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National Signing Day 2017 Roundup: Defense

With NSD only a day away, lets take a look at the recruits on defense

NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Kansas State vs Texas A&M Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With National Signing Day 2017 only a day away, it’s time to take a look at what recruits the Kansas State Wildcat coaches have secured for the newest class.

The 2017 class is deep on defense, as at least 12 of the current 22 recruits are on the defense, and every position group has at least two scholarship players ready to sign (or already signed up). Also, the biggest “question mark” recruits, guys we are still in the running for, are on defense. And that makes sense, as the biggest losses to depth for the Cats were on defense this year.

*All star rankings are off of 247’s Composite ratings.


Two of the biggest names of the 2017 recruiting class are defensive ends, and both will have the opportunity to challenge for the spot vacated by Jordan Willis’ graduation.

  • Wyatt Hubert, 3-star DE, 6’3” 240lb, Tecumseh, KS (Shawnee Heights)
  • Anthony Payne, 3-star DE, 6’2” 255lb, Peculiar, MO (Raymore-Peculiar)
  • Xavier Davis, 3-star DE, 6’6” 250lb, Tucson, AZ (Pima C.C.) (JUCO)
  • Eli Huggins, 3-star DT, 6’4” 285lb, Cumming, GA (West Forsyth)
  • Drew Wiley, 2-star DT, 6’4” 290lb, Vinton, IA (Vinton-Shellsburg)

Hubert, Davis, and Huggins are all early enrollees, and while Hubert and Huggins have to wait until NSD to hand in their official NLI’s, Davis did sign back in December during the JUCO early signing period.

Hubert was an under-the-radar guy early last spring when he became one of the first commits to the 2017 class. But his profile exploded during the summer as he impressed at every camp he attended. He held the top spot among Wildcat recruits in the 247 Sports composite ratings during the fall season, and is listed near the top of the rankings with all services.

Payne was a big name before the summer camp season, and just proved his rankings with strong showings. He committed during an early flurry in June when K-State picked up several local recruits to the 2017 class. Payne, like Hubert, is listed as one of the top recruits in every service’s list, and took the top spot from Hubert in the 247 Sports composite after the end of the season. Unlike Hubert, he’ll have to wait until this summer to start making an impact for the Cats.

Davis came out of nowhere, and didn’t even appear to play last season. Noone has reported why he actually sat out, but it’s generally believed to be an injury. He was originally committed to Oregon State, but chose the Wildcats late. There have also been rumors of him switching positions, possibly to tight end.

Huggins committed during the summer flurry, and was the first off of Andre Coleman’s Georgia pipeline of the 2017 class. While listed by most services as a DT, he could also move outside to DE.

Wiley is the lowest-rated player of the 2017 class. He was kind of a surprise pick-up out of tiny Vinton-Shellsburg HS in Iowa, a team that barely won two games this year. Don’t be surprised if he takes a greyshirt, but will definitely be a redshirt candidate.


The Wildcat linebacking corps is losing it’s two biggest pieces this offseason, one due to graduation and one due to the NFL Draft. One is the natural course of things, but it’s a blessing and a curse to have a player that’s good enough to leave school early for the NFL. Elijah Lee was expected to be the chief captain of not only the LB’s, but also the defense next season, and replacing him will be no easy task.

  • Danny Walker, 3-star LB, 6’3” 215lb, Wheaton, Il (Wheaton North)
  • Da’Quan Patton, 3-star LB, 6’2” 215lb, Cedar Park, TX (Trinity Valley C.C.) (JUCO)
  • Mason Barta, 2-star LB, 6’2” 205lb Holton, KS (Holton) (2016 Greyshirt)

Walker was offered as soon as Elijah Lee declared for the draft, and accepted not long after. K-State is his lone P5 offer, but analysts have said he’s been flying under the radar and are calling him Lee 2.0.

Patton is an interesting story that just cropped up last night. He qualified for early enrollment, and originally signed with Cal last December. But with the coaching change, he was able to get out of his NLI and has instead joined the Wildcats in Manhattan. According to various reports, he is already enrolled and on campus.

Barta, son of former Wildcat great LB Brooks Barta, was a 2016 graduate but deferred enrollment until 2017 (greyshirt). He is already on campus for the spring 2017 semester.

Defensive Backs

Safety was the biggest need in the defensive backfield, as the Cats lost both Dante Barnett and Donnie Starks to graduation. It appears Starks’ spot on the field has a replacement, but Barnett’s spot, as well as both roster spots, will need to be filled.

  • Josh Brown, 3-star DB, 6’1” 205lb, Fairburn, GA (Langston Hughes)
  • Antonio Oliver, 3-star CB, 6’0” 185lb, Grovetown, GA (Grovetown)
  • Isaiah Stewart, 3-star S, 5’11” 183lb, DeSoto, TX (DeSoto)

Brown was the second player out of the Georgia pipeline, committing to K-State in late August. He’s likely to play safety at K-State, but has the speed to play outside if needed. He put up solid numbers for Langston Hughes during their 2016 season.

Oliver and Stewart are both very new to the 2017 class, both committing just last weekend, Stewart on Saturday, Oliver on Sunday. Stewart, a true safety was originally committed to Nevada, but flipped late to K-State. Oliver is a true CB, and was the third Georgian in the current class.


These are confirmed walk-ons from Kansas (h/t

  • Keyon Saunders, DB, 6’2” 190lb, Valley Center (Valley Center)
  • Landry Weber, DB/WR, 5’10” 170lb, Kansas City (Bishop Miege) (yes, Stan Weber’s son, Stanton Weber’s brother)

Jury’s Still Out

These guys have strong interest in K-State, but have not yet decided

  • Daniel Green, 3-star LB, 6’3” 230lb, Portland, OR (Madison)
  • Elijah Walker, 3/4-star S, 6’3” 210lb, Norwalk, CA (Cerritos College) (JUCO)

Green took an official visit two weeks ago, and apparently hit it off with LB coach Mike Cox. His mom tweeted that she enjoyed the visit as well, but he also took an official visit to Mississippi this last weekend and enjoyed his time there as well. He’s a NSD decision.

Walker is a bit on an enigma at this point. He was previously committed to K-State, then de-committed and appeared to be a lock to go to TCU. But TCU’s class is basically complete now, and former Cerritos teammate and current K-State CB D.J. Reed has been making a strong push to get Walker back to K-State.