#44 Ryan Mueller
Position: Defensive End
Previous College: None
Status: On Scholarship
Ryan K. Mueller (b. April 30, 1991) didn't even have a photo on his official kstatesports.com bio at this time last year.
So you hardly can blame me for completely underestimating him in last summer's writeup. Actually, calling it a writeup is generous. It was more of a token summary. And an inaccurate one, at that.
I predicted that his being undersized and our defensive end depth would conspire to keep him off the field. I even went so far as to suggest he should switch to linebacker or fullback. I was horrendously wrong.
All Mueller did in 2011 was line up repeatedly at defensive tackle and rush the passer from the interior in obvious passing situations, relying on his speed to beat opposing offensive guards and centers.
Although he only collected three total tackles (two solo, one assisted), half a tackle for loss, half a sack, one pass breakup and one QB hit, he made an impact beyond his statistics with the pressure he applied to passers.
That allowed Adam Davis, Ray Kibble, Jordan Voelker, and Meshak Williams to collect the statistics and the glory themselves, but make no mistake, Mueller was an integral part of that equation.
Expect that to continue this season now that he has been placed on scholarship as an initial counter in the 2012 class, a reward for his contributions last year as a walk-on. Mueller should ascend to second-string status.