Stepping up: Kip Daily

USA TODAY Sports

We return to the defensive secondary, this time to see why a little-used senior could at last use his considerable talent to play an important role.

New starters and big question marks make up an all-too-large portion of Kansas State's defense this season, which is why you'll see many of them appearing in this series. I'm doing my best to be optimistic in these posts, but in reality my concern about the defensive line and linebackers is as serious as it's been since at least 2009, or possibly even the Ron Prince days.

For reasons I can't fully explain, though, I'm inclined to have some cautious confidence in the secondary. Maybe it's because of the reliable, talented leadership of Ty Zimmerman, or maybe it's because many of my favorite Wildcats have played in the secondary. Plus, it was always my position in intramural flag football.

Either way, as part of this possibly irrational belief, I've managed to mostly convince myself Kip Dailywill be an excellent cornerback for Kansas State in his final season. Sure, he redshirted his first year out of college, scarcely played last year, and made all of two tackles in the spring game, despite getting the start for Purple alongside Zimmerman, Randall Evans and Donte Barnett.

Nonetheless, he shares a Blinn College pedigree with Michael Bishop, Cam Newton and (a little less impressively) Justin Tuggle. Yes, all those guys were quarterbacks in junior college, but that's still a program that produces a ton of top-notch athletes and wins a lot of football games.

His success there and this YouTube highlight tape leave me with little doubt he has the speed, hands and natural ability to be a solid defensive back, and it seems like he should be the #2 corner behind Evans, assuming Barnett remains at safety. However, things obviously haven't gone as planned for him, so there are certainly no guarantees.

Ideally, this season Daily will know everything he needs to know about the offense, come out hungry, and quickly become a force for a team that will need to have a strong secondary. The Big 12 quarterbacks and receivers may be down a little bit, but rest assured they're still quite capable and have coaches who will put them in positions to be successful, especially against a team with a questionable front seven.

At 5-11, 180, Daily probably isn't a guy Kansas State wants to see going up for a lot of jump balls, or blitzing hard to try to stuff the run or get to the quarterback. He'll be most effective if he can prove himself as a lockdown defender and sure tackler in the open field, maybe even as a guy who can chase runners down from behind when necessary.

He had a few tackles and quite a few interceptions while at Blinn. It would be wonderful to see him get a lot more of both when he finally earns a significant role with Kansas State.

Previously in this series:

Ryan Mueller

Blake Slaughter

Randall Evans

Boston Stiverson/Cody Whitehair

Andre McDonald

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