Position Preview: Wide Receivers


Kansas State lost its top wide receiver from a year ago, and no one currently on the Wildcats’ roster amassed more than 330 receiving yards a year ago.

And yet … Many expect wide receiver to be one of K-State’s most dependable and stable positions this season.

How does that work? The answer isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Injuries kept Tramaine Thompson and Brodrick Smith from playing full seasons a year ago. And they forced Sheldon Smith into missing every game with a redshirt. Now all three are healthy, and combined with junior Chris Harper, K-State welcomes back a quartet of players who should provide Collin Klein with plenty of solid targets.

Curry Sexton and Tyler Lockett could also find their way onto the field in meaningful situations if they continue showing promise in fall practices. As is the trend on this K-State team, that will make the Wildcats a deeper receiving unit than they were a year ago, when walk-ons were catching passes in what seemed like every game.
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Farewell to … Aubrey Quarles


Editor’s Note: The Kansas State football team is about to lose several key seniors to graduation. In the coming weeks, we will bid farewell to many of them. First up: Aubrey Quarles.

No senior on Kansas State’s roster stepped up more for the Wildcats in 2010 than Aubrey Quarles.

The senior wide receiver entered the season as a promising but unproven pass-catcher next to Brodrick Smith, Tramaine Thompson, Adrian Hilburn and Chris Harper. He ended it as the best of the group.

His rise couldn’t have come at a better time. With Brandon Banks gone, coaches were hoping to spread the ball around to a handful of receivers. Then Smith and Thompson got hurt and spent the second half of the season watching from the sidelines.

K-State badly needed a go-to threat in the passing game, and Quarles became that go-to threat. On the season, he led the Wildcats in catches (51) receiving yardage (760) and receiving touchdowns (5). Read More »

A few minutes with … William Powell

PowellHe only played nine games this year, but that didn’t stop William Powell from hauling in his fair share of postseason awards.

The Kansas State senior returner/backup running back, who rushed for 249 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries and led the nation with a kickoff-return average of 34.6 yards, has been mentioned in all sorts of All-America teams lately.

Third team by Rivals.com. Fourth team by Phil Steele. Honorable mention by Sports Illustrated.

While nothing could make up for not being able to play the final three games, those honors certainly helped ease his pain after suffering a season-ending injury against Texas.

With a medical boot on his left foot, Powell discussed his roller-coaster season at length this week. Here are the highlights of that conversation:

How difficult was it to go through an injury like that when you were playing so well?

It was very devastating that I found out that I probably wouldn’t play anymore during the season, but I didn’t let it get to me the way people probably would think. I always say everything happens for a reason. I take the bad things and try to view them in a positive light.
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Postgame: K-State 49, N. Texas 41

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FIVE THINGS THAT WENT WELL
1. K-State escaped Denton, Texas with a win. Sure, it was ugly at times, and the Wildcats needed 49 points to hold off a bad Sun Belt team, but a win at this time of year is a win. Let’s all remember that. K-State finished the regular season with a winning record at 7-5 and will head to its first bowl game since 2006. Both positives.

2. Welcome back Daniel Thomas. It’s been a while since we’ve seen you run like that. Not since you started the season with a big, 234-yard day against UCLA have you found space and picked up huge chunks of yards. After three straight games of receiving fewer than 20 carries, K-State finally treated you like a workhorse runner again and you delivered. A whopping 269 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries is the reason K-State defeated North Texas.
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Postgame: Missouri 38, K-State 28

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Mistakes doomed the Kansas State football team on Saturday. The Wildcats turned the ball over four times and let a close game slip away from them in the third quarter. Here’s a deeper look:

THE GOOD
1. Collin Klein once again looked fantastic running the ball. The sophomore quarterback came off the bench to lead K-State on three scoring drives and amassed 141 rushing yards on 18 attempts. He also completed four of six passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

Defenses have yet to figure him out. In the first half he converted a third-and-long near his own end zone by breaking loose for 36 yards on a quarterback draw. Questions remain about his throwing ability, but the bigger question after Saturday’s game was why didn’t he play more?

2. Tre Walker is making a huge impact on K-State’s defense as a freshman. The linebacker led the Wildcats with 12 tackles and also grabbed an interception in the third quarter.
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Postgame: OSU 24, K-State 14

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A week ago, 42 points seemed like all the Kansas State football team would need to defeat Baylor. Yesterday, holding Oklahoma State to 24 points seemed like all the defense it would need to hand the Cowboys a loss.

As it turned out, neither scenario led to a Wildcats win.

One week, the offense is good and the defense is bad. The next week, the offense sputters and the defense delivers. Clearly, K-State needs both to win games. Here’s a deeper look:
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Postgame: K-State 48, Missouri State 24

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After preaching the importance of offensive balance all week, the Kansas State Wildcats proved they could do more than run the ball Saturday.

Carson Coffman passed for a career high 280 yards and three touchdowns. Brodrick Smith grabbed six catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Aubrey Quarles made seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Good numbers all around. Sure, they came against a suspect Missouri State defense, but they were nice to see all the same.

“I feel like I became more comfortable in the success I had out there,” Coffman said. “Just showing myself I could go out there and do it in a real game. I think that was huge for me.” Read More »

Position preview: Wide Receivers

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Editor’s note: This is the first of 10 position previews that will appear on K-Stated in preparation of the upcoming football season.

Aubrey Quarles. Brodrick Smith. Chris Harper.

Merely looking at those names gives Kansas State football coaches and players confidence. Together, they make up a core group of wide receivers that are expected to bring new-found depth and toughness to the Wildcats’ roster.

In each of the past two seasons, K-State had neither. Brandon Banks was the team’s only reliable target (he caught 56 passes for 705 yards and a touchdown last year compared to a combined 52 catches, 677 yards and five touchdowns from the Wildcats’ other everyday wide outs) and his game was built around speed. When it came to big, dependable receivers, the Wildcats had few options.

But last year’s receiving stats will have no impact on this season. Banks and teammates Attrail Snipes and Lamark Brown are all gone. Collin Klein is now a full-time quarterback.

K-State has completely turned over at wide receiver. And while Quarles, Smith and Harper bring optimism to Snyder Family Stadium, they also combined for zero catches last year.
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