In the last week, he competed in two events at the Colorado state high school track meet and he gave a Valedictorian speech at his high school graduation. Next up is a trip with friends to a Luke Bryan concert in Louisiana. Then he moves to Manhattan to begin his Kansas State football career on June 1.
He expects that last stop to be the best of the bunch.
“I am really looking forward to it,” Risner said. “For so long, I have been talking about playing college football. I have been interviewed for a whole year about it. It will be nice to finally play and become a part of the Kansas State family. I am excited to go down there and become part of the team and work hard and prove myself.”
Risner, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman, has an interesting story. He lives in the small town of Wiggins, Colo. (population 900) and he had to work to get noticed. His persistence paid off, eventually marketing himself into a coveted recruit with 11 scholarship offers. He comes to K-State as a three-star prospect and the No. 6 rated high school center by Rivals.
He is proud of his story, and he said he dedicated most of his Valedictorian speech to it.
“I talked about how proud I am to be from a small town and why,” Risner said. “The crowd seemed entertained. I think I did a good job.”
Risner expects to play center in college. And unlike most incoming freshmen, he isn’t vowing to make an instant impact. He would rather redshirt next season and try to start at center in 2015. His goal is to follow in the footsteps of B.J. Finney, a senior, as a four-year starter on K-State’s offensive line.
“The plan is to redshirt, but I am not going to tell anyone there is no doubt about that,” Risner said. “There is a chance I could play. Finney is an amazing center. The plan is to redshirt under him, work hard and learn a lot. Then, when he graduates, next year try to be a four-year starter.
“But if he gets hurt or something, I want to be ready. I am really versatile, and I can play different positions. I can play guard, center or tackle. (Offensive line) Coach (Charlie) Dickey really likes what I do at center. That is where he wants me to play. But maybe they need a tackle to fill in. I am just going to work my butt off and see what happens.”
Risner isn’t concerned about playing time as a freshman.
His focus is on playing well, no matter where K-State coaches use him.
“I have huge expectations,” Risner said. “I have been talking about how I am going to go down there and prove myself for a long time. I realize that nothing I did in high school will really matter once I get to Kansas State. No one is going to care about that. College is all that matters. I want to buckle down and make a name for myself.”
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