It's time for the second installment (Part I is here if you missed it) of my look at good Kansan football players playing outside the state this fall. Since there are (obviously) not any Ark City players on this list, I'll do my be to not start any more high school flame wars today.
I'd also like to take this time to quickly forgive any in-staters who may have gone elsewhere for familial reasons or because they wanted to join the Air Force or something, as there are some of those guys and I can respect that. Guys I can't respect include Justin McCay, who was mentioned in the comments yesterday but will not be included on this list because after he signed with Oklahoma, he transferred to kU, thus proving he's not really all that interested in having a good college football career.
As you'll see soon enough, today is basically TCU day, which makes it all the more unfortunate that the Horned Frogs are joining the Big 12 this season. Alas, we'll just have to deal with it, and hopefully this post doesn't spoil your Fourth of July.
Zach Epps, Fr. WR, Overland Park-Blue Valley West (Tulsa)
Epps is one of those guys I mentioned earlier that gets a pass, since his dad played linebacker at Tulsa. Additionally, you really can't blame a wide receiver who wants to catch passes for going to Tulsa over Manhattan, considering what those two offenses have looked like the past two seasons.
Of course, all of that would likely be a lot tougher to say if Epps was more of a talent, but the fact is he didn't even top 800 yards in high school and he's still second on the depth chart as a redshirt freshman. At 6-5, 200, I won't go so far as to say he would never crack the lineup at KSU, but it certainly isn't a guarantee.
The fact that I'm grouping these two guys together doesn't diminish their talent. Rather, it just recognizes the fact that they're more or less the same guy, with Blaize just two years ahead of his brother.
The elder Foltz was a First Team All-Mountain West guard last season for a very good team, and his little brother was the #2 guard in Kansas (#41 nationally) when he came out of of little old Rose Hill High School. Expect Brady to start seeing some playing time this year, and perhaps rolling over K-State defenders some in the next two seasons.
I think Bill Snyder would tell you it's impossible to have too many quality offensive linemen, and it seems like these guys could have fit right in had they chosen to wear a different shade of purple. You have to wonder if after Blaize chose TCU, K-State even tried to get him, or if it just became a foregone conclusion.
Geneo Grissom, So. DE Hutchinson (Oklahoma)
Geneo had the first and so far only tackle for loss of his career against K-State last season, but in parts of that game I almost think I could have done the same thing. Of course, I'm not a former 3-star recruit who was the No. 3 player in Kansas out of high school.
I'm not sure if Grissom will play a big role this season for a good Sooners defense, but he seems to have a bright future ahead of him. K-State should be wary, and I think the 'Cats probably wouldn't mind having him lining up opposite Meshak Williams right now.
Devin Hedgepeth, Jr. CB, Derby (Oklahoma State)
I really like fast, athletic corners, so really it's hard for me not to like Devin Hedgepeth, even though he didn't go to K-State to play football. In fact, the real tragedy is that he's an engineering major and he declined an offer from Bill Snyder to come to KSU (#93 engineering school according to U.S. News and World Report) in favor of Oklahoma State (#109). It makes no sense.
Perhaps, then, it was karma that brought him down with an injury four games into the season, although he has been granted an injury redshirt. I'm no engineering major, but by my calculations this should make him still a sophomore. Nonetheless, he is currently listed as a junior on OSU's roster.
I would love to see this kid on my team, particularly since K-State has some as yet unproven talent on the corners to begin this season. They'll be tested early against Oklahoma, and I'm just hoping we don't have to think about what could have been with Mr. Hedgepeth after that game in Norman.
Tyler Matthews, Fr. QB, McPherson (TCU)
As a former AVL athlete, I am all too aware of McPherson's abnormal ability to produce freakishly efficient athletes (at least I had better success against them in my tennis career). So I am quite serious and quite frightened when I say that Mathews went even beyond that mold with the absolutely absurd numbers he put up at McPherson, where he threw for 2,847 yards and 24 TDs as a senior.
It's no wonder he was the No. 6 pro-style QB in the country, and it's pretty clear his mechanics are light years ahead of Collin Klein. I'm not saying he's going to surpass Second Team All-MWC QB Casey Pachall on the depth chart this year, but K-State had better be prepared to see more Mathews in the future.
All that being said, it's not 100% clear that a pro-style quarterback would function efficiently in a Bill Snyder offense. There's no doubt Snyder is one of the best at molding his offense to fit his players and you'd have to be crazy to not want Matthews on your team, but it would be an adjustment for everyone.
Jerel Morrow, Fr. WR, Emporia (Oklahoma State)
I really wish all of these small, fast athletes from Kansas would stop going to Oklahoma State (obviously, there's one more on tomorrow's list) because I'm just afraid they're going to be continually terrorizing Wildcats. Morrow has a good chance to be an explosive wide receiver and return man, so I'm hoping he comes to his senses when he actually has to live in Stillwater.
It hardly even needs to be said that fast, explosive players who can catch footballs thrive at K-State, and I almost wonder if the presence of Tyler Lockett might not have scared Morrow off just a bit. I sure hope not, because the 'Cats need to have as many of these types of guys as possible.
Marshall Musil, Jr. FB, La Crosse (Oklahoma)
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have to look up La Crosse on a map, and Musil hasn't really done anything special enough to put it on the map. Nonetheless, he was a pretty good HS player (No. 4 in KS in his class) who has become a solid backup fullback and a serviceable special teams guy.
Bill Snyder loves his special teams, so you have to imagine Musil would at least be getting some playing time there. Outside of that, it's hard to see where K-State is missing him too much, considering Smith Center native Braden Wilson and all.
Logan Pegram, Sr. LG, Silver Lake (Northern Illinois)
Elder K-State fans will of course know Silver Lake as the home to Lon Krueger, and Logan Pegram isn't really threatening to change that. But if you cared about offensive lineman and MAC football (I really don't) then you might be willing to give him some consideration when you think of Lon.
Pegram was an excellent athlete in high school who got plenty of all-state recognition, and he has started 22 of 24 games for a pretty good NIU team (just ask kU) the last two seasons. Last year, the Huskies were a solid rushing team and broke a school record for passing yards, which doesn't happen without a good left guard.
Again, the offensive line could always use more pieces, and it doesn't seem unreasonable to think Pegram could have fit in somewhere for Kansas State. I suspect NIU getting all of these Kansas kids has something to do with Shawnee Mission native and coach Dave Doeren, who also coached in Lawrence for four years. Either way, it's close to becoming a problem.