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SLATE: Thompson & Yeast shine in Shrine Bowl

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Plus some basketball stuff.

NCAA Football: East/West Shrine Game Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Football

A month after leading the Kansas State Wildcats to victory in the Texas Bowl, Skylar Thompson and Russ Yeast were able to put their talents on display for NFL scouts in the 97th East-West Shrine Bowl yesterday. Yeast started at safety for the East squad, making several important tackles and showing well in coverage throughout the game. Skylar Thompson came in at QB for the West squad after halftime, and threw a touchdown pass and a beautiful fade pass for the 2-pt conversion on his opening drive (where he went a perfect 4-4 passing), and then led his squad down for what would end up being the game-winning score later in the game. Thompson was also talked up heavily by the crew calling the game, and was even chosen as the “face” of the victors by the NFL Network’s social media team.

Since we last brought you a Slate, the 2022 recruiting class became nearly complete with the official signings of four more student-athletes to scholarships. The now 17-man class added signees quarterback Adryan Lara (Goodyear, AZ; Desert Edge), defensive back Jacob Parrish (Olathe, KS; Olathe North), athlete Tyson Struber (Galva, KS; Canton-Galva) and community-college defensive tackle Vaai Seumalo (Maunaloa, HI; Garden City CC).

There are also five FBS transfers that were officially announced on Wednesday, and who are on campus already and eligible to participate in spring drills (though a couple are still recovering from injuries sustained last season). They are defensive back Josh Hayes (Lakeland, Fla.; North Dakota State/Virginia), linebacker Will Honas (Wichita, Kan.; Nebraska), linebacker Branden Jennings (Jacksonville, Fla.; Maryland), quarterback Adrian Martinez (Fresno, Calif.; Nebraska) and defensive back Shawn Robinson (Saginaw, Texas; TCU/Missouri). (The two Nebraska transfers are ones still recovering from injury, so it just goes to show that you shouldn’t go to Nebraska, it will break you.)

The transfer number, both FBS and JUCO, is expected to go up after spring practices are completed and more players become available in the portal and 2022 needs are fully assessed.

Basketball

There were two games on Wednesday, and the Wildcats went 1-1, though maybe not the way you would have expected before the games happened.

The K-State women struggled to find any sort of offense all evening, and fell to No. 11/10 Iowa State 70-55. Ayoka Lee managed just 12 points and 8 rebounds through a Cyclone defense that made Lee uncomfortable all game and decided to force the rest of the Wildcats to beat them. And it was clearly a sound strategy with Jaelyn Glenn the lone other Wildcat in double figures, and 17 of her 19 points coming in the 4th frame with the game basically out of reach. Next up for the Cats is a home tilt against Texas Tech, who surprised the Wildcats in Lubbock a few weeks ago for one of their two conference wins, with a 6:30pm CT contest on Saturday that will be (of course) on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

The men’s Wednesday night ended up being a lot better, at least at the finish, as K-State escaped with a 71-68 win over Oklahoma State thanks to a beautiful 3-point make by Nijel Pack from NBA range with just a couple seconds left to break a 68-68 tie and secure victory for the Wildcats. It was K-State’s first win in four tries, and bumped the Wildcats out of last place in the conference into a four-way tie for 6th (or 9th depending on your perspective). Next up for the Cats is a road trip to Ft. Worth to take on a TCU team that is somewhat surprisingly sitting at 4th place in the conference standings after looking like a bottom-feeder with the Cats when the two met in Bramlage in mid-January. That game is set for 7pm CT on Saturday and will be broadcast on ESPNU.

In case you were curious, the referee, Larry Spaulding, who had to leave Wednesday night’s game early has been released from the hospital and is doing well. He left the game after feeling light-headed, leaving just Doug Sirmons and Mike Roberts to finish the game.

K-State announced on Thursday that Drew Speraw will be leaving his post as the men’s basketball director of operations to head out west, as he has been selected as the Associate Commissioner for Basketball at the Western Athletic Conference. Speraw has been on Bruce Weber’s staff since his arrival in 2012, starting as the programs video coordinator in the 2012-13 season, before being promoted to his current role with the Wildcats.