Hi y’all, it’s National Signing Day! (early edition) and while high school recruiting has lost a bit of luster with the incredible suction power of the SUPER TRANSFER PORTAL!, recruiting is still (at this moment in time) the lifeblood of college football programs.
This is where Kansas State needs to be consistently good. It’s tough to land a quality transfer on the offensive line. Kansas State needs to grow their own. Mission accomplished on that front.
Offensive tackle Jalen Klemm (3* (87) 6’6”, 260) out of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania and Drake Bequeaith (3* (85) 6’5”, 260) out of Grapevine, Texas give the Wildcats two high-upside tackles for Connor Riley to mold. They’re similar in build to other offensive tackle prospects over the last few years. They’re athletic, with long arms and frames capable of carrying 300+ once they fill out. I know you’ve heard this before, but it might be a couple years before we know how this turns out. Solid clay for Coach Riley to try and mold.
Klemm is the highest rated offensive line recruit of the Klieman era and shows how how much the coaching profession values Coach Riley. Klemm’s father (Adrian Klemm) makes his living coaching linemen. He’s the current offensive line coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jalen had several significant P5 offers (Kentucky, NC State, Nebraska (if you still consider that significant)) but decided to make Manhattan home. I don’t think Jalen would be heading to K-State if pops didn’t trust the coaching ability of Connor Riley.
Bequeaith, like Klemm, is a long term investment. He’s a smart kid (Ivy League offers) that should stick around long enough for the coaching staff to find out what they’ve got on their hands. When he’s not pancaking defensive linemen, he moonlights as a track athlete, working on his explosive power in throwing events. I like the football/track (throwing) combination for offensive linemen only behind the football/wrestling combination. As an added bonus, Drake’s twin brother Dylan will be joining him in Manhattan as a PWO (preferred walk-on). At 6’3”, 230, Dylan is either a burly linebacker or an undersized guard...which to me screams human wrecking ball/fullback.
John Pastore (3* (85) 6’5”, 270) out of Erie, Colorado is listed as an interior guy, but could just as easily play tackle. Landing Pastore is a great sign for K-State recruiting. He’s considered a Top 10 recruit in Colorado and had other P5 options. Nebraska would have happily taken him but the Wildcats won out in the end because they were able to get him on campus for their Elite Camp (where he impressed the staff and earned his offer, along with Drake Bequeaith) and got him back on campus a couple times last summer (which is a scheduling miracle). We won’t know how this works out for another couple years, but he certainly fits the mold for Kansas State linemen.
This class needed at least three linemen. Landing a guy like Jake Klemm late (in the early recruiting window...I don’t know guys...it doesn’t make sense to me either) was a crucial pick up.
Losing a high 3*, in-state guy like Nick Herzog out of Blue Valley to Northwestern stings.
Overall Offensive Line Class Grade
This is a classic high ceiling, low floor offensive line class. Unless you have a time machine, it’s hard to hand out a grade. I like the potential of this class, and the Connor Riley has proven his ability to coach em’ up. I’ll slot them in at a B- at the moment, but this could end up being an A class over the next 4-5 years. Adding a 4th quality guy would bump this grade up to a solid B. I’m docking a 1⁄2 grade for only taking three.