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Slate: Recruiting has improved K-State’s defensive depth

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Getting closer to a season. But COVID threatens.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Kansas State
AJ Parker will lead a fresh-faced K-State secondary in 2020.
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Previously

Since our last installment of the Slate, BracketCat has continued the steady countdown to (tentative) kickoff of the football season with introductions of Ryan Hennington, Nick Ast, and Jonathan Alexander. Eighteen days to go. This could actually happen.

Football

Yesterday’s big news was the commitment of Georgia defensive end prospect Ozzie Hoffler. Drew Schneider analyzed Hoffler’s addition to the 2021 recruiting class, including video highlights showing a lean, 6’3, 220-pound athlete who uses elite speed to be a disruptive force in the opponents’ backfield.

Kellis Robinett (the Star) delved into the impact Coach Kleiman’s recruiting has already had on the K-State defense, particularly in back end of the defense, which will perform without the services of Jonathan Alexander (Covid-19 opt-out) and Walter Neil (transfer), but feels optimistic nevertheless, with Minnesota transfer Kiondre Thomas, junior college transfer Justin Gardner, sophomore Lance Robinson and freshman T.J. Smith. Defensive coordinator Joe Klanderman sees competition among the group that suggests depth at the position may be a strength, even though the Wildcats will not have all the players they anticipated having when practices began.

After naming K-State’s beating of Oklahoma the Big 12’s biggest upset in 2019-2020, Athlon Sports predicts Klieman’s bunch will pull off another upset this season. Meanwhile, ESPN believes K-State being excluded from the Top-25 was the biggest snub of the AP preseason college football poll.

Soccer

Mike Dibbini’s soccer squad is working on conditioning and chemistry while, like everyone in the college sports world, they prepare beneath a cloud of uncertainty. By this time last year, the squad had already played three exhibition matches and had 11 more matches on the docket before embarking on league play. At present, the athletic department website does not include a schedule for soccer matches, and it appears likely that only league games will be played, if the team gets to play at all.

Pandemic News

Obligatory only because it impacts the seasons that we are still hoping to enjoy: The State of Kansas yesterday reported 1,545 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, which included 87 students and two faculty members at Kansas, 13 fraternity members at K-State, and a student at an unnamed Kansas college or university who has been hospitalized with multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with the virus. Governor Kelly expressed a preference for delaying the start of sports—particularly contact sports—until the Spring, in the hope that a vaccine may be developed by then.