Kansas State University

K-State Q&A: Bruce Weber’s next assistant coach, recruiting and NFL Draft predictions

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

We’ve got lots of great questions to cover this week, even with Wildcats sports starting to slow down. Thanks, as always, for providing them.

Let’s just go ahead and break down all of K-State’s NFL Draft hopefuls.

Dalton Risner: The Wildcats haven’t had a first-round pick since Josh Freeman in 2009, but that could change next week with Risner. The former K-State right tackle will get some looks on Thursday. Maybe he has to wait until Friday, but Risner is a plug-and-play blocker that could start immediately. He will definitely go in the early rounds.

Alex Barnes: If things break perfectly for him, I could see a NFL team selecting Barnes in the third round late Friday. He had a strong junior year with the Wildcats and was also impressive at the combine. More realistically, he will hear his name called in the fourth or fifth round.

Duke Shelley: One way or another, the former K-State defensive back will be on a NFL roster next weekend. I think a team will take a chance on him with a late-round pick. Shelley is good in coverage and had a good pro day in Manhattan coming back from injury. But even if he gets overlooked, he will be a priority undrafted free agent and sign with a team quickly after the draft.

Eli Walker: He’s in about the same spot as Shelley. There’s a chance a team picks him in the late rounds. There’s a chance he goes undrafted and catches on as a free agent. Either way, he will have a chance to make a NFL roster.

The Wildcats could have quite a few draft picks this year. At the very least, they will extend their draft streak, which dates back to 1994 and leads the Big 12.

I will be surprised if Winston Dimel is anything more than an undrafted free agent. He seems more like the type of prospect that will simply get an invite to a team’s rookie camp.

Fullback aren’t exactly in demand right now, so that alone will limit his opportunities. Dimel was at the Senior Bowl in the winter, but he didn’t do all that much during his lone season at UTEP, rushing for negative yardage on four carries and catching nine passes for 89 yards before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. Best of luck to him, but I doubt he’s a serious draft-pick candidate.

While we’re on the topic of potential undrafted free agents, there will be a few other K-State names to monitor after the draft ends. Abdul Beecham, Justin Silmon and Kendall Adams could/should all get tryouts at the next level.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

When you lose your top four running backs (Alex Barnes, Justin Silmon, Dalvin Warmack and Mike McCoy) during the same offseason, you have to get mighty creative to replenish backfield depth before reinforcements arrive in the summer.

It’s kind of crazy how much effort Chris Klieman and his coaching staff have put into strengthening running back since they arrived in December. But Bill Snyder and company left them nothing to work with. If not for the addition of Ball State graduate transfer James Gilbert, the Wildcats would have gone through spring practice without a single scholarship running back.

Before Bernardo Rodriguez made the switch from punter to running back, K-State’s other ball-carriers were all walk-ons -- Cornelius Ruff, Harry Trotter, Michael Warmack and Tyler Burns. So why not let Rodriguez have a shot there?

Funny as it may be to see the words “served as a punter during his first two years in the program” next to his name in the team’s spring prospectus, Rodriguez did log 38 carries as a high school running back and return kicks before arriving at K-State.

Klieman moved several players to new positions this spring, and Rodriguez was one of them. It’s definitely rare to see a specialist move to running back, but it was necessary until Joe Ervin, Thomas Grayson, Clyde Price and Jacardia Wright arrive as freshmen.

Chris Klieman can never have too many running backs. He never had a workhorse ball-carrier at North Dakota State and was always looking to spread carries around in an attempt to keep his players fresh and healthy.

I bet they all get a shot to play next season and that most of them probably see carries. I wasn’t very impressed with any of K-State’s running backs at the spring showcase. The Wildcats are also low on numbers at linebacker, so if any of the incoming running backs can play there Klieman might try one or two of them there, too. We’ll see.

Some could redshirt, but Klieman likes to play freshmen, even if it is only as special teams contributors. Right now, I’m thinking they all play.

Sean Snyder is helping the current K-State coaching staff as a senior special teams analyst. That’s a new title for him, as he originally signed on to be the team’s director of football operations.

Collin Klein is the only other former assistant coach remaining on staff. He’s the quarterbacks coach, if you didn’t know that already.

