Last week (6/18), 6’5”, 305 pound Hutchinson C.C. offensive tackle Kingsley Ugwu announced his late addition Kansas State’s 2021 recruiting class.
Last week I went after recruiting a bit because the coaching staff is struggling to close recruits at the top of their board. That remains a problem, but plaudits are in order for Coach Riley and company for closing Kingsley. They added a crucial piece of the offensive line puzzle, both short- and long-term, and beat out Texas Tech, Baylor, and Colorado in the process.
What He Brings to the Table
He’s a plug and play left tackle. I, and (I’m assuming) the coaching staff, expect him to come into fall camp and win the left tackle job. He’s a big, agile offensive lineman with a mean streak.
I’m not an expert at evaluating offensive line play, but I’m pretty good at reading between the lines when it comes to recruiting. Ugwu wouldn’t be a take if the coaching staff didn’t think he was a starter right out of the box. They’ve got plenty of developmental tackles on the roster, and there is nothing to gain by adding another in June. What they don’t have is a starting left tackle. They’ve got Cooper Beebe, but he’s a guard capable of playing tackle. There was a hole on the roster, and they miraculously filled it with a last minute JuCo tackle. Bill would be (and probably is) proud.
What It Means for the Team
Coach Riley wants to put his best 5 offensive linemen on the field, and until this addition, that wasn’t going to include a traditional left tackle.
Starters Before Ugwu (my guess)
Starters After Ugwu (my guess)
Ben Adler is the odd man out, but he’ll be in contention for the right guard spot, and will be a key player in the rotation. I haven’t given up on Kaitori Leveston, and think this addition helps him as well. I like him as an offensive lineman, but I don’t like him as a left tackle. This move could free him up to try his luck on the interior or at right tackle. He’s still a massive, strong human being, and getting him away from speed rushers at left tackle (assuming a guy like Carver Willis can step up as the back up left tackle) could get his career back on track.
He’s not a typical Junior College transfer. He has 4 years to play 3 seasons. Usually JuCo guys either have 2 years to play 2 seasons or 3 years to play 2 seasons. If he grabs the starting job, he could be the long term solution at the position. Locking down a starting left tackle for three seasons would be an absolute godsend for a coaching staff struggling to lock down top level tackle talent at the moment. They can continue to beat the bushes for high upside developmental talent because the timeline for needing a starting tackle is pushed out three more seasons.
If this works out, the coaching staff, at minimum, deserve an ice cream party. This is all conjecture at the moment, and he’ll have to prove it on the field, but if it works out, this is the equivalent of signing a 4* offensive tackle.