Kansas State counted eight football commitments when Bill Snyder retired earlier this month.
That number seemed likely to drop without a head coach guiding the Wildcats toward the early signing period, which begins Wednesday, but the opposite occurred. The Wildcats now improbably boast 12 commits, and that number is expected to grow as recruits start making their pledges official.
It’s still a small group of recruits when compared to the rest of the Big 12 and other power-conference teams. Only Louisville (3), Kansas (6), Illinois (10), Utah (10) and Maryland (10) had a smaller recruiting class as of Tuesday afternoon. But K-State’s current list of recruits is larger than most imagined it would be two weeks ago.
Credit director of football recruiting Taylor Braet and other members of Snyder’s staff for not only holding things together during a coaching transition but improving the situation.
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New football coach Chris Klieman will have much less work to do leading up to the traditional signing window in February than some originally expected.
K-State held on to the vast majority of its commits while facing an uncertain future with Snyder during football season, losing only linebacker Yahweh Jeudy to Iowa, and then added five new recruits this month.
Khalil McClain, a 6-foot-4 receiver from Hutchinson Community College, committed two days after K-State announced Snyder’s retirement. Khalid Duke, a receiver from Gainesville, Ga., did the same two days later. Then came Dallas defensive back Logan Wilson and Joe Ervin, a running back from Rock Hill, S.C.
Taylor Poitier, a Bishop Miege offensive lineman, orally committed to the Wildcats on Tuesday.
In addition, the Wildcats landed a new defensive back when Marcus Hayes announced plans to transfer from New Mexico and enroll at K-State late Monday night. The redshirt freshman will sit out next season and have two years of eligibility remaining under Klieman.
When Klieman was hired away from North Dakota State last week, he began making calls to improve K-State’s recruiting class, not salvage it. On Saturday, he flew from Fargo, N.D. to Louisiana for in-home visits with prospects.
We will soon find out if he made a good impression.
Wednesday could be an exciting day on the recruiting front for K-State.
Some of K-State’s commits, like Lawrence receiver Keenan Garber, have been courted elsewhere. Jeudy was committed to the Wildcats until Tuesday night when he flipped to the Hawkeyes.
Klieman also visited Free State fullback Jax Dineen, North Kansas City linebacker Clyde Price and a trio of Louisiana athletes on Saturday.
Gregory Brooks, a four-star defensive back from Marrero, La., is potentially the biggest recruit on K-State’s radar. He will choose between Mississippi State, Arkansas, Southern Miss, K-State and KU on Wednesday. The Wildcats are also hoping to flip Tulane commit Tyjae Spears, a 5-10 running back. Tyrone Lewis, a defensive back from Hammond, La., is the other name worth monitoring.
Klieman will still have much work to do before February, as K-State’s recruiting class currently ranks low (78th 247 Sports, 85th Rivals) nationally and in the Big 12 (ninth by both). But it sure beats where the Wildcats were sitting earlier this month.
K-State football commitments
Player, Position, Height, Weight, Previous school (Hometown)
Cooper Beebe, OL, 6-3, 329, Piper (Kansas City, Kan.)
Khalid Duke, LB, 6-4, 225, Riverside Military Academy (Gainesville, Ga.)
Joe Ervin, RB, 5-10, 190, South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.)
Konner Fox, TE, 6-5, 225, Reagan (San Antonio)
Keenan Garber, WR, 6-0, 175, Free State (Lawrence)
Marcus Hayes, DB, 6-0, 192, New Mexico (Rockford, Ill.)
Chris Herron, QB, 6-1, 192, Langham Creek (Houston, Texas)
Khalil McClain, WR, 6-3, 212, Hutchinson CC (Valdosta, Ga.)
Taylor Poitier, OL, 6-3, 258, Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission)
Gavin Potter, LB, 6-1, 200, Broken Arrow (Broken Arrow, Okla.)
Trevor Stange, OL, 6-3, 272, Coppell (Coppell, Texas)
Logan Wilson, DB, 5-11, 165, Bishop Dunne (Dallas)
Ty Zentner, K, 6-2, 200, Butler CC (Tecumseh, Kan.)