By Mark Janssen
For additional information on the recruiting class of 2011, please click here.
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's locker room has been replenished with big guys and little guys, offensive guys and defensive guys, plus a kicker, who make up the recruiting class of 2011.
On the general makeup of the class, coach Bill Snyder echoed his words from 1991, and 2001, and now 2011: "You hope you've done your homework and have made some good choices on capabilities and values, but you never know until a couple years down the road. That's when you get a chance to really define the quality of the class collectively."
The class includes 22 high school talents, eight from the junior college ranks and three four-year transfers. Of those, 13 are currently enrolled at K-State. While the class is without 5- or 4-Star talent from the high school ranks, it does include no fewer than 18 individuals with 3-Stars to their resume.
Included on the offensive side are three quarterbacks/athletes, two running backs, four wide receivers, one tight end and four linemen. On defense are nine linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. And one kicker was also signed.
"We've covered a lot of bases and have a lot of good people," Snyder generalized.
On the uncertainty of recruiting, Snyder mentioned the name of Ty Zimmerman, who he termed a "half-star recruit" out of high school, but one who stepped on the field in his first season and earned freshman All-American honors as a defensive back.
The quarterbacks joining the Wildcats are Daniel Sams (6-2, 210) from Slidell, La., Justin Tuggle (6-3, 228) from Blinn College, and, Angelo Pease (5-11, 205) from Hutchinson Community College. Pease, however, will be first looked at as a defensive back, and perhaps as a running back or wide receiver on offense.
Of Sams and Tuggle, while different in size, Snyder called them "... more similar than they are dissimilar. They are what most people would refer to as dual-type quarterbacks. They are the types that laid the foundation here with their ability to run and throw the ball."
Sams passed for 577 yards and seven TDs plus rushed for 579 yards and nine scores as a senior. Tuggle was ranked the no. 1 dual-threat junior college QB after passing for 2,015 yards and 17 TDs, and rushing for 733 yards and 12 scores. Tuggle started his career at Boston College in 2009, playing in three games and passing for 229 yards and four touchdowns.
Filling a significant void on defense is a total of nine defensive tackles/defensive ends. Of those, two will come from the junior college ranks in Vaikalafi Lutui (6-2, 280, Mount SAC) and Meshak Williams (6-4, 235, Hutchinson CC).
Of Lutui, Snyder said, "I like his toughness and his ability to play the position with aggressiveness.
From the prep ranks is Ian Seau, a 6-4, 240-pound product of Carlsbad, Calif. He is ranked as the No. 57 strong-side defensive end in the nation and is the nephew of NFL All-Pro Junior Seau.
"He plays the game hard and likes the game," said Snyder. "He strikes a blow and is an aggressive player."
In addition, K-State's secondary was enhanced with the arrival of three junior college cornerbacks in Allen Chapman (5-11, 180, City College of San Francisco), Kip Daily, 6-0, 181, Blinn College), and Nigel Malone (5-10, 185, City of San Francisco), plus Tanner Burns, a transfer from San Jose State. Burns is the son of former secondary coach Keith Burns.
Of the improvement that needs to be made on defense, Snyder said, "We have a variety of things we can work on. Yes, it's recruiting to a certain degree if the kids you recruited can make you better, but it can also include schematics, personnel, who has speed and doesn't (have speed), and the depth you have at the various positions.
"We did get a little bit quicker, but I can't tell you how they're going to compare (to past classes)," said Snyder.
Coming from Good Stock
Unique to this recruiting class are multiple players who come from talented families.
• Tyler Lockett, WR from Tulsa, Okla., is the son of all-time leading Wildcat receiver Kevin Lockett, and the nephew of Lockett's brother, Aaron.
• Ian Seau, DE, Carlsbad, Calif., is the nephew of former NFL great Junior Seau.
• Glenn Gronkowski, FB, Amherst, N.Y., has three brothers currently in the NFL - Dan (Broncos), Rob (Patriots) and Chris (Cowboys). Another brother, Gordie, also played two seasons of minor league baseball.
• Justin Tuggle, QB, Alpharetta, Ga., is the son of Jessie Tuggle, who played 14 seasons in the NFL and made five Pro Bowls.
Of these bloodlines, Snyder said, "I'm certain part of that rubs off. I can't say that there's an athletic gene, but there is an attitude of how to approach your love for the game."
Ready for Action
Poised to take the field this spring with the Wildcats is a trio of four-year transfers in linebacker Arthur Brown from the Miami Hurricanes, his brother running back Bryce Brown from the Tennessee Volunteers, plus defensive back Tanner Burns from San Jose State.
On the Brown brothers who played their prep ball at Wichita East, Snyder said, "Arthur will be a very fine player. He's a talented young guy who is very conscientious and has the instincts to play the position which is extremely important. Bryce will make us faster right off the bat. He's a fluid runner who is growing into becoming a complete back when it comes to being a good blocker. But he's a good runner, has good feet and good hands."
Arthur was the No 1 player in the state of Kansas and the No. 2 outside linebacker in the nation out of high school, while Bryce was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the nation for his accomplishments in high school.
From Across the Country
This cast of 32 players come from 10 states, plus Washington D.C. Seven are Kansas products, seven from Texas, five from Oklahoma, four from California, three from Georgia, and one each from D.C., Utah, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana and New York.