K-State looks to have big signing day
By ARNE GREEN
Special to The Telegram
Kansas State can't, it seems, have too many offensive linemen, wide receivers or defensive backs.
In an era of wide-open spread offenses, that only makes sense.
But the Wildcats, who will unveil their 2014 recruiting class this afternoon on the first day of the NCAA football signing period, also attempted to fill two critical needs in their defensive front seven.
In addition to four three receivers, and four linemen on offense, plus four defensive backs, K-State turned to the Kansas junior college ranks for their two top-rated prospects. Dodge City Community College defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales and Garden City linebacker Dvonta Derricott both received four stars from Rivals.com and will be expected to contribute quickly on a defense that returns five starters and a wealth of experience from a year ago.
In the defensive secondary, the Wildcats must replace both cornerbacks and four-year starter Ty Zimmerman at free safety. But they have stockpiled talent at the corner and safety positions in order to deal with the Big 12's prolific passing offenses.
This year's class includes three-star juco cornerbacks Jesse Mack from Highland and Dodge City's Danzel McDaniel. Kaleb Prewett, a three-star prospect from Blue Springs, Mo., and two-star pickup Kendall Adams of Fort Worth, Texas, are projected for safety.
The Wildcats return two starters on the defensive front four in senior all-Big 12 end Ryan Mueller and junior tackle Travis Britz. Their only defensive end recruit is three-star high schooler C.J. Reese from San Antonio, Texas.
At linebacker, Jonathan Truman returns, but captains Blake Slaughter and Tre Walker are gone. Joining Derricott in this year's signing class are three-star high school signees Elijah Lee from Blue Springs, Mo., and Sam Sizelove from Argyle, Texas.
K-State likely will not sign a quarterback after losing three-star dual-threat high school prospect Aaron Sharp to UCLA last month. The Wildcats, who return both starter Jake Waters and backup Daniel Sams, plus redshirt freshman Jesse Ertz, have secured a walk-on commitment from Zach Davidson, a 6-foot-5, 215-pounder fromHarrisonville, Mo.
At running back, where John Hubert left as the second-leading rusher in school history, the only newcomer will be 5-8, 183-pounder Dalvin Warmack, the Wildcats' third commitment from Blue Springs, Mo. But senior DeMarcus Robinson and sophomore Jarvis Leverett also have shown promise as possible replacements.
With starters Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton gearing up for their senior seasons, the Wildcats looked to the future at wide receiver and picked up three commitments – two-star juco transfer Andre Davis of Santa Rosa (Calif.) – and high schoolers Tyler Ahrens from Kerrville, Texas, and Dominique Heath of Huntersville, N.C. Zach Reuter of Columbia, Mo., will join the group as a grayshirt next spring.
Manhattan's Winston Dimel, son of K-State co-offensive coordinator Dana Dimel, will sign as a fullback, and 2013 grayshirt tight end Bryce Fitzner of San Diego, is on campus already.
K-State brings back the middle of their offensive line in guards Cody Whitehair and Boston Stiverson, plus three-year starter B.J. Finney at center. But starting tackles Cornelius Lucas and Tavon Rooks are gone, forcing the Wildcats to turn to the juco ranks again.
A.J. Allen from Grossmont (Calif.) and Luke Hayes of Butler both are three-star tackles. The Wildcats also are picking up a pair of high school linemen from Colorado in Dalton Risner and Alec Ruth.
Davis, Hayes and McDaniel all graduated from junior college in the fall and are enrolled at K-State for the spring semester.