If you haven’t seen the movie Glenngarry Glen Ross, I recommend you open another window and enter the title of this article in YouTube for a better understanding of what I’m talking about in this article (it’s got plenty of cussing, so maybe don’t do it at the dinner table).
Now that you’ve got that out of the way. Let’s talk a little Kansas State recruiting.
It wasn’t a secret that Ricard Torres, a 3* quarterback out of San Antonio, was K-State’s top recruit on the quarterback board. Things with Torres looked favorable until they weren’t. The Wildcats had him on the line, but couldn’t reel him in while he was in Manhattan on his official visit. Nebraska got the next visit, he liked whatever it is Scott Frost is selling these days (not exactly sure what that could be) and committed to the Cornhuskers.
There are plenty of reasons (excuses?) why Nebraska was able to secure his commitment over Kansas State. Their quarterback depth is more appealing. They are still clutching desperately to their former “blue blood” status. Frost has some decent offensive credentials outside of his time in Lincoln to sell....etc. None of that matters. Recruiting is a zero-sum game, and you don’t get a silver medal.
Coach Klieman expects the players on the field to execute, and doesn’t suffer excuses. In the end, football is a results oriented business. You either succeed or fail. Their might be reasons (excuses?) why you fail, but it’s failure none the less. Not landing a quality quarterback like Torres is a failure.
There is no reason to sugar coat this for y’all. He’s a good player, and he fit the K-State system. The coaching staff dumped time and resources into his recruitment and got beat out by a floundering Nebraska program. He would have provided a boost in recruiting momentum and possibly helped recruit other players for the 2022 class and he might give Manhattan a wave as he drives through Kansas on the way to Nebraska.
I get it. Living and dying on the whims of 17-19 year old high school kids is a tough business, but it’s the business they chose, and are handsomely compensated for their time. Coffee is for closers and the Kansas State staff ended up with an empty cup.
Speaking of closers....
This one had to be a gut punch for the coaching staff. Herzog, a 3* offensive guard out of Stillwell, KS is the type of player K-State has built their program around. I had him as the top interior lineman on my recruiting board. Much like Torres, everything looked great with Herzog until it didn’t. He set up five visits this summer, including a trip to his presumed leader in Kansas State, but Northwestern got the first shot. Pat Fitzgerald and company didn’t let him get out of Evanston without closing him down.
I follow recruiting closer than most, and wasn’t particularly concerned when Herzog announced his verbal to Northwestern. Everyone has been stuck inside for the last year, and the pure excitement of getting out the house probably helped Herzog to commit in a heady rush of freedom. Those commitments are far from binding, and I thought K-State would have an opportunity to state their case. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards now because when I say Northwestern closed Herzog...they closed him all the way. As of now, he won’t be taking any other visits. I’m going to go ahead an assume that was part of the deal offered by Northwestern.
“We’ll accept your commitment as long as you cancel the rest of your visits.”
This is a tactic I’m familiar with because it’s the one Clemson uses to great effect. When a player commits to Clemson, they commit. If they want to look elsewhere, they have to decommit and their slot in the class is no longer guaranteed. It’s a hard sell, but recruiting is a hard business.
You’re either closing, or you’re looking for a new job in 2 or 3 years.
One guy that could be back on the board is my favorite in-state player in 2022. He made a surprise commitment to Iowa in February, and while I have no inside information, I wasn’t convinced it was a permanent commitment. That was further solidified in my mind last weekend when he was on campus for an unofficial visit with current commit Silas Etter.
This didn’t appear to be a “going to go hang out with my boy and enjoy the college life” type of visit. He posted pics of he and Etter in K-State uniforms on social media, and by all appearances, was receptive to listening to the coaching staff.
Does this mean he’s going to decommit from Iowa?
Nope. It doesn’t mean that at all.
I would rather buy Iowa than any other program (just in terms of signing Crawford of course because Iowa is circling the drain), but there is a glimmer of hope. It’s not a great lead, but it’s a lead none-the-less. I’ll be interested to see how aggressively the staff pursues Crawford as an Iowa commit. I can guarantee you Kirk Ferentz would be pulling out all the stops if K-State signed a kid from Iowa he liked. It’s a cut throat business and if you’re not the one cutting throats, you’re getting your throat cut.
There is no reason to panic, but there is ample justification for concern. Coach Klieman’s time in Manhattan will be dictated by his ability to out recruit Bill Snyder. I think he did that with his second recruiting class, but the 2022 class isn’t looking great. The guys currently signed are good players, no doubt, but they’re players Coach Snyder could have snagged as well. This is an important class for the Wildcats, and they need win recruiting battles against the Nebraska's and Northwestern's of the world.
Missing out on an in-state guy like Jaren Kanak is tough, but at least you’re losing out to teams like Alabama and Clemson. That’s a different tier of offer. Losing your top quarterback to Nebraska and your top interior lineman to Northwestern is less forgivable. There will be plenty of opportunities to close talented players in the coming weeks.
The coaching staff needs to win the Cadillac. No one needs a set of plastic handled steak knives.