When Kansas State offensive line coach Charlie Dickey arrived at Trevor Stange’s home for a recruiting visit on Wednesday, the stresses of the outside world seemed to fade away.
Stange, a three-star offensive lineman from Coppell, Texas, has committed to play football for the Wildcats starting next season and plans to make an official visit to campus this weekend.
A cloud of uncertainty is currently hanging over the K-State football team as each day goes by without a decision from longtime coach Bill Snyder on his future. But that didn’t stop Dickey and Stange’s family from eating barbecue and having a fun evening.
“We talked about what it takes to play up there and what the plan is for me,” Stange said in a phone interview. “We talked about what position I might play, how excited he is to bring some of his starters back and the season they just had. Then my dad and him talked about the old days. They have known each other forever.”
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Snyder’s name hardly even came up.
“I didn’t really want to talk about it,” Stange said. “If he wanted to talk to me about it he would have brought it up. Besides, I am not really worried about it. Whatever they do is going to be what is best for the school and I just want to play for the school.”
K-State football coaches have made similar recruiting pushes across the region this week.
As many wait to hear a decision on Snyder’s future, K-State’s coaching staff is on the road in full force recruiting like they always do this time of year.
The Wildcats even mixed things up and sent recruiting coordinator Taylor Braet on the road for the first time.
His job usually limits him to on-campus recruiting, which means he communicates with football recruits mostly through phone calls and social media, but with one of K-State’s assistant coaches unable to recruit while dealing with a personal issue, Braet stepped in.
“Taylor is temporarily filling in,” explained K-State senior associate AD for communications Kenny Lannou, “which is permissible under NCAA rules.”
Braet visited Butler County Community College and then caught a plane from Wichita to Houston, according to his Twitter activity.
Elsewhere, K-State quarterbacks coach Collin Klein made an in-home visit with Piper defensive tackle Cooper Beebe. And defensive coordinator Blake Seiler and running backs coach Eric Hickson visited linebacker commit Yahweh Jeudy.
K-State coaches also visited several uncommitted players, including four-star running back Daniel Carter.
The Wildcats will need to replace at least Dalvin Warmack and Justin Silmon in the backfield next season. Mike McCoy’s future is also uncertain and Alex Barnes could leave early for the NFL. So Hickson’s visit to see Carter in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. was an important one.
Recruiting hasn’t been easy lately for Bill Snyder and his staff. The Wildcats haven’t added any new commitments since October and only have eight players lined up for their 2019 class, the second-lowest number of any power-conference team.
K-State doesn’t spend much time recruiting during the regular season, so it isn’t all that rare to see the Wildcats playing catch up this time of year. But they have been hurt by the uncertainty surrounding Snyder.
It’s not easy to recruit when your head coach operates year-to-year.
Snyder’s future is a hot topic on the recruiting trail, and each coach deals with it differently.
Some players respect their answers, knowing Snyder is unable to commit to anything long term. Other players are less receptive.
K-State coaches probably wish more recruits were as eager to play for the Wildcats as Stange, whose father, Russ, is a former K-State player. Unlike some high school prospects, he says he will remain committed no matter what Snyder decides.
“Most recruits haven’t been Kansas State fans as long as I have,” Stange said. “I grew up purple. The first pictures my parents ever took me to get, I was sitting inside a Kansas State helmet. I love the coaches. If (Snyder) stays, that’s great. If he doesn’t, then hopefully they keep most of the same staff.”