Friend to foe: Kansas State prepared to face former assistant coach Joe Bob Clements

Joe Bob Clements spent 16 years at K-State as a player, staffer and full-time assistant

Joe Bob Clements used to play football at Kansas State. He used to be an assistant coach for the Wildcats, too.

Up until he abruptly left K-State for Oklahoma State last January to take over as the Cowboys’ defensive line coach, he was considered a staple of the program. He came to Manhattan as a walk-on, became a two-year starter at defensive end and evolved into one of Bill Snyder’s top recruiters as a member of the coaching staff.

So it will definitely be strange to see Clements on the opposing sideline when K-State takes on Oklahoma State on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.

“He was the defensive ends coach. He was my coach. I am a little more excited about playing in this game,” K-State defensive end Marquel Bryant said. “I feel like even though he is on another team I feel like I want to prove something to him. I wasn’t on the field yet when he was here. I got a little time on the field, but I wasn’t starting. Now I feel like I want to put more on the plate. I want him to feel me on the field.”
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K-State in search of new recruiting blood

First Joe Bob Clements. Now Michael Smith.

In the span of five days, the Kansas State football team surprisingly lost two longtime assistants that once played for the Wildcats and started their coaching careers under Bill Snyder.

Clements, K-State’s former defensive ends coach and defensive run game coordinator, is off to Oklahoma State as the Cowboys’ new defensive line coach. Smith, K-State’s former receivers coach, will be in charge of the same position at Arkansas.

Their absences will be noticeable. On the field, Clements and Smith did a fine job of developing talent. Meshak Williams and Adam Davis were two of the top pass-rushers in the Big 12 last season. Chris Harper came to Manhattan hoping to play quarterback and left as a productive receiver with a future in the NFL. They helped K-State win 21 games the past two seasons.

But their biggest contributions came in recruiting.

Smith and Clements were without a doubt K-State’s top two recruiters. Smith, a New Orleans native, regularly signed prospects from Florida and Louisiana, where he faced competition from SEC schools. He spoke passionately about “not taking a backseat” to other programs and Rivals labeled him as one of the top 10 recruiters in the Big 12 last year. Clements, an Emporia native, was well-liked in the Sunflower State and helped seal the deal with many local recruits.

They were the two youngest assistants on the Wildcats’ staff (Clements is 37 and Smith is 42) and had outgoing personalities that high school seniors could easily relate to.
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