Wildcats Announce 2015 Signing Class
"Defining character and value system is really important to us," opened Snyder at his press conference about this year's class, "and seemingly this is a group of young guys that certainly have athletic ability, but I think first and foremost, they're a group that collectively are a strong valued, high valued group of young guys.
The 2015 class is made up of 23 players from the high school ranks and just one community-college transfer - Aulelio Olomua, a defensive end from Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona.
Traditionally K-State's recruiting classes display multiple community-college transfers - the team signed nine in its 2014 recruiting class - but this year's lone transfer marks the fewest in one class since K-State signed just one (Percell Gaskins) in 1992.
Olomua is rated the 11th best community-college defensive end by ESPN and comes to K-State after recording 83 tackles, including six for loss and two sacks, in 2014.
"(Community-college recruiting) has changed dramatically," explained Snyder. "Everybody has followed suit and invested in community-college recruiting. It's thinned the pool out and put more people invested in the recruiting process, so it's become far more difficult than it was. Even though everybody is invested in it, it comes down to, 'What are our needs?' because these are short-term guys."
Keeping it local, this year's class boasts eight players that hail from the state of Kansas, and that's a number Snyder is happy with.
"We don't have a staff meeting where I don't say, 'Don't leave a stone unturned in the state of Kansas. They're there. Don't ever tell me that they're not there because they're there. You just have to find them,'" explained Snyder. "Plus, a school will go anyplace it has to to recruit a youngster, but not everybody is willing to go in the depths of Kansas. Not a lot of people want to do that, so it's always been our approach to make sure that we find those individuals."
Along with Kansas, seven other states are represented in this year's class with five coming from the state of Georgia, three from Texas, two from both Missouri and Oklahoma and one apiece from Alabama, Arizona and Nebraska.
Today and tomorrow, K-State Sports Extra will take a closer look at this year's signing class.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE 2015 CLASS | OFFENSE
Delton's Work Ethic Impresses Snyder
Coming to K-State from Hays High School in Hays, Kansas, Alex Delton is rated the 23rd best dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com and the 33rd by ESPN. Ranked the fifth-best player in the state of Kansas by Rivals.com and the best quarterback in the state by ESPN, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound signal caller rushed for 1,519 yards and 17 touchdowns while also throwing for 1,402 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior in 2014.
"He's an eager learner," said Snyder about Delton. "He's going to knock on your door. He'll spend any and all the time he possibly can to be able to work with other quarterbacks; that's of great value to him. He'll wear them out, I can assure you that. He's very conscientious about what he does."
Named the 2014 Hays Player of the Year by the Hays Daily News, Delton concluded his career with the Hays Indians by recording over 6,700 total offensive yards and 75 touchdowns. Eager to get the ball rolling at K-State, Delton graduated high school early and is currently enrolled and working with the Wildcat football squad.
"I think when a young guy makes that decision, it tells you, 'Here's a guy who wants to do this,' and he really does," Snyder said about Delton's decision to graduate high school early and enroll at K-State. "He's a hard worker. I just like his demeanor; I like everything about him. He really tries to invest himself and wants to find out anything and everything that he possibly can."
Following the successful career of quarterback Jake Waters, the position is currently wide open for the taking.
"We don't have a proven starter at this time," said Snyder. "We looked at some community-college guys, but we really couldn't identify what we wanted. We didn't want to bring someone in who didn't make us better. As far as the guys that we have, Joe (Hubener) has been on the field, he's been competitive and he's done some decent things in the ballgames. We anticipate that he's going to get better. We thought Jesse Ertz really came along well, and Taylor Laird (2014 community-college transfer) will be competitive in that position. I don't recall ever starting a freshman, but I think (Delton) will be competitive because of the things he's capable of doing. So, we'll see how it turns out."
Going Wide: Big Shoes to Fill
With the recent graduation of wide receivers Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton - K-State's first duo to record two 1,000-yard seasons in a year - the wide receiver positions are also up for grabs.
With three of the 24 signees in this year's class listed as receivers, Snyder believes there is potential on the horizon.
Zach Reuter, a 6-foor-3 receiver from Columbia, Missouri, who played for Rock Bridge High School, was named a unanimous first-team all-state selection by the Missouri Football Coaches' Association while also earning the Columbia Daily Tribune's Offensive Player of the Year honors after hauling in 81 catches for 1,545 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2013. Reuter originally signed with the Wildcats in 2014, but he delayed his enrollment to this January and will take part in spring practices.
A 6-foot-1 receiver from Stone Mountain, Georgia, Isaiah Zuber totaled 879 receiving yards and nine touchdowns during his career at Stephenson High School while also recording 470 yards and six touchdowns as a punt returner and 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns as a kickoff returner.
"I think out of that group, we might get one that will work into some aspect of the rotation with the wide receivers," explained Snyder. "It could be more than that because all of them will have the chance; everybody has the opportunity to compete. I think all of them are interested and willing to do what they have to do right now."
Though he is listed as a receiver for this year's class, Denzel Goolsby from Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, Kansas, has impressed Snyder with his athletic abilities and may wind up somewhere else on the field in the years to come.
"He's a multi-purpose athlete," explained Snyder. "(We're going to) line him up and let him play where he wants to play. He's capable of playing a lot of different positions. He's capable of playing on both sides of the ball. I like his ability to run. He's a high-character young guy, a quality person. He's one of those young guys you know he'll invest himself in becoming the best he can possibly be."
After rushing for 1,641 yards and 31 touchdowns and totaling 251 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, Goolsby was named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year in the state of Kansas as well as the American Family Insurance All-USA Kansas Offensive Player of the Year in 2014.
Stay tuned tomorrow as K-State Sports Extra will take a look at the defensive side of the 2015 signing class and the eight former walk-ons K-State has rewarded with scholarships since September.
For complete bios and more on the 2015 signing class, please click here.