Here’s a rundown of what the other former assistants are up to:

Blake Seiler is coaching linebackers at West Virginia. Charlie Dickey is the new offensive line coach at Oklahoma State. Andre Coleman is an analyst for the Texas Longhorns. Zach Hanson is an analyst for the Oklahoma Sooners. Eric Hickson is coaching running backs at Miami. And Brian Norwood is the co-defensive coordinator at Navy.

Well, Lehigh graduate transfer Pat Andree is off the board to North Carolina State.

That one stings, considering Andree looked like an ideal replacement for Dean Wade, at least on paper. He was tall enough to go inside and rebound but also skilled enough to step outside and shoot. Plus, he was eligible to play next season. He checked all the boxes and had a recruiting visit scheduled to K-State later this month. But it wasn’t to be.

There are lots of other options still available, though. Maize guard Caleb Grill and junior-college transfer David Sloan both have visits scheduled in the coming weeks. And new players hit the transfer portal every day.

K-State has one open scholarship at the moment, and it will get filled.

It seems like it is down to K-State, Iowa State and maybe UNLV for the in-state guard. The Wildcats and Cyclones look to be in the lead, but Grill previously signed with UNLV coach TJ Otzelberger when he was at South Dakota State. So there is history there.

Grill is scheduled to visit Manhattan on Monday and then Ames, Iowa later in the week.

That means K-State will get first crack at him. Grill has previously said that it meant a lot to him when Weber offered him a scholarship. Staying home might be a factor for one of the best recruits in the Sunflower State.

I’m horrible at projecting what high-school athletes will decide when it comes to recruiting, so I won’t go there. But it seems like K-State has as good a chance as anyone here.

Props to Tim for providing the most unique question we’ve had in a while.

Been a long time since I’m imagined myself as an animal, but here goes ...

North America: Dog. Some of them have better lives than humans.

South America: Anaconda. This snake seems to do, and eat, whatever it wants.

Europe: Wolverine. Sadly, I had to look up prominent animals from Europe for this answer. There weren’t any I really liked. But I like the X-Men, so wolverine it is.

Africa: Hippopotamus. I want to say lion, but life actually seems kind of hard for the cats at the top of the food chain. Hippos seem much more relaxed, while still being dangerous animals.

Asia: Panda. They are protected animals that spend most of their lives eating and sleeping.

Australia: Kangaroo. Obviously.

Antartica: Penguin. Is there any other choice?

Ocean: Hammerhead Shark. An apex predator shaped like a hammer. What’s not to love?

Mitch Richmond was an amazing K-State basketball player who went on to become an all star in the NBA, but his coaching credentials aren’t quite as stellar.

He worked under Chris Mullin as an assistant coach at St. John’s the past few years, and the Red Storm were never all that good while he was in New York. Mullin went 59-73 and recently stepped down. It seemed like every college basketball coach on the planet rejected the opportunity to replace him before Mike Anderson took the job.

Other than playing for the Wildcats in the 1980s, I’m not sure what makes Richmond an attractive candidate to join Bruce Weber’s coaching staff. He has no ties to Weber and doesn’t have much history as a recruiter.

Look at this way: If he went to college at Arizona State instead of K-State, would you be asking about him as an assistant coach? Probably not.

Maybe his name could bring some value to K-State basketball, but he’s not the type of assistant coach Weber has worked with in the past. Nor would he replace most of the qualities Frazier brought to the position, like young energy and a deep knowledge of Weber’s system. I very much doubt he is considered for this opening, if he even wants it.

In my opinion, Weber would be better off going with someone he has history with like Dee Brown or internal candidates Shane Southwell, Drew Speraw and Jermaine Henderson. That or a coach with major recruiting connections.

I respect the heck out of Richmond, but there are better coaching candidates out there.

The Bat Cats sure have flipped the switch lately, haven’t they?

They have won five of their past six games to climb out of the Big 12 cellar, and four of those victories came against ranked teams. They’re still only 18-21 overall and 4-6 in the conference, but there is suddenly reason to monitor K-State baseball over the remainder of the season. I will have to make a trip out to a game and see what’s happening for myself, but it seems like the main difference is pitching and defense.

K-State has gone from losing 17-2 to Missouri to shutting out Texas and Nebraska in back-to-back games.

The Wildcats just won a Big 12 road series against Texas and followed it up by winning the first game of the TCU series on Thursday. Another series victory would give new baseball coach Pete Hughes and his team tons of momentum.

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