We’re getting this to you a little late, but tomorrow is the start of the early signing period for football, meaning it’s National Signing Day (part one).
Thanks to the pandemic, recruiting the 2021 class has been anything but normal. Recruits haven’t been allowed to make official visits, coaches haven’t been allowed to make off-campus visits, and other restrictions associated with the continually extended dead period have made things difficult on every staff in the USA. Well, maybe not every staff, but definitely for programs like Kansas State that are trying to compete with the big boys but without some of the inherent advantages.
The Wildcats, especially under Chris Klieman, expect to be able to get recruits on campus and sell them on Manhattan and K-State; because it really is something you need to experience since the picture you get on sports broadcasts paints a picture of a dusty hole in the wall in BFE. Plus they want to get kids to camps so they can get a better picture of marginal prospects and get a good sense of “fit” with the culture of the program. But all that has been out the window this year, so this staff is not as far ahead on this class as they want to be, and have lost some recruits they might have gotten had they been able to see them on campus (and they might miss out on a gem because they can’t get him to a camp).
But, headed into the early signing period, there are still 17 young men who have verbally pledged their services to the Wildcats and Klieman.
(Position, hometown, and height & weight are from Rivals’ database; rankings are 247/Rivals/ESPN)
- Andrew Leingang, OL, Bismarck, ND, 6’5” 260, 3/3/3
- Austin Weiner, OL, Gardner, KS, 6’7” 255, 3/3/3
- Brayden Wood, DE, Longmont, CO, 6’3” 257, 3/3/3
- Brenen Hawkins, WR, Godley, TX, 6’4” 206, 3/3/3
- Damian Ilalio, DT, Manhattan, KS, 6’1” 265, 3/3/3
- Darell Jones, DB, Coffeyville, KS, 5’11” 166, 3/3/3
- Davonte Pritchard, DB, Gardner, KS, 6’1” 195, 3/3/3
- Desmond Purnell, DB, Topeka, KS, 6’0” 195, 3/2/3
- Devrin Weathers, ATH, Webb City, MO, 6’1” 190, 3/3/3
- Dorian Stephens, ATH, Stillwell, KS, 6’2” 187, 3/3/3
- Gaven Haselhorst, LB, Hays, KS, 6’1” 230, 3/2/3
- Jake Rubley, QB, West Des Moines, IA, 6’3” 195, 4/4/4
- Krew Jackson, LB, Queen Creek, AZ, 6’5” 200, 3/3/3
- Marvin Martin, DB, Cedar Hill, TX, 6’1” 180, 3/3/3
- Omar Daniels, DB, Moultrie, GA, 6’0” 180, 3/3/3
- Ozzie Hoffler, DE, College Park, GA, 6’3” 215, 3/3/3
- RJ Garcia, WR, Tampa, FL, 6’1” 175, 3/3/3
This list shows Klieman’s early promise to focus heavily on Kansas and the Kansas City metro area, while also grabbing elite talent from the region, and a smattering of a few kids from further afield. Pretty similar to how he recruited at North Dakota State. Of the 17, there are seven Kansans, including three from the KC metro, and one almost Kansan, Webb City’s Devrin Weathers (seriously, Webb City is closer to Kansas than Blue Springs or Lee’s Summit). There are two each from Georgia, Texas, and Colorado (yes, Jake Rubley is actually from Colorado, not Iowa), and one each from Arizona, Florida, and North Dakota.
This class also features K-State’s first consensus 4-star recruit, Rubley, since Josh Freeman signed way back as part of the 2006 class. Rubley is listed as high as #25 nationally, all positions, by ESPN, and #192 by 247Sports. He’s also planning on enrolling early, so he will be available for the, hopefully mostly normal, spring practice session. Rubley is not the only recruit expected to enroll early. He is expected to be joined by long-time friend Brayden Wood, as well as high school teammates Austin Wiener and Davonte Pritchard. There could be more, but most of the chatter has been about those four.
There is also at least one commit that is not expected to sign tomorrow, as Dorian Stephens needs to do some more work academically to qualify. He could still sign in the spring, or even take a greyshirt year in 2021 to get his grades up if needed. On the positive side, there could be a few names get added to this list tomorrow, if there are guys ready to commit to the Wildcats and sign their name to their National Letter of Intent. Though don’t expect those to come in the form of D1 transfers, who don’t need to sign an NLI and have until the start of next semester to get their paperwork submitted and get enrolled.
We’ll have an open thread on Wednesday that will get updated as commits sign, and we’ll also have some wrap-up posts over the next few days from Drew.