Scouting the Big 12: Kansas St

The K-State roster is always full of talent and players selected during the first day of the draft. This year's team is no exception. This is also a program that could surprise in 2003 and challenge Oklahoma for the Big 12 title.

The talent on offense is solid with several middle round choices. If there is a single player that could break into the initial 62 picks next April it would be guard Nick Leckey. An explosive blocker that looks to destroy defenders, Leckey is effective in space or motion and is easily one of the best blockers on the move in the nation. Leckey's fundamentals are also outstanding, so is his tenacity and hustle. He lacks the great interior size and dominant strength but will catch the fancy of several teams. Junior Darren Sproles is a hard running ball carrier with a fireplug build. Even with his short, compact frame, Sproles sees the field, runs north/south and is effective on the inside. Sproles is also not bad catching the ball out of the backfield to boot. Though his physical talents and skills are top-notch, the lack of height will push him down draft boards. Opening holes for Sproles is Travis Wilson, a powerful fullback and solid short-yardage runner who does the little things well. Tight end Thomas Hill is efficient both catching the ball and blocking but lacks the top size/speed numbers for his position. That is not the case for Travon Magee; a big, athletic tight end that is more potential than production as of now. Receiver James Terry is a tall, angular pass catcher that breaks it deep on occasion. Terry has a penchant of dropping passes and must improve his consistency. All are late round considerations.

The defensive talent is very good and has the potential to explode if several seniors have breakout campaigns in '03. Though he took a backseat to teammate Terrence Newman last year, in his own right Randy Jordan is a top cover corner that can defend the best of them. Jordan is fast, technically sound and constantly positions himself to make a play on the pass. At the top of his game, Jordan is outstanding yet has the tendency to slip up on occasion and has been a bit inconsistent. Andrew Shull rushes the edge with speed yet is a defensive end with great athleticism and the ability to play in space or make tackles out on the flanks. Rarely off his feet, Shull plays with great balance and almost an equal amount of intellect. Though not big, he does an adequate job against the run and can move up draft boards with a big post-season. Thomas Houchin did a fine job during his first year with the program in '02 and the junior college transfer mirrors Shull in many aspects of his game. Like his teammate, Houchin is undersized and stands to benefit from a positive post-season. Interior lineman Justin Montgomery explodes off the snap and beats opponents with a great first step but also lacks size and gets engulfed by opponents at the point. Josh Buhl is a playmaking linebacker with tremendous range and very good speed. Buhl excels in pass cover and quickly fills gaps upfield in run defense. Like many on this defense Buhl is small, barely tipping the scale at 210-pounds and has great difficulty handling blocks at the point. Buhl could project to strong safety or an outside ‘backer in a three-four alignment. Regardless, we think he'll be alright at the next level and is a late first day candidate. Bookend linebacker Bryan Hickman plays with solid techniques and head for the game. Best in the box, Hickman shows some skill in pass defense but is better making plays up the field. Finally, safety Rashad Washington is a hard-hitting, run defender in centerfield but a defensive back who lacks the great sideline-to-sideline range.

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