"This is the Best Recruiting Class We've Had"

Kansas State football coach Ron Prince announced the names of a 32-athlete 2008 recruiting class. The grouping includes an astounding 19 community college transfers, plus 13 prepsters. Prince likes the group as it gives the roster more age and maturity heading into the 2008 season.

Ron Prince said it's not a class of "panic," but instead says it's a class from "an emerging market."

The third-year Kansas State football coach adds, "It would be a mistake to turn our back on a very good source of players."

Prince announced the final 26 members of his 32-member 2008 Kansas State football recruiting class Wednesday afternoon, which included 13 junior college players, plus 13 from the high school ranks.

The 13 two-year players join six, who enrolled at semester break bringing the total to 19.

Prince said, "We think this is the best recruiting class we've had since we've been here as far as addressing needs."

Scout.com ranked the Wildcat class No. 45, eighth among conference schools.

"In recruiting, there's plenty of ways to skin a cat. There are different philosophies on replenishing talent, so we'll see if this way works," said Jamie Newberg, national editor for Scout.com. "I've worked for Scout.com for 16 years, and have never seen this many junior college transfers in one class. It could be great, but it ultimately could hurt them. You live or die with each recruiting class, but I think most would agree that you're taking more chances with junior college players."

By comparison, Newberg said that the most junior college recruits on any team currently listed in Scout.com's Top 10 recruiting classes is Florida State with three. In teams ranked between No. 11 and No. 20, the most is Arizona State with five.

In the Big 12, No. 9 Texas A&M has one junior college transfer, No. 11 Oklahoma has three, while Texas and Missouri had zero. Prince indicated that it was all a part of a plan that started when he was hired after the 2005 season.

"We knew that with the age of our team, plus the people who we were losing like Jordy (Nelson), we wanted an older and more mature team, so our first- and second-year players wouldn't have to play as many snaps as our young players did in our first two years," Prince said.

The Wildcat coach said another factor was the 2008 scheduling which has K-State playing more mature teams from the Big 12's South the next two years in Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

"I don't care what people think," Prince said of the class make-up. "It's my obligation to put the team together to manage what's coming down the road."

Prince said he's looked at the "big picture" since his arrival, and this year that meant "... moving forward with age and experience as to how we will relate to the rest of the conference." Prince pointed to K-State's 20-year history of recruiting junior college players, and with success. He pointed out that the 1997 team that defeated Syracuse in the Fiesta Bowl had seven community college starters that did not participate in the spring.

The most players ever signed in a given year by coach Bill Snyder was 12. Prince signed 11 in his first class, eight last year, and now 19.

While Prince believes it's the right avenue for K-State, elite programs in this year's Top 20 recruiting classes have gone with high school talent.

Of the projected Top 20 teams, only one (Arizona State) has as many as five community college signings.

Prince called the community college route a "... emerging market. There's nothing wrong with developing players for the long haul, but we just feel this is a place for us to get 4- and 5-Star guys who can play to that potential." Prince said that due to toughened initial admission standards to NCAA schools that the talent pool is only going to deepen with the two-year schools.

Prince acknowledged that all 32 signed players will not be on the fall roster. Some will not qualify academically and will be positioned in community colleges, and some will be grayshirts.

But Prince promised, "Everyone we're looking at (in this class) will be a Wildcat at some point."

And, each is expecting to contribute immediately as Prince indicated that redshirt discussions have not taken place with any player. "Each is expecting to play and the players already here expect to play, which is a good thing," Prince said. "Competition is terrific." Prince added that making the class unique was that six players are already on campus and will take part in spring ball.

Like Alesana Alesana and Gary Chandler last year, Prince said, "We're looking for each of the players that were able to come here mid-year to be able to take advantage of his time."

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