Snyder Announces Class of 31

Bill Snyder is back in the recruiting business announcing a class of 31 on Wednesday. A late recruiting start prevents the class from ranking high by Big 12 standards, but the new Wildcat boss is not writing off the class.

Bill Snyder hasn't changed. He's signed another recruiting class, and he's saying the same thing that he did during his first 17-year stint as Kansas State football coach.

Comparing this year's class to that of 1989, Snyder said, "I liked the young people we recruited, I thought they were good young people, I thought they had a genuine interest in education ... and I feel the same way about this class. I like what I see in their character." Snyder said he liked the versatility of this year's class with five talents simply listed as "athletes."

"We have a significant number of young people who have the capabilities of playing multiple positions," Snyder said.

Overall, the Wildcat coach said of the class, "Late starts are late starts. It is what it is. We have youngsters who will go to work, we'll (coaches) go to work, and develop the best football team that we can."

The announced class includes 23 high school prospects, five from the junior college ranks and two Division I transfers, who sat out the 2008 season at K-State due to the NCAA transfer rule.

K-State signed 13 defensive players, 16 offensive talents and one special teams player. On defense it was seven secondary-types, three linebackers and three linemen; on offense it was five athletes, five linemen, three tight ends and one quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

The players came from 13 different states: six Oklahoma, five from Texas, four from Kansas and Florida, two from Louisiana and Georgia, and one each from California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri and Virginia.

One of the headliners of the class is Tim Flanders, who is ranked among the top 40 athletes in the nation and among the top 10 players in Oklahoma.

The 5-foot-9, 191-pound product of Midwest City, Okla., rushed for 5,143 yards and 65 touchdowns during his prep career. Last year he rushed for 2,153 yards and 54 scores in earning Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year honors.

Flanders is listed as an athlete, but will first get a look at running back with the move of Lamark Brown back from running back to wide receiver.

Of quarterback signee Daniel Thomas from Northwest Mississippi Community College, Snyder gave a slight comparison to former Wildcat quarterback Michael Bishop.

Of the 6-2, 227-pound native of Hilliard, Fla., Snyder said, "When I watched him on tape, it would suggest a running back with good size. With the way he can run around, there's a modest comparison (to Bishop)."

Instead of being able to throw the ball 70 yards flat-footed like Bishop could, Snyder compared Thomas' passing arm to more like Brian Kavanagh.

K-State had a last-day miss on David Batts, a defensive back from El Camino Community College, who took a last weekend visit to Washington.

"He took a visit over the weekend and had a change of heart," Snyder said of the 6-2, 205-pound defensive back. "His position coach at the community college left and took a job (at Washington), and he went with him. That's what this thing (recruiting) is all about."

Snyder also inherits two Division I transfers who sat out the 2008 season after transfers -- punter-kicker Ryan Doerr (South Carolina) and defensive lineman Jeffrey Fitzgerald (Virginia). Fitzgerald was a 13-game starter as a sophomore in 2007, and was a unanimous freshman All-American in 2006 when he started all 12 games.

"I would like to hope so," Snyder said when asked if he planned on Fitzgerald being in the d-line rotation in 2009. "He's been in the program and our feeling is we have to have him be in the mix."

Doerr is a native of Katy, Texas, where he helped his prep team to a 16-0 record as a senior when he averaged 42.7 yards per punt.

While the Snyder staff had a handful of commitments when taking over the program, one of the changes in the recruiting game was the fact that schools like Texas had verbal commitments from its entire class before the start of the 2008 season.

"All their guys (coaches) are at the beach right now," Snyder quipped. "What we have to address is not falling any further behind on our underclassman class (for 2010)."

While fully understanding the change to so many early commitments, Snyder said, "We're not going to get into the mass offerings. We'll scrutinize the capabilities the best we can in a short time frame, and offer those who we feel good about."

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