SE: K-State Football Welcomes 22 New Faces
Just like he does every year on National Signing Day, K-Sate head football coach Bill Snyder sat down in the Vanier Family Football Complex on Wednesday afternoon to address the media about his newest signees.
K-State football welcomed 22 players to its 2016 signing class with 17 players coming from the high school ranks, four community-college players and one FBS graduate transfer. Beginning at 7 a.m., on Wednesday morning, K-State Athletics began announcing these signees as they became official, and by the afternoon the media gathered to address them all with the hall of fame coach.
“I think we did (fill immediate needs),” said Snyder in reply to the press conference’s first question about the class. “We filled immediate needs if our perceptions are accurate, but we’ll find that out in a period of time. It’s not a closed class right now; we still have a couple of visits left. Overall, we have more offensive players than defensive players, but we lost more on offense. So if it pans out the way we hope it does, I think we got reasonably close to fulfilling our needs.”
Like Snyder mentioned, this year’s signing class is offensive heavy with 15 signees compared to seven defensive signees. On the offense, K-State signed four wide receivers, three offensive linemen, three tight ends, two fullbacks, two running backs and one quarterback.
The class’ solo quarterback, Skylar Thompson, comes to K-State from Fort Osage High School in Independence, Missouri. The 2015 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year and Simone Award winner as the top prep player in Kansas City, Thompson was ranked as the seventh-best dual-threat quarterback nationally in the class of 2016 according to Rivals.com. In his senior season, Thompson threw for a whopping 2,112 yards and 25 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,092 with 19 touchdowns.
“He’s so athletic and he’s a very hard worker,” said Snyder about Thompson. “He’s an intelligent, bright young guy that will pick things up quickly. I think those are probably the key elements, but I like other things as well: His ability to throw the football, and he has the capacity to be a dual threat guy.”
On the defensive side, K-State signed two defensive backs, two defensive tackles, two linebackers and one defensive end.
Coming to K-State after playing three seasons at the University of California, defensive back Cedric Dozier will provide a spark to the Wildcats’ defense. Dozier played in 34 career games at Cal with 16 starts where he totaled 80 tackles, 1.5
tackles for loss, nine passes defensed and a forced fumble. Dozier comes to K-State as a graduate transfer, and, after finishing his undergraduate degree at Cal this spring, will begin his master’s degree and use his final season of eligibility on the football field at K-State.
“He’s a tremendous young man, he’s very engaging, but what I like about him is the experience,” said Snyder on Dozier. “He’s been a starter in a conference that throws the ball around just like they do in this conference, and that’s significant for us that we have guys who can defend well against the pass; good one on one cover guys.”
Of the 22 signees, seven – Thompson, Kyle Ball (LB; Shawnee Mission East High School; Prairie Village, Kansas), Tyler Burns (RB; Trinity Academy; Wichita, Kansas), Corey Sutton (WR; Mallard Creek High School; Charlotte, North Carolina), Abdul Beechman (OL; Blinn College) and Byron Pringle (WR; Butler Community College) – are currently enrolled at K-State and spending the spring with the Wildcats. Snyder said he is happy with the work ethic and high character of the newest players.
“They’re all getting along well, and while there are some new things that are a little different for them, they’re picking that up and have been very competitive in their workouts,” Snyder said.
But the work ethic and the character of the newest players comes as no surprise, of course, as a player’s value system is one of the first things the Wildcat coaches evaluate when they recruited these players.
“We have the 16 Goals on our evaluation sheets and (our coaches) rank (recruits) according to the dialogue that they have with their coaches, teachers, custodians, secretaries, people in their schools,” explained Snyder. “We talk to an awful lot of people to get to know the youngster in terms of his value system. He’s going to say ‘Yes sir, no sir,’ to me, but how does he deal with a secretary, or anybody, at his school? That tells you an awful lot and that becomes important.”
From coast to coast, 11 different states are represented in this year’s signing class with the state of Kansas’ seven players leading the way, followed by five players from Texas.
“To me, it’s about people,” said Snyder. “A high school youngster, a community-college transfer, a four-year transfer, a senior graduate transfer, it’s not about what school they came from, it’s about what kind of people they are – their capacity to be able to be good people; if they care about being the best student they can be and contributing on the football field.”
For full profiles and video on each of this year’s new signees, please click here.