As Bill Snyder says every year on the first Wednesday of February, "It takes several years to accurately assess the quality of a recruiting class and the young men who represent it." With that being said, the Wildcat coach has announced his 2013 harvest of 32 student-athletes who are now representing Kansas State University.
Of those, 26 are from the high school ranks and six from community colleges. Of those, 18 play defense, which includes seven linebackers, six linemen, five defensive backs. Inking as offensive talents are three linemen, a trio of tight ends and three receivers, plus two quarterbacks. Rounding out the class are a place kicker, a long snapper and one player – Matt Seiwert – listed as an athlete.
"Hopefully, we have assessed the skills, capabilities and intrinsic values of these young people accurately. As always, time will tell," said Snyder. "Part of the value of this class lies in the fact that nine of these student-athletes either have been, or will be, in classes and participate in our out-of-season program and spring practice."
By star-status, Tanner Wood, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound defensive end/running back from Conway Springs (Kan.) High School headlines the list as a 4-Star talent.
Named the Gatorade Player of the Year, Wood was an honorable mention Parade All-American by Parade Magazine.
Tanner set a Kansas prep record when he rushed for 659 yards and nine touchdowns in an 84-56 victory over Chaparral High School. In his senior season, he rushed for 2,709 yards and 43 touchdowns on offense, and scored 110 tackles on defense.
"Tanner is one of those guys who could play both sides of the ball," said Snyder. "He's a good athlete and typifies what we talk about in being a very fine athlete in relation to his size."
Also high on the offensive side of the recruiting class is Jake Waters, a 6-2, 215-pound quarterback out of Iowa Western Community College.
In helping his school to a national championship, Waters was named the National Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 3,501 yards with a 73 percent completion rate and 39 touchdowns.
In high school, his Council Bluffs team won consecutive Class 1A State titles, and Water's high school record as a three-year starter was 37-2.
Snyder said he thought it was "significant" to add a player like Waters to the Wildcat roster to join the likes of returnee Daniel Sams.
"I think this will certainly enhance Daniel's play, and vice versa," said Snyder. "We hope it becomes a competitive environment, and there's no reason to believe that it won't. The greater competition you have at any position the better the opportunity for a young person to improve his performance."
Of Waters, Snyder said he saw a prospect that could "… No. 1, have a good command of our offense and provide leadership. He's a young person who has the capacity to throw the ball efficiently and be a part of a running game, as well. He can be a dual-threat quarterback." Snyder also admitted that it was a plus that passing game coordinator Del Miller saw him in person.
"We saw a lot of tape on Jake, but there are some things you can't always get off a video tape," said the Wildcat coach. "It was important to see him in person doing some physical things that aren't always as evident on tape." The second quarterback signed was Jesse Ertz, a 6-4, 199-pounder from Burlington, Iowa, who threw the ball for 7,317 yards and 98 touchdowns for his career. Ertz was also on his schools state title winning 4 x 100 relay team last spring.
PROJECTED STARTERS FROM FIESTA BOWL DEPTH CHART
(Does not include any members of the 2013 recruiting class)
QB – Daniel Sams, Soph
RB – John Hubert, Sr
FB – Zach Nemehek, Jr
C – B.J. Finney, Jr
RG – Keenan Taylor, Sr
RT – Tavon Rooks, Sr
LG – Cody Whitehair, Soph
LT – Cornelius Lucas, Sr
TE – Zach Trujillo, Jr
WR – Tyler Locket, Jr
WR – Tramaine Thompson, Sr
WR – Curry Sexton, Jr