Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Revolving Door: Kansas State
By ESPN.com staff
I've done it. You've done it.
"Hey, is that guy still around?"
Even with two fewer teams, it's hard to keep track. Our next series, which we did last year, too, takes a look at two key players for every team in the league who are taking their talents elsewhere, returning to campus, or arriving to try to write a legacy of their own.
So really, this series isn't so much for the fans of the teams in the posts, but more for everyone else. It wouldn't be a bad idea to bookmark these.
Next up: Kansas State
Daniel Thomas, RB
Thomas came to Kansas State from junior college and joins a line of juco players turned FBS stars under coach Bill Snyder. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound back bounced off defenders and led the Big 12 in both carries and rushing yards in his two years in the league, finishing with 2,850 career rushing yards. He battled a shoulder injury his junior year, but played through it and his efforts paid off as a senior when he helped carry the Wildcats back to a bowl game for the first time since 2006. He was drafted by Miami in the second round.
Considering Kansas State's struggles throwing the ball during his time there, Thomas' production is even more staggering. Defenses knew he was coming, and he ran over and through them anyway.
Zach Kendall, OL
And how did Thomas do it? Kendall and the offensive line, which loses three starters from last year's team, were the biggest reason. Kendall, a 6-foot-2, 317-pounder, took over as the starting guard midway through the 2008 season and remained a constant on the line for the next two and a half seasons, taking over as one of the team captains in 2010 and earning All-Big 12 honors.
David Garrett, CB
Garrett was a rarity last season, the Big 12's only cornerback to lead his team in tackles. That's not a great sign for the defense as a whole, but there's no denying Garrett is one of the team's best playmakers. A 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior college transfer made 92 tackles, including 68 solo stops. He's undersized, but the Big 12 is thin at cornerback. Don't be surprised if Garrett lands on the All-Big 12 first team next year.
Brodrick Smith, WR
Smith transferred from Minnesota and finally got on the field last year, jumping out to a nice start, catching 12 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns in his first three games, providing a much-needed target for Carson Coffman. But late in the game against Nebraska, Smith suffