WILDCATS HAVE HOLES TO FILL … ESPECIALLY ON D

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State had a dozen senior starters on the field when it lined up against Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Where will the replacements come from? Well, the Brown brothers – Bryce and Arthur – are expected to be two new starters to come from within the program, while other gaps will be plugged to members of the 2011 recruiting class.

Quarterback and offensive line on offense; defensive line and cornerbacks on defense. Outline the Kansas State needs with this year's recruiting class that will be announced on Wednesday, and those are the areas that were identified as where the Wildcats need immediate help.

When K-State lined up against Syracuse in the 2010 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, it had a senior quarterback in Carson Coffman, a senior running back in Daniel Thomas, senior wide receivers in Aubrey Quarles and Adrian Hilburn, plus senior offensive linemen Zach Kendall and Kenneth Mayfield at the two guard spots, plus center Wade Weibert.

On the flip side of the ball were senior defensive ends Prizell Brown and Antonio Felder, plus cornerbacks Terrance Sweeney and Stephen Harrison.

Oh yes, don't forget long-snapper Corey Adams, who was 100 percent on-target with his snaps throughout his four-year career.

Here's a look at the in-house talent to replace those 12 graduating seniors, plus a hint as to where this year's recruiting class could fill position vacancies.

OFFENSE:

WIDE RECEIVER – A STRENGTH OF THE TEAM.

While K-State started a pair of senior wide receivers against Syracuse, the position is in good hands as they were taking the place of the injured Brodrick Smith and Tramiane Thompson.

Smith was K-State's top target through five games with 14 catches for 191 yards, while Thompson caught 19 passes in seven games. With the return of Chris Harper with 25 catches for 330 yards, that position has a quality 1-2-3 start going into the 2011 season.

QUARTERBACK – KLEIN'S THE MAN:

While the talents of Coffman were belittled for the majority of the season, remember that his 65 percent completion rate and overall efficiency rating set school records for a single season.

Colin Klein, a 6-5, 230-pound junior will open spring camp as the man behind center after getting two starts in 2010 when he completed 11-of-18 passes for 138 yards, plus rushed for 430 yards to rank second on the team.

With redshirt freshman Billy Cosh opting to leave the program, looking to be next in line will be returnee Sammuel Lamur, or Blinn College transfer Justin Tuggle, a 6-3, 225-pounder and native of Duluth, Ga.

Playing only a handful of series, Lamur completed all three of his passes for 28 yards, plus had 20 yards rushing on three carries.

RUNNING BACK – BROWN HAS TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW:

K-State is hoping not to blink at running back even with the departure of Thomas, who ended his two-year career second in rushing yardage only to Darren Sproles.

First in line to take his place will be 6-0, 216-pound Bryce Brown, a product of the Wichita high school ranks and transfer from Tennessee, where he put up modest numbers of 231 yards in 2009 as a freshman.

"He's everything that everybody expects him to be," said Thomas of Brown's efforts this past year on the scout team. "He's fast. He's physical. He's going to be real good, I think." Other candidates will come from sophomore John Hubert, Hutchinson Junior College transfer Angelo Pease, and redshirt-freshman DeMarcus Robinson of Wichita Northwest High School.

All have talent, but none have experience. The Wildcats are set at fullback with the return of junior-to-be Braden Wilson, who rushed for six yards on seven carries, plus caught seven passes for 63 yards.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN – INSIDE HELP NEEDED:

The Wildcats are set at tackle with the return of its top four in Manase Foketi (6-5, 300, Sr) and Clyde Aufner (6-5, 300, Sr) as starters, and Kaleb Drinkgern (6-5, 281, Sr) and Zach Hanson (6-8, 305, Sr) as backups. Another who could emerge would be Cornelius Lucas (6-8, 318, Soph).

Targeted as a potential starter at center will be BJ Finney (6-4, 292, R-Fr), who was this year's Scout Team Player of the Year. Vying for the starting job will be Shaun Simon, a 6-2, 315-pound transfer from Hutchinson Community College.

Top candidates at guard would be Keenan Taylor (6-4, 280, Soph), Ethan Douglas (6-6, 300, Jr), Colten Freeze (6-4, 294, Sr), plus Nick Puetz (6-4, 303, Jr, transfer from Wyoming last year) and Jordan Allred (6-2, 300, Soph). Replacing 60 percent of the line could be a challenge.

TIGHT END – STEADY:

K-State returns its top two tight ends in junior Travis Tannahill and sophomore Andre McDonald. This past year Tannahill caught seven passes for 103 yards and McDonald five passes for 76 yards.

DEFENSE:

DEFENSIVE LINE – HELP WANTED/NEEDED!:

Returning at defensive ends are junior Brandon Harold and senior Kadero Terrell. Harold was decorated with all-Big 12 honors as a freshmen, but has not returned to that form as this past year his numbers included only 41 tackles with just 7.5 arrests for negative yards. He also broke up five passes and forced two fumbles.

Terrell had 10 tackles with four passes broken up.

Returning with interior experience are seniors Raphael Guidry (6-4, 282), Ray Kibble (6-4, 296) and Payton Kirk (6-5, 262). Guidry had 36 tackles, Kibble 30 and Kirk four.

Among the first-year talent competing for snaps are Vaikalafi Lutui, a 6-2, 280 transfer from Mount San Antonio could challenge for snaps, along with Hutchinson Junior College transfer Meshak Williams (6-3, 231), plus a cast of freshmen in Samuel Harville (6-1, 270, Springdale, Ark.), Lamonte Clark (6-3, 287, Washington, D.C), Marquel Bryant (6-3, 219, Dallas, Texas), Brandon Mickens (6-3, 190, League City, Texas) and Hunter Davis (6-3, 240, Choctwa, Okla.).

Several, whether young or old, will get the opportunity to play in 2011.

LINEBACKERS – BROWN WILL BE COUNTED ON:

Bolstering a returning linebacker crew of seniors Alex Hrebec and David Garrett, juniors Jarell Childs and Blake Slaughter, and sophomore Tre Walker will be Miami Hurricane transfer Arthur Brown.

Brown played two seasons in Miami with modest success, but is said to have all the tools to be a Big 12 linebacker … and will have to be.

Hrebec has been a three-year factor for the Wildcats and recorded 77 tackles this season while playing in just 11 games due to an injury. Garrett, who also played in the secondary, registered a team-high 92 tackles, Childs had 53, Slaughter 47 and Walker 47 playing as a true-freshman.

In addition, late in the year safety Emmanuel Lamur (6-4, 215, Sr) stepped forward and filled a linebacker position.

Of K-State's list of recruits there are no true linebackers.

SECONDARY – HELP NEEDED ON THE CORNERS:

The good news, bad news story to K-State's 2010 defensive football year was the fact that the Wildcats' leading two tacklers came from the last line of defense as safeties. Tysyn Hartman scored 86 tackles, which included 10 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl game, and true-freshman Ty Zimmerman had 74 arrests helping him to freshman All-American Honors.

The twosome, along with Lamur, rotated snaps leaving few plays to another returning backup in Logan Dold.

The concern area comes on the corners were Garrett, Thomas Ferguson (6-0, 189, Jr) and little used Matthew Pearson (5-11, 187, Sr) return.

Limited backup experience in the secondary comes from Dahrnaz Tigner (6-2, 233, Sr), plus Tanner Burns, a transfer from San Jose.

Newcomers to the roster are safety in Dante Barnett of Tulsa, Okla., plus Tyler Lockett, the brother of all-time leading receiver Kevin Lockett of Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Okla., plus Allen Chapman of Community College of San Francisco.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

The Wildcats seem set at punter with junior Ryan Doerr, who averaged 41.9 yards this season and with kickoffs with junior Anthony Cantele. Recruited to challenge for the kicking chores is Dillon Wilson of Midlothan, Texas.

Huge shoes will need to be filled at long snapper with the graduation of Adams with that job left to 2010 backup Marcus Heit.


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