Hopefully everyone is still alive and without any serious burns following the Fourth of July, which is apparently happening in October in St. Louis this year. There's something you'd never see Kansas City do.
In light of this look back at all the Kansans who haven't gone to K-State in recent years (see Part I and Part II) it's worthwhile to take a quick look at how many Kansans have become Wildcats. As it turns out, this year's total of 50 (by my count) is just below the average of 52 in the 11 seasons since 2002.
The lowest number was 45 in 2008, and the highest number was 63 in 2010. In case you were wondering, there doesn't seem to be much of a correlation between wins and natives for Kansas State, which really isn't surprising at all. That being said, I sure wouldn't mind having some of the guys listed below playing in Manhattan, especially a certain running back from Oklahoma State.
Jordan Phillips, Fr. DT, Towanda-Circle HS (Oklahoma)
For me, Towanda always came a close second to Haysville (Campus? Really?) for the most irrationally named high school in the state, so if someone could explain that to me, I would appreciate it. Somehow, though, they seem to produce some good athletes from time to time, and Jordan Phillips seems to be no exception.
As is true with many of the guys that chose OU over Kansas State, Phillips was a stud recruit, earning four stars and the No. 1 recruit in Kansas label. It's a bit frightening that he was a wide receiver in high school, and once he overcame his eligibility hurdles, it seemed like he was destined for greatness.
That greatness was tempered a bit by a redshirt season, but it is Oklahoma, so this is still a guy we may see in the Kansas State backfield in the not-too-distant future. Speaking of which, K-State defensive tackles haven't been in the backfield near enough in recent seasons, so this will be a bitter pill to swallow if he turns out to be a stud.
Lucas Powell, Fr. C, Gardner Edgerton (Ohio)
A redshirt at this OU isn't nearly as impressive, and there's no guarantee that Powell will ever amount to anything. Still, the slightly undersized (at 284, which doesn't feel like it should be undersized, ever) center was ranked #27 in the country according to Rivals, so he makes the list.
Kansas State has a history of developing some pretty good centers, so it's too bad they didn't seem all that interested on giving this guy a chance. Hopefully it's because they knew there were better options.
Joseph Randle, Jr. RB, Wichita Southeast (Oklahoma State)
OK, this one stings. Quite a bit. I doubt I have to remind anyone that as a freshman he had 64 rushing yards and 59 yards receiving against K-State. Then in his All-Big 12 sophomore season (1st team AP, 2nd team Coaches) he did even more damage, to the tune of 79 rush yards, 146 receiving, and three total touchdowns.
This guy is obviously really good, and he was a top 25 running back and track star at Southeast. Clearly, KanssaS State offered him, but for reasons unbeknownst to non-recruiting followers like me, he chose Stillwater. What a shame.
I've come a long ways towards liking John Hubert, but you'd have to be absolutely insane to take Hubert over Randle, who has a ton more quickness, speed and elusiveness. It would be really awesome if Hubert put up bigger numbers this season, just to prove me wrong.
Shane Ray, Fr. DL, Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege (Missouri)
This is another highly sought out guy with offers from Notre Dame and Nebraska, among others, which will tend to make an offer from Kansas State not as attractive. Then again, this is another guy who seems to have chosen where to go to school because of his father, meaning K-State had absolutely no chance at all.
Heading into his redshirt freshman season, he's No. 2 on the depth chart, and I suppose we should be happy we won't have to see him lining up against the 'Cats. I have to say, again, though, the relative weakness of the Kansas State offensive line really makes me wish it included guys like Ray.
Matt Reed, Fr. QB Wichita-Heights (Oklahoma)
OK, Reed doesn't really count because he's going to join the Sooner wrestling team, not the football team. Still, he was a pretty talented high school quarterback and represents a bit of a missed opportunity, like a poor man's Bubba Starling.
Kyler Reed, Sr. TE Shawnee-St. Thomas Aquinas (Nebraska)
Reed will forever be known in K-State lore as the guy who caught the 79-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Martinez less than 3 minutes into the unexpected beatdown of the undefeated Wildcats in 2010. That was, incidentally, his only catch of the game and still represents the best receiving day of his career yardage-wise.
Without that catch, he might not have been a preseason All-Big Ten pick as a junior, even though injuries would stop him from living up to the hype. Thankfully, the K-State defense won't have to see him again, but he could be poised to do some damage against Big Ten defenses this year, though he's hurt by the fact that Martinez has also never had as good of a game as that disaster in Manhattan.
As mentioned previously, K-State has some pretty solid tight ends in Travis Tannahill and Andre McDonald, although Reed is probably a better blocker than both of them. It's not too hard to imagine him succeeding in a Snyder offense.
Max Shortell, So. QB Shawnee-Bishop Miege (Minnesota)
I know it's just Minnesota and this guy doesn't look like someone who should be allowed anywhere near a college football field. Despite all that, he started two games as a true freshman in the Big Ten and nearly led Minnesota to a fourth-quarter comeback against USC in the first D-1 game of his life. That takes some balls.
At 6-6, Shortell at least does have the height of a prototypical QB, and though his numbers last year or even in high school were never spectacular, he has shown some promise. He was rated as the No. 21 QB in the country out of high school and got looks from several big schools, so it's not like he came out of nowhere.
This is another guy who would probably require a total restructuring of the offense at Kansas State to truly be successful, and perhaps it's for the best that didn't come to pass. I wish him luck at Minnesota, though it's extremely hard to fathom a quarterback finding any kind of success as a Golden Gopher.
Travis Tuiloma, So. DL Topeka-Washburn Rural (BYU)
Tuiloma was recruited pretty heavily by K-State and lived awfully close, so I'd be interested to hear if Mormonism played a big role in his going to BYU. Even more favorable, he's a native of American Samoa, which is very near Western Samoa, home of former K-Stater Alesana Alesana.
Nevertheless, Tuiloma decided to go to a school where he's not allowed to drink caffeine and he made 12 tackles while playing in all 13 games as a freshman. That may indicate a bright future for a pretty solid team, and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing him in purple.
Lucas Vincent, So. DL Olathe-North (Missouri)
It's really becoming impossible to not make a connection between all of these missed defensive linemen (5 total out of 27) and K-State's relative weakness on defensive line. Vincent was recruited by KSU out of high school but chose Mizzou, where he registered 11 tackles as a redshirt freshman.
He's a big dude and could certainly make a difference up front, particularly in a league where he doesn't have to have Ess Eeeee Seeee speed. Yes, I am mocking that bothersome phrase and by consequence Missouri's unfortunate decision, but I still think Snyder could have definitely used Vincent this season and for the future.
That's all I've got. Let me know if you think I missed anybody, but please don't mention any terrible players like the preferred walk-ons at Indiana and Penn State who just got a spot on the team because somebody in their family knows people.