Chris Klieman is in a pretty good mood today, as are most college football coaches. It’s National Signing Day, and 23 new athletes have officially signed their intent to play for the Kansas State Wildcats. Hard not to be happy about that.
Several guys are already on campus and practicing with the team. Klieman noted having James Gilbert already in the program is huge for the running back group, and brings a ton of experience as a grad transfer. He didn’t expect him to step right in and be a leader, rather he just wanted another good running back on the roster. He also noted JUCO transfer Jonathan Alexander, who was able to enroll in January, as someone who came in physically ready to play right away.
Klieman noted an emphasis on skill positions and defensive tackles in this period, and they reeled several of those guys in. Both Kenny Givens and Matthew Pola-Mao are big guys that were added very late, and some big things on tape. With the skill positions, the additions of RB Thomas Grayson, WR Joshua Youngblood (who Klieman singled out as possibly the steal of the class), and DB Kenyon Reed add elite speed to their positions, with Grayson and Youngblood as “sub 10.8” guys, and Reed as a “sub 10.6 100” guy (that’s FAST). And DB Tyrone Lewis and RB Clyde Price, who might have been the speed demons in previous years, aren’t far behind. They wanted guys “who could run”, but they also wanted guys who wanted to be at K-State, and Klieman said they were able to get both with every player.
Wildcat fans will notice two west coast players on the roster, and Klieman noted that the Wildcats intended to recruit from coast to coast. But that said, he plans on making Kansas, and this region, as his base. Kleiman was also pretty up-front about how his coaches will be recruiting, and will send as many guys as possible at recruits so that many coaches are recruiting the same player. And he said they wouldn’t shy away from name-dropping former Wildcats, like using the Lockett name in Tulsa.
Another big takeaway was on these new guys playing, and he mentioned that he’d like to use all four games (at least) of the redshirt availability under the new rules. It may not come all up front, but he expects to see all of these guys on the field at some point during the season because he believes that using that as an incentive helps the guys grow as college football players.
Overall, this class addressed needs at key positions like running back, defensive back, and defensive tackle, while adding the kind of depth across the board that keeps the program stable year-to-year. It may not rate as highly as Wildcat fans would eventually like to see, but there has been a talent infusion to the Wildcat football program that will help Klieman build a strong foundation.