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Previewing the Wildcats 2017: Fullbacks

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Dimel has proved himself on the field, regardless of what the name on his jersey says.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Well we previewed the running backs yesterday, and proceeded to leave out a very important part of the Wildcat running game. So they get their own preview. It’s not a large group by any means, at least not in number, but K-State’s fullbacks are integral enough to the Wildcat offense to really deserve thier own reflection.

We’ll start with the starter for the unit, Winston Dimel. Many people cried “nepotism” when Dimel first trotted out to replace then-presumptive-starter Glenn Gronkowski in 2015 as a freshman, but Dimel has certainly proved his worth on the football field.

Dimel started all 13 games in 2015, racking up six rushing touchdowns as well as 261 receiving yards on only eight receptions, including a 4-yard TD catch from Gronkowski. For his efforts in the 2015 season he was named First Team All-Big 12 by the leagues coaches, and was the on freshman on the first team, and the first freshman Wildcat on the first team since 1996.

2016 was more of the same, starting all 13 games and racking up 12 rushing touchdowns while gaining 66 receiving yards on only six catches. Again, Dimel was named First Team All-Big 12 by the leagues coaches.

Oh, and Dimel blocks pretty well too — which is a key component of the fullback position.

So Dimel will start again in 2017, that’s pretty obvious. But whoever backs him up is the question.

In 2016 Austin Katsorelos was the primary backup, but he has since graduated. Listed third on the depth chart much of the season was Chase Johnston, but Johnston has since moved back to linebacker (and in the thick of the playing time battle there).

This season, the depth chart lists tight end Nick Lenners as the primary backup, signaling that the K-State coaching staff wants to make sure they’ve got a big guy back there that can also catch a pass for any play-option-pass (POP) plays. Listed third is Terrance Richards, who is undersized for the fullback position at only 5’9”, 215lbs, but seems to be a hard worker and is a K-State legacy — his father, Terry, played for the Cats at the end of the 80’s, with his final season coming in 1989.

Also to watch for is incoming freshman Mason Barta. Barta’s father, Brooks, was a standout at linebacker for the Cats in the early 90’s, and Mason is not much smaller that Winston Dimel. Barta is also coming off a greyshirt season and will likely redshirt. The kid can run, though, and notched 1,051 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Kansas 4A power Holton.