I'll start up the previews with the football prediction equivalent of a layup:
Daniel Thomas is going to be the Wildcats' starting running back.
I know, you're shocked at my Nostradamus-like skills. For more sterling analysis, follow the jump.
The Ball Carriers
#4 Bryce Brown
A summer of drama and ever-more confusing tales finally culminates in the long-awaited, long-expected, long-dreamed of arrival of Bryce Brown, formerly the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009. I won't recap the saga of Brian Butler, Potential Players and Lane Kiffin here. Suffice to say, one of the most talented players to ever hail from the state of Kansas will be riding the pine for K-State this season and paying his own way. That's right, Bryce is a walk-on. Bill Snyder truly is a miracle worker. My prediction? Bryce will change his number to No. 1 next season (can't share with Billy Cosh, but probably didn't want to get more bad PR by adopting it off the bat this season) and together with DeMarcus Robinson, will form one of the best RB duos in college history and make Wichita proud.
I don't think much really needs to be said here. All you need to know about this preseason candidate for multiple awards is that he gained so much muscle in the offseason that he can't fit into his pants anymore. With a full year to learn his new position, Thomas will punish Big 12 defenses this year in a way they haven't been punished since Adrian Peterson was carrying the rock for Oklahoma.
#20 William Powell
Powell looked impressive in the spring game and was the odds-on favorite to replace Keithen Valentine as Thomas' primary backup, but his absence from Fan Appreciation Day has some wondering if he's been injured. If so, it opens the door wider for a pair of freshmen — one redshirt and one true — to see some time and get the future started at this position a year early.
#21 Frank Delarue
Delarue is a walk-on running back from Wichita and is good friends with starting safety Tysyn Hartman. I don't think he'll see the field much, but there's something to be said for his years in the system. He might be a contributor on special teams.
#24 Rodney Kenner
Like Delarue, Kenner walked on in Ron Prince's last season. Other than on special teams, I don't think we'll see him much unless the score is way out of control.
#27 Brad Duncan
As long as Duncan, a freshman walk-on from Westmoreland, wears No. 27, he'll be in the shadow of another local kid who made that number famous a few years ago. I don't expect he'll turn into the kind of playerdid, however.
#28 Robert Rose
Rose sports a wicked set of dreadlocks and some equally wicked speed, which he put on display on kick returns in the spring game. His small stature might make the coaches shy away from using him in such a capacity during Big 12 play, however — although they did havedoing just that last season.
I'm a huge fan on of the four-star prospect from Wichita Northwest, and if you've seen his highlight film, chances are you probably are a fan, too. But Darren Sproles comparisons aside — DMR isn't as a shifty, but he's at least as fast and almost as strong — the diminutive runner who rewrote Wichita's record books probably will spend this season redshirting and manning the scout team.
#33 John Hubert
While we're on the subject of recruiting film, check out Hubert's some time. All this kid did was break LaDainian Tomlinson's high school records in Waco, Texas. Every time he touched the rock, it seemed like he broke free for a TD. Hubert might not start the season No. 2 on the depth chart, but I won't be shocked to see him there by November. He, DMR and Bryce Brown will make an extremely potent backfield combination next season.
#27 Brad Duncan
#36 Ben Kall
#37 Braden Wilson
#39 Jay Hanley
#49 Lucas Hamm
Barring injury, we're only going to see Smith Center product Braden Wilson at this position in 2010. Despite rumors that he was cross-training at defensive end, it appears the beefy blocker will be concentrating his full effort on plowing holes through linebackers for Daniel Thomas. Under the tutelage of Chris Dawson, Wilson's bulked up to nearly 260 pounds and should be quite a handful for defenders recruited to attack the spread.
Depth Chart Predictions
- Starter: Braden Wilson
- Backup: Lucas Hamm