Valentine, Thomas Lead RB Charge

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Even with Kansas State's top two returning rushers from 2008 now drilling at different positions, head football coach Bill Snyder sees the running back position as one with spirited competition as the Wildcats push closer to the September 5 season opener against UMass.

Keithen Valentine leads the group and boasts the most experience as the senior rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown last season, while junior college transfer Daniel Thomas, redshirt freshman Jarell Childs and true freshman John Hubert have all shown signs of improvement and provide Snyder and company several viable options at the position.

Thomas so far has shown signs of why he was a highly-touted recruit two seasons ago at Northwest Mississippi Community College as the junior will provide some versatility for the Wildcats in the backfield this season.

"He is really a fun guy to watch," Snyder said of Thomas. "I think he is going to be a good player. As we all know, he is kind of multi-faceted and he can do a number of things, which makes him more than just a single, isolated threat as just a running back. He can be utilized in the running game, the passing game, and can become a blocker as well. But all running backs normally have to be that way, and we will utilize Daniel to do the things he can do best."

Snyder also commended Valentine for his play and how he is handling the daily competition with Thomas and the remainder of the running backs.

"It almost seems like he cherishes it," Snyder added. "He's never backed away from the challenge whatsoever and he's still spirited as a player. He still provides leadership for his group, and he has remained very competitive."

Childs had a productive spring and gives the Wildcats a bigger and powerful option at running back, while Hubert looks to make an immediate impact after a heralded career at Waco (TX) Midway High School where he broke LaDainian Tomlinson's city rushing record. Lamark Brown and Logan Dold, the Cats' top two rushers from 2008, have moved to wide receiver and safety, respectively.

K-State will host Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday. Fans can access the stadium for practice beginning at 5 p.m. and following the workout, will be addressed by Coach Snyder and player captains. Those in attendance will then be able to participate in an autograph session with all players and coaches on the field and are asked to limit the number of autographed items they bring to two per person.

Kickoff for the K-State Family Reunion on September 5 is set for 6:10 p.m., at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Both season and single-game tickets for the 2009 football season remain available to the general public, including individual reserved tickets for as low as $20 for the UMass game.

The most convenient way to order is here online at Tickets may also be purchased in person at the K-State Athletic Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum or by calling, 1-800-221-CATS.