Scouting the Big 12: Kansas State

A berth in the BCS seems as elusive as ever for the Wildcats. After being "oh so close" just a few years ago the program seems to be slipping further away from a January 1 appearance. They've put a decent amount of first day prospects into the draft and overall a lot of players annually come out of this university. The '03 crop may be highlighted not so much by quantity but rather quality.

Kansas State Wildcats

Offensively there may not be much on the plate. Offensive lineman Thomas Barnett returns after injury kept him out almost the entire '01 campaign. Barnett was highly ranked by us coming off his junior season of 2000 and we believe he has skills to offer, though they may be better served at guard rather than the tackle position he mans at K-State. Marc Dunn has the athleticism and arm to be successful at quarterback but needs a lot of work on just about every part of his game. Since he is not the starter going into the season and is over-aged, his development will be slow to come and draft possibilities are limited. Steve Washington's versatility and ability to play either guard or center will garner him consideration.

Defensively they have some gems. Terry Pierce was highly rated by us going into the 2001 season, though we penned him as an outside linebacker. Pierce is big, strong and explosive. He flies around the field and impacts the game showing tremendous range, crushing ball carriers in every area of the field. Pierce is very effective in pass coverage but seemed to do too much thinking last year and suffered a little "sophomore jinx." The underlying skills are there for him to be a very high draft pick in the near future. His teammate at linebacker, Josh Buhl, is another terrific athlete constantly around the action making positive plays. Buhl, undersized, should be able to handle the duties of weak-side linebacker in time as he matures physically or at the very least, strong-safety. Cornerback Terrance Newman would've been a first day pick had he entered the draft last April and has the abilities to elevate his rankings this year as a senior. Newman runs like the wind and displays good cover skills and has also been an effective receiver on occasion. Newman does need to refine his awareness and overall instinct if he wants to move into the initial 32 picks in '03, but the foundation is apparent. They have a pair of rough-n-tumble defensive linemen from junior college that are productive at the Division-I level but may not have a position in the pro's. Tank Reese, built just as his first name would suggest, is a heavy duty run stuffer but barely 5-11 (5-10 by some accounts) he will have difficulty at the next level. The same could be said for Henry Bryant, an effective pass rusher that consistently makes plays up the field but at 6-0/250-pounds, he does not have the size for defensive end and may not be fast enough for linebacker.




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