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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #36 Kansas State

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 7, 2017

#36 Kansas State Wildcats

2016 Recap:
In true Bill Snyder form the Wildcats turned around a slow start and by seasons end they were one of the most dangerous teams in the Big 12 finishing 9-4 after a victory over Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl. After a 3-3 start the Wildcats only dropped one contest and it was a six point loss to Oklahoma State.


Coaching:
What else can you say about Bill Snyder other than HE IS Kansas State football. In 25 years Snyder has guided the Wildcats to a record of 202-105-1. Snyer still seems to have a few years left in the tank and is as hands on with his team as ever. Dana Dimel is the offensive coordinator and Tom Hayes mans the defense, a unit that led the Big 12 in total and scoring defense a season ago.


Offense

Bill Snyder seems to like what he has in Jesse Ertz. Ertz has the escapability and mobility that Snyder like to have with his signal callers as he ran for over 1,000 yards a season ago. This may be a case where a blossoming quarterback could put this team over the top. We are not as sold on Ertz but he has improved and is making huge strides in his game. If Ertz continues to develop this could be a 10 win team and we have them too low in these rankings. Ertz has a stable of running backs with big play ability behind him but Kansas State hasn't announced a true starter. The Wildcats may not need a true starter with a rotation led by Justin Silmon and Alex Barnes. Winston Dimel figures into this equation as Kansas State is one of the few teams that will employ a fullback full time. Not only are the running backs gifted the line is experienced and many of the starters have the ability to play multiple positions. Dalton Risner has been a center in the past but he bounces out to tackle and could be an early declaration candidate for the NFL after this season. Young Scott Frantz continues to bulk up and looks like a potential prospect for the next level as he started most of his freshman season a year ago.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Dalton Risner C 3rd Round 2018 (Early Draft Candidate).

                                       Scott Frantz OG 3rd Round 2020.


Defense

Reggie Walker looks like he will be the next breakout star along the line in fact Kansas State needs him to be and pick up the slack for the departed Jordan Willis. Willis did everything along the line and in our opinion was the most disruptive defender in the Big 12 last season. Walker has a similar motor and build and did manage 6.5 sacks a season ago playing with Willis. Walker is not quite as well rounded against the run but will be dominant and looks like he will transition into an outside linebacker at the next level. Two other starters are back to play with Walker in the form of defensive tackles Will Geary and Trey Dishon. Kansas State finished the year 11th in the nation stuffing the run so ineffectiveness is not a trait possessed by the middle of the line. The stats are a little misleading as Kansas Satte ranked 114th nationally against the pass. The main factors here were the level of quarterback talent and team simply couldn't run on Kansas State, they had to choice but to air it out. D.J. Reid and Duke Shelley return as junior starting cornerbacks and although they are undersized they play physically and have plenty of speed.

Best Draft Prospects: Reggie Walker OLB 4th Round 2020.                

                                       Duke Shelley CB 4th Round 2019.


Special Teams:

Kansas State returns their senior kicker and punter in the form of Matthew McCrane and Nick Walsh. Both saw their numbers improve as the season went along and were fairly reliable. Kansas State had a total of 3 kicks and punts returned for touchdowns last season and it's an area where they can excel once again.


Schedule:

Kansas State gets to test the state of Texas as their first three conference contests include Baylor, Texas and TCU. The October 28th and October 4th contests against Kansas and Texas Tech will mark the only time the Wildcats will be on the road in successive weeks for 2017 and both are winnable games. The Wildcats only dropped one home game last season and the likes of West Virginia and Oklahoma are coming to Manhatten.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

Kansas State has the ability to be a true sleeper team. We have seen many years where Oklahoma looks to be the overwhelming favorite in the conference and then they lay an egg. If Ertz stays healthy at quarterback and the defense can replace Jordan Willis then this is a team with legitimate top 10 aspirations. There will be some high picks in the future off of this squad and watching how Dalton Risner performs at tackle could determine whether he stays at Kansas State for his senior season or turns pro.

DJ Boyer