Glenn Gronkowski is an intriguing football player. Everyone recognizes his last name, he has a famous family and he is now Kansas State’s starting fullback as a redshirt freshman.
He is also refreshingly honest.
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Case in point: his answer to a question about how much he has learned since arriving in Manhattan and spending a year on the sidelines.
“To be truthful, I wasn’t really paying attention that first year, because I knew I was going to redshirt,” Gronkowski said. “But this last year I have been in and out of this place a lot, watching film, meeting with the coaches as much as I could, learning the playbook and getting it down.”
It shows. Gronkowski began improving the moment he switched gears and realized he could take over for former fullback Braden Wilson in K-State’s backfield. Coaches had nothing but good things to say about him during Fiesta Bowl practices, and Gronkowski had a big spring game.
At about that time, he realized he might see a lot of playing time as a redshirt freshman.
“I had a good spring game,” Gronkowski said. “My whole family was here. I got really excited when they were here. I was really focused then. I really started to learn the playbook then, too. Everything started to click around then.”
It took him until the end of preseason practices to beat out Zach Nemechek for the starting job, but now that it belongs to him, well, let’s just say he is excited.
“It means a lot to me,” Gronkowski said. “I have been here a long time under Braden Wilson. That was huge how much he taught me and being able to learn under him. When I learned I was the starter it was just exciting. I have been waiting for this a long time and working really hard for it. It meant a lot.”
He is ready to help the Wildcats in several areas.
At 6-foot-3, 234 pounds he has the size to open holes for John Hubert and Jake Waters. He also has good speed and hands. He might be most helpful in the passing game. Teammates say it’s not unusual to see Gronkowski make one-handed catches in practice.
If the Wildcats use Gronkowski the way they used Wilson, Gronkowski will be on the field a lot this season. He seems ready for anything.
“(K-State coaches) definitely use (the fullback) a lot, blocking and running routes,” Gronkowski said. “I think it takes a lot of versatility. You have to be able to block, you have to be able to run, you have to be quick, you have to read the line and be able to know where you need to go, because you don’t have a set guy usually. It just depends on the scheme and everything. It depends on the play. I am fine moving around.”