is going to be the same hard-nosed, hard-working team it always is. I’m going to help any way I can.”

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K-State lands five recruits in one day

It will go down as one of the most memorable days in the recent history of Kansas State recruiting.

On Saturday the Wildcats picked up five verbal commitments for its 2014 recruiting class, bringing their overall total to 12. That is an unusually large number for K-State considering it is still only late July. Bill Snyder usually likes to wait to offer scholarships and picks up commitments later than most programs.

That certainly isn’t the case this year.

Here is a look at the five high school football players that committed to K-State on Saturday:

Kaleb Prewett
A two-star defensive back from Blue Springs, he has been waiting on a K-State offer for quite some time. He didn’t hesitate once he got it, and announced his commitment almost immediately. Prewett will join Blue Springs teammates Elijah Lee and Dalvin Warmack in Manhattan. He chose K-State over Missouri, New Mexico and Northern Illinois.

Dominique Heath
A two-star wide receiver from Huntersville, N.C., he chose K-State over Appalachian State, Charlotte, Old Dominion and Youngstown State.

Michael Stevens
Stevens picked K-State over Kentucky, Charlotte and Appalachian State. He is a two-star defensive back from Charlotte.

Kendall Adams
You can never sign too many players from Texas. Adams, a two-star defensive back from Fort Worth, chose K-State over Louisiana Tech.

T.L. Ford
The two-star wide receiver from Cartersville, Ga., made it five late Saturday night for the Wildcats. He chose K-State over Cincinnati, Central Florida, Southern Mississippi and others.

Bill Snyder talks at Big 12 Media Days

DALLAS — A year ago at Big 12 Media Days, when Kansas State was picked to finish near the bottom of the league’s preseason poll, Bill Snyder said he wasn’t bothered by the prediction. If he had a vote, he said he would have picked the Wildcats to finish 99th.

His opinion hasn’t changed.

On Monday at Big 12 Media Days, Snyder said he had no problem with the Wildcats being picked to finish sixth in the conference’s preseason media poll. He thinks preseason predictions are difficult for everyone.

“That’s guess work, at best,” Snyder said.

Given all K-State loses from last season (Collin Klein, Chris Harper, Arthur Brown and the majority of its starting defense) Snyder joked that he still wouldn’t mind if the Wildcats were picked to finish 99th.

Other highlights from his time at the main table:

– Snyder thinks returning only Ty Zimmerman and Tre Walker as starters on defense will be difficult for reasons that go beyond the obvious. “When you lose as many as we did on defense,” Snyder said, “that can have an affect on special teams.”

Snyder was later asked if a productive running game, with an emphasis on ball control, could help K-State’s defense. While it is true the Wildcats could stay fresh by staying off the field, they will still need to make plays when they are on the field.

“Our defenses will have a tremendous challenge because of the speed and tempo of the teams in the Big 12 conference,” Snyder said.

– Did winning a Big 12 championship last season cause any significant changes within the program?

“I don’t know that anything has changed,” Snyder said. “We went through a period of time my first go around (where we had sustained success), so it’s not abnormal. I thought it was a very, very fine year. I was pleased with it. By the same token we have had our bad years, too. I don’t think we responded to it any different than we always would.”

– K-State won’t name a starting quarterback until the season approaches, but Jake Waters or Daniel Sams (whoever wins) should be well protected. K-State returns its entire starting offensive line from last season.

Said Snyder: “If I’m the quarterback, I’m awful happy about it.”

My preseason Big 12 football poll

The Big 12 has asked media members to submit their preseason football polls by the end of the week.

That means Media Days (July 22-23 in Dallas) are right around the corner. It also means that it is time for us all to start speculating on the upcoming season (less than two months away). The conference will reveal an official preseason media poll next week, but you can take a look at how I voted right now.

I expect there to be tremendous parity in the media poll. The Big 12 doesn’t have a slam-dunk favorite. Heck, it doesn’t even have a legitimate preseason Top 10 team. But it does have significant depth. Maybe even as much as it did last year when it sent nine teams to bowl games.

As I looked over each team’s roster, I could imagine six teams (Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas) winning the league. Most years, that number doesn’t hit three.

There is a lot of guess work in every preseason poll, but there will be more than usual this summer. With that in mind, here is how I voted:

1. Oklahoma
Blake Bell gives the Sooners new options and balance on offense. That should work to their advantage. Question is: How strong will they be on defense? Several starters are gone from a unit that wasn’t all that great last year. There are reasons for concern. Still, nobody wins games in this conference more consistently than Bob Stoops.

2. Texas
Is Texas back? I don’t know, but I like what the Longhorns have coming back (17 starters) on paper. David Ash should be improved. Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown are quality running backs. The defense has to get better, though. I think we will know more about the Longhorns by late September. If they can end their losing streak to Kansas State in their first conference game, maybe they have what it takes for a conference title run.
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