The dust has finally settled, the faxes have all been collected, and we can now announce, officially, the 2015 Kansas State football recruiting class. Although the class isn't highly-ranked, it has the usual selection of guys who look a lot better to Bill Snyder than they do to recruiting writers; it's our position that even though this may be the lowest-ranked class in several years, it may well be the best in terms of actual production.
Until 1:00 p.m., there wasn't much in the way of surprise, as only one player signed today who had not already committed -- that being Bryce English, who had visited last week and looked like a solid target.
But at 1:05, the bomb dropped.
That final scholarship, a burning hot potato for weeks, finally landed in someone's hands. But it was someone completely out of left field, someone that hadn't even been on anyone's radar. Tucker (Ga.) linebacker Elijah Sullivan, a 6'1" 215 rated as a four-star by 247 who started the day with a commitment to grayshirt at Auburn, suddenly finds himself heading to Manhattan to join teammates Duke Shelley and Justin Hughes.
The search for a linebacker, or a linebacker-slash-safety, was the one blemish in K-State's 2015 recruiting cycle. Sullivan is the fourth player to hold this spot. First it was Mohamed Barry, who changed course last week and committed to Nebraska. Kylan Johnson from Dallas took the opportunity afforded by Barry's switch, but took only three days to suddenly decide to go to Florida instead. That left Derby's Darreon Jackson on the line, and it's probable that he'd be wearing Wildcat purple right now... except the Georgia pipeline that's been so quickly and adeptly built by Andre Coleman went to work on one of its own.
Sullivan was, from all reports, content with the grayshirt offer from Auburn. But quietly, behind the scenes, his former teammate and the rest of the Georgia contingent was working on getting Sullivan an immediate offer. And suddenly, out of nowhere, there it was. The ramifications here couldn't be clearer. K-State's own recruits are so excited that they can sell the program well enough to steal a four-star from an SEC power.
Re-read that last sentence, and let it sink in.
More importantly, the Georgia floodgates are now wide open. Andre Coleman pushed that door open and, as amazing as it now seems, Kansas State is a legitimate player in Georgia recruiting. Don't be surprised if the Wildcats land a five-star from that area in the next year or two.
We'll get to the high-level analysis in a moment (and there will be more on all of this in the coming days), but for now, meet and welcome our newest Wildcats. Name links take you to the article in which the recruit's signing was discussed, which in most cases includes Hudl highlights. Star ratings, for simplicity, reflect the highest rating given out by the major services. And while we think tweeting at recruits before they sign is creepy and awful, once they're part of the family it's another story... so we've included their Twitter handles (where available) for your convenience. You should still resist the urge to bug them too much because that's still creepy and awful, but nobody's going to think you're weird for simply welcoming them to the fold.
|OT||Evan Applegate||@bigapple55||★★★☆☆||6'7"||280||Shawnee-Mill Valley (KS)|
|DE||Kyle Ball||@KyleKyleball||★★☆☆☆||6'2"||231||Prairie Village-SM East (KS)
|RB||Alex Barnes||@Alex_Barnes34||★★★☆☆||6'0"||218||Pittsburg (KS)
|RB/S||Tyler Burns||n/a||★★☆☆☆||5'11"||190||Wichita-Trinity Academy (KS)
|OT||Evan Curl||@texascurl||★★☆☆☆||6'5"||285||Flower Mound (TX)|
|QB||Alex Delton||@adelton005||★★★☆☆||6'0"||180||Hays (KS)
|DT||Trey Dishon||@Dishon15||★★☆☆☆||6'3"||305||Horton (KS)|
|DL||Bryce English||@BryceEnglish34||★★★☆☆||5'11"||318||DeSoto (TX)|
|CB||Johnny Durham||@JDurham5_||★★☆☆☆||6'0"||180||Aledo (TX)|
|OT||Scott Frantz||@ScottFrantz54||★★★☆☆||6'5"||285||Lawrence-Free State (KS)|
|RB||Denzel Goolsby||@DenzelGoolsby||★★★☆☆||5'11"||190||Wichita-Bishop Carroll (KS)|
|ATH||Kalin Heath||@UnHuman32||★★★☆☆||6'3"||180||Cartersville (GA)|
|DT||Adam Holtorf||@aholtorf79||★★★☆☆||6'5"||255||Seward (NE)|
|LB||Chase Johnston||@chasejohnston13||★★★☆☆||6'3"||226||Carl Junction (MO)|
|DE||Joshua Little||@Mello_wildn||★★★☆☆||6'3"||231||Jacksonville-Trinity Christian (FL)
|OL||Tyler Mitchell||@turkey_thug_77||★★★☆☆||6'5"||280||Montgomery Academy (AL)|
|DE||Aulelio Olomua||@olomua17||★★★☆☆||6'5"||250||Mesa-Red Mountain (AZ)/Mesa CC
|ATH||Darreyl Patterson||@OnLyHuMaN143||★★★☆☆||6'2"||185||Lawton (OK)|
|CB||Duke Shelley||@DukeSaysGo||★★★★☆||5'8"||165||Tucker (GA)|
|LB||Elijah Sullivan||n/a||★★★★☆||6'1"||215||Tucker (GA)|
|DE||Reggie Walker||@_Mr_WALKER_||★★★☆☆||6'3"||230||Ponchatoula (LA)|
|WR||Isaiah Zuber||@Zuber_7More||★★★☆☆||5'11"||175||Stone Mountain-Stephenson (GA)|
|2014 GRAYSHIRTS NOW ON SCHOLARSHIP|
|LB||Justin Hughes||@justin_2201||★★★☆☆||6'0"||205||Tucker (GA)|
|WR||Zach Reuter||@zachreuter||★★☆☆☆||6'3"||190||Columbia-Rock Bridge (MO)|
|TE||Blaise Gammon||@Blaise_Gammon||☆☆☆☆☆||6'7"||210||Overland Park-Blue Valley West (KS)|
Wichita-Bishop Carroll (KS)
|TE||Curtis Stallbaumer||@stallbaumer_13||★★★☆☆||6'4"||260||Hutchinson CC
Former walkons now on scholarship: Dalton Converse, Will Geary, Joe Hubener, Ian Patterson, Nick Walsh, and Stanton Weber. Also, Bishop Carroll TE Brett Bell, expected to grayshirt, did not sign a letter of intent today, so isn't in the above list... but he's still a commit, and hasn't signed anywhere else.
The obvious reason why this class is better than it seems just based on stars: the near-complete reliance on high school talent. The class doesn't have big bangs that can be expected to come in and be huge contributors right away, but what the Wildcats sacrifice in that respect they will more than make up for in growth and experience.
Kansas State has successfully mined the junior college ranks to fill holes and bolster talent in the past, but Bill Snyder and his staff have still always done a better job of growing and molding quality players when they've got four or five years to work with them. We don't need to remind anyone of the players we're talking about; Collin Klein, John Hubert, Curry Sexton, Ty Zimmerman, B.J. Finney... these were all guys who came in as two-star talent or worse and ended up being stars.
But this class goes even further. All but a handful of today's signings are three-star recruits. If you question the value of three stars, let me just direct you to Tyler Lockett, Dante Barnett, and Danzel McDaniel. Several of this year's three-stars are highly-regarded even outside of Manhattan, and are expected to do great things as Wildcats.
Perhaps more telling, however, is this: some of these guys just missed being four-star recruits, and Sullivan and Shelley are four-stars at at least one service. Several members of K-State's class graded out at over 85 in 247's composite rankings, and at ESPN Barnes is rated as highly as Shelley (with Frantz and Walker right behind them).
It's a class light on Big Names, but heavy on quality players, and you would be correct to be excited. 2015 might be pretty rocky, but going forward Bill Snyder has positioned things pretty well.