Wildcats name 2007 team captains

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State head football coach Ron Prince announced the names of four players voted by their teammates to serve as captains for the 2007 season. The announcement was made by Prince just prior to kickoff of Saturday’s spring game.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback Josh Freeman were chosen to represent the offense, while defensive end/outside linebacker Ian Campbell and inside linebacker Justin Roland were voted to represent the defense.

Nelson’s selection marked the second straight year that the wide receiver was voted by his teammates to serve as a captain. Freeman, Campbell and Roland will be serving their first terms as team captains.

One of the Big 12’s top returning receivers and one of the most imposing wide outs in the nation, Nelson has led the Wildcats in receptions during each of the last two seasons. A candidate for both the Biletnikoff Award and All-Big 12 honors, the senior-to-be has already topped 1,200 career receiving yards, including 39 catches for 547 yards and a touchdown during an injury-plagued 2006 campaign.

K-State’s returning starter at quarterback and one of the country’s top young signal-callers, the physically-imposing Freeman possesses one of the nation’s strongest arms. A starter in eight games during 2006, he was the lone true freshman quarterback in the country to lead his team to a bowl game last season. College football’s top true freshman passer in terms of yards per start (195.8) last year, Freeman obliterated K-State’s freshman passing record during 2006 with 1,780 yards on 140-of-270 accuracy (52 percent).

Few players in the nation had the kind of breakout campaign Campbell posted during 2006. One of college football’s premier pass rushers and a bona fide All-America, national award and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2007, Campbell is one of just four returning players in the country to record at least 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for losses in 2006. A consensus first team All-Big 12 selection and the Houston Chronicle Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, the junior-to-be ranked No. 1 in the league in tackles for losses and total tackles among defensive linemen and No. 2 in sacks last year.

Roland, a force on special teams throughout the 2006 campaign, began to emerge as a legitimate option at linebacker during Big 12 play last year and has carried that momentum into 2007 with one of the most productive springs on the team. The senior-to-be collected 17 total tackles last year and had two huge forced fumbles, including one vs. Texas that led to a Wildcat touchdown.

Kansas State will kick off its 2007 season on Saturday, Sept. 1, when the Wildcats travel to Auburn for a nationally televised game against the Tigers. K-State’s six-game home slate gets underway a week later on Sept. 8, when the Wildcats host San Jose State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.