One of the big question marks for the Kansas State this season will be on the offensive line. The line received a lot of scrutiny last year, and is looking to rebound, but it won't be easy to rebuild the most vital position in the building of any offense.
The offensive line must protect the quarterback better. Dylan Meier took too much of a pounding last season and played with more pain than anyone realized and his counterpart.
Alan Webb was banged up as well. Getting banged up is a part of the game but the coming together and the progression of the offensive line. Also, this year there is no more Darren Sproles who could run for success behind any line, but players of his stature come along once in a lifetime.
Sproles's replacement will require more blocking and open holes to run through.
Much as it was after the 2003-04 season when the Wildcats lost both Nick Leckey and Ryan Lilja the line was hit hard due to graduation with the departures of John Doty and Mike Johnson, and Malcolm Wooldridge.
With so many jobs up for grabs on the offensive line, undoubtedly this will be one of the intense position battles throughout practice. There is only one player almost guaranteed on of the starting position.
Jeromey Clary returns for his senior year and is the most experienced player on the line. Clary received honorable mention All Big 12 honors last season and is the key and the leader of a potentially talented, but inexperienced offensive line.
Clary is an emotional, hard working player who will be counted upon heavily not only with his performance, but in a leadership role.
John Hafferty returns for his sopohmore season and joining him in this wide
open battle for the playing time is Caleb Handy, Zach Lucas, Dustin Mengarelli and seemingly forgotten Matt Boss. At the center position Ryan Schmidt looks to be the successor to Mike Johnson.
Enter The Freshman
The newcomer on the offensive line that could make an immediate impact is freshman Nick Stringer out of Hayden High School in Topeka, Kansas. Stringer at 6-7 and 260 pounds will continue to get bigger and stronger and he has the athletic ability to play either tackle or guard.
Stringer is mature, and an extremely hard worker. He knows the game and has the leadership mentality. Much of that comes from his father Tom Stringer the head coach at Hayden and a former All-American offensive lineman at Pittsburgh State.
Stringer played both offense and defense in high school. With the youth and inexperience don't be surprised to see Stringer get a few looks at the tight end position if needed, but the offensive line is where Stringer will be spending his time.
Brock Unruh out of Corpus Christi, Texas was the first commitment Kansas State received in this class. The 6-5, 305 lb lineman is an excellent pass protector which should be music to the ears of the Wildcat quarterbacks. Playing tackel throughout his entire HS career, Unruh may have to be moved if playing time avails itself. In talking with Unruh early this year, he is looking for playing time on the second line and will look to compete immediately. Unruh admits his biggest question mark at this point is his strength levels and working on getting stronger.
Unruh comes in with all of the skill, size and talent which should make him a mainstay on the Kansas State offensive line if he can become stronger at the point of attack and prove he has the foot speed to protect rushers off the edge.
Junior College Players
The lone Juco player coming into the fold on the offensive line is Mike Frieson, 6-7, 315 lbs out of North Bakersfield College, who will participate in spring drills due to his enrolling at Kansas State in December.
Frieson will have two years of eligibility
Frieson, comes in with a reputation of being a very intense player on the field. Field spent his junior college career at left tackle and should be at the same spot for K-State but has the ability to move over and play guard as well.
He possesses good foot speed, combined with excellent drive-
blocking skills makes Frieson a player who could see a lot of action this
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