Little positive has been mentioned in the same sentence with the name Ron Prince in the last 12 months, but it may be time to give a belated salute to his last recruiting class that was ranked among the Top 30 in the country.
On signing day back in early-February, 2008, the class numbered a whopping 32 players – 19 from the community college ranks, plus 13 high schoolers.
First, seven of those – Dustin Bell, Javonta Boyd, Kwamaine Brown, John Finau, Tony Gillespie, Kenny Session and Jack Hayes (stayed for 10 days) -- never arrived on campus for a variety of reasons putting the class at 25.
In reality, the number will soon be six who never arrived on campus as Boyd, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman, has recommitted with the Wildcats after a two-year stay at Butler County Community College.
But let's now consider what the class that did arrive accomplished:
• Brandon Banks – Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year, 2nd team all-Big 12 wide receiver, shattered all kickoff return records and ended as a Top 10 type receiver in Wildcat history, 2008 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
• Daniel Thomas – While a late arrival, he was a part of the class and emerged as the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year and a 1st-team all-Big 12 running back after leading the conference in rushing.
• Brandon Harold – A 2008 Freshman all-American, among all freshman in 2008, Harold led the nation in tackles for losses.
• Ulla Pomele – A two-year starter at linebacker.
That's 15 players who were regular starters, plus another seven who were high-profile backups. That totals 22 of the 25 players who arrived on campus with the 2008 recruiting class and could be defined as true contributors.
What the junior college-heavy class did, however, was to throw Kansas State's class numbers out of balance.
Listed as starters for the 2009 finale against Nebraska were five seniors, four juniors, one sophomore and one freshman, while on defense it was four seniors, five juniors and two sophomores.
Including second-teamers, the overall two-deep class count included 14 seniors, 15 juniors, 9 sophomores and 6 freshmen.
The numbers bring coach Bill Snyder to say, "We do have a balance problem with our classes. It's causing us to not only recruit for needs, but also for the future, which is not always an easy thing to do. It's going to take some time to balance things out."
Kansas State currently lists 14 unofficial commitments for the 2010 class. Seven of those come from the community college ranks and seven from the high school level.