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Kansas State Football Recruiting: Defense 2022

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I covered the offense earlier, now it’s time to look at needs on the defense for 2022.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

I took a look at the needs on offense for 2022 earlier this week. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can find it HERE.

Since you’ve already checked out the offense, I’ll skip the chatter and get straight to the defense. The Kansas State Wildcats don’t have many defensive needs (as of this moment) on defense for the 2022 class.

2021 Seniors By Position

Defensive End

Players Out: 2

Wyatt Hubert

Kirmari Gainous

Hubert is obviously a huge loss. There is a small chance he leaves for the NFL after this (hypothetical) season but I don’t think that happens. Granted, I don’t know his family situation, but if he’s in good shape on that front, he looks like a four year player.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s an absolute beast, but he doesn’t have the length the NFL likes in first round picks at defensive end, and if he’s not a first rounder, he probably shouldn’t go early. One thing that helps Wyatt dominate in college is his ability to slide down from his defensive end spot and into the 3-technique DT position. He’s going to need to bulk up substantially for that to be an option in the NFL. I watched Clelin Ferrell (former Clemson DE) try and do that in Oakland this season and he struggled at 6’4, 275. Hubert is currently listed a 6’3, 256.

This isn’t to say Hubert isn’t an incredible player, but I think we’ll see him (if we see anyone) in 2020 and 2021. Having someone capable of his production for 2 seasons on the defensive line is huge for the Wildcats.

I don’t have much to say about Gainous yet. He’s a JuCo guy out of Hutchinson CC who will have every opportunity to impress the next two seasons. He’s built a little like Hubert, at 6’3, 250-ish and I expect for him to be utilized in a similar fashion. College guards hate when smaller, quick guys slide down and pass rush.

I think this is a two-in, two-out situation but could be bumped up to three if the right three players are available.

Players In: 2-3

Defensive Tackle

Players Out: 3

Eli Huggins

Robert Hentz II

Derick Newton

Huggins came out of West Forsyth High School (GA) as a bit of a tweener. The recruiting services were split on his position, with 247 seeing his as a ready to go strong side defensive end and Rivals seeing him as more of a developmental defensive tackle. He took the defensive tackle route at Kansas State and after three seasons of developing, Huggins should be ready to show what he’s got on the field over the next two seasons.

Robert Hentz II is a junior college guy out of NW Mississippi CC and like Huggins, is a smaller (it’s wild to say that about someone who weighs 275) 3-technique defensive tackle.

Newton, like Hentz, is a junior college addition to the roster. He’s coming out of Butler CC and will most likely play 3-technique, but could potentially see some time at nose if he bulks up.

Nose guards are the hardest to find, I usually start there and then move on to 3-technique tackle. You can always move a big defensive end down a spot (like Huggins), but it’s harder to move 3-tech guys to nose guard. In most cases, nose guards are born to be nose guards and it’s hard to make them in the lab.

This might end up being a small defensive class (hopefully it is, meaning most other recruits pan out and there isn’t a bunch of transfers). If it is, it’s probably three-in and three-out at defensive tackle unless you find four that you love. It’s also possible that they move back at this spot and only take two, but it’s hard to have too many defensive tackles on your squad.

Players In: 2-4

Linebacker

Players Out - 0

Not a huge need at linebacker, but I think you take one if you like him. Linebackers are the Swiss Army knife guys that can play on all the special teams as well. No need to reach, but I’m sure there will be at least one linebacker the coaching staff covets in 2022.

Players In: 0-1

Cornerback

Players Out: 1

Justin Gardner

Gardner is another member of the 2020 JuCo class. He’s a big, outside corner with great height at 6’2. I expect him to come in and compete for time right away.

Corner is another spot where you usually want to take at least one guy, because you usually have at least one corner you love.

Players In: 1-2

Safety

Players Out: 0

The secondary, as I mentioned above, isn’t a huge need in 2022 unless there are some defections in other classes. Based on the current trends in college football, you can usually count on one or two.

Safety, like linebacker, is a spot you can over sign and still find places on the field for guys to play. This is doubly true if you end up playing three safeties in your nickel or dime package. Like corner, I think the staff finds a guy the like and goes all in, if they miss, no pressure to move down the list (barring transfers of course).

Players In: 0-1

Overall

Defensive tackle is the key spot for the 2022 class on defense. That’s one of the hardest positions to recruit in college football, and finding three quality players is tough for most teams. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mix of high school and junior college players at that position.

Outside of defensive tackle, Kansas State has a chance to be extremely selective on defense in the 2022 class. That’s the perfect time to go big game hunting for 4* recruits. A smaller recruiting board without many desperate needs allows you to focus your resources on a guy that you may not get without many repercussions if you don’t get him.

Next week I’ll get to work on some 2022 player profiles I find interesting.

Y’all stay safe.