Kansas State’s new coaching staff, led by Chris Klieman, won the dang day. The Wildcats had several holes to fill on the second signing day after having limited time to put together their class during the first signing period. There were several key prospects in play today, and with the exception of LB Gavin Potter defecting to the enemy, the staff knocked it out of the park.
I’ve covered a few of these guys in depth, and will get around to the other guys (because it’s a long offseason and I need stuff to talk about) but here is a taste of the talent heading to Manhattan.
Matthew Pola-Mao - DT - 3* (88) - 6’2, 295 - Chandler High School (Chandler, AZ)
This is a massive pick up for the Wildcats. Defensive tackle is one of the hardest positions to recruit and Pola-Mao is a good one. He’s a nose tackle all the way, and having an anchor in the interior of the defense is a crucial for success.
K-State not only beat out home state Arizona and Arizona State for Pola-Mao, but the big man also held offers from schools like Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, USC and Washington. I have no idea if those were committable offers but it shows a nation wide interest in his talent at the very least.
Kenyon Reed - CB - 3* (83) - 5’11, 165 - Long Beach Polly High School (Long Beach, CA)
The Wildcats pulled off a mild upset in securing Reed’s signature over home state UCLA. Reed is slightly built, but quick defensive back who projects as a slot corner in college. Slot corner is often times overlooked but is a crucial component in a solid defense. Smaller, quick receivers are a staple in most offenses, subsequently, smaller, quick defensive backs are also a staple in most defenses.
Defensive Coordinator Scottie Hazelton says he wants to play tight coverage and having a player like Reed in the slot can help facilitate that game plan. Reed has the quick twitch, athletic ability to contribute early in his career if he can put on some good weight. He also has the potential to contribute as both a kick and punt returner.
Tyrone Lewis - S - 3*(86) - 6’0, 185 - Hammond High School (Hammond, LA)
The Louisiana to Kansas State connection paid off again with Lewis. At one point in his recruitment, Utah was the favorite to land Lewis, but the new Wildcat staff was able to make their move late and secure his services.
K-State needs help in the secondary, and Lewis can help with that. He played safety in high school and that’s where he will begin his college career. He doesn’t have ideal size for the position, but his play making ability is sorely needed in the defensive back field. He’s a ball hawk and plays with an attitude.
Clyde Price - RB - 3*(82) - 6’1, 220 - North Kansas City High School - (Kansas City, MO)
I wrote about the jumbo sized running back last week so I’ll keep this extra quick. Price is a physically mature back who is capable of playing in 2019. There were some questions surrounding his ability to qualify, but if those questions have been answered in the affirmative, the Wildcats are getting a tall, strong back with surprising speed in the open field. Price was a big pick up at a position of desperate need.
Joshua Youngblood - ATH - 3*(84) - 5’11, 170 - Berkley Prep High School (Tampa, FL)
Youngblood is another player I covered last week. He brings hot, nasty speed to the ‘19 recruiting class. He’ll be a Swiss Army knife player early in his career as he transitions from quarterback to (presumably) slot wide receiver.
Just to clear up something that came up in the comment section of my last article. His ability to run faster than other fast people could get him on the field sooner rather than later, and I’m certain he’ll at least get a look in the return game. It might take him a few years to become a polished wide receiver, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be valuable in numerous other ways while he figures out the intricacies of running the option route.
Kenny Givens - DT/DE - 3*(83) - 6’4, 270 - Hubbard High School (Chicago, IL)
Givens, a one time Toledo commit is a hard player to evaluate because I have no idea if he’s a 6’4, 245 DE (per 247) or a 6’4 270 DE/DT (per Rivals). Either way, that’s a nice frame for a defensive lineman. I’m inclined to believe Rivals on this one, just because I can see the potential from him to gain 25 pounds more than I can see him losing 25 pounds.
The Wildcats need defensive line help, and it is easy to see Givens as a contributor down the line. He’s a tall defensive linemen who played at end in high school, but could make an interesting 3 tech defensive tackle in college. I’m not sure he’s an instant impact guy, but he’s an excellent piece of clay for the new staff to mold.
Thomas Grayson - RB - 3*(85) - 6’0, 190 - Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, OK)
K-State is in desperate need of running backs and Grayson, is, in fact, a running back. That alone makes him an important “get” in this class. The fact that he’s a good player is icing on the cake. The Wildcats beat out Nebraska for his services, which is an extra bonus.
Grayson’s quick feet and acceleration is a nice compliment to Clyde Price’s size and strength. He’s good in the open field and has a solid burst. It’s hard to evaluate guys on highlight film, but he looks the part of a high level running back. He can make guys miss in the open field and has a great burst.
Based on numbers alone, I expect to see Grayson in ‘19.
This staff started in the 2019 recruiting cycle in a hole, and managed to not only climb out of the hole, but lay down a solid foundation for the 2020 recruiting class. They needed to close several players late, and I think they did an excellent job. I would not be surprised at all to see several players in the ‘19 class make immediate contributions to the EMAW cause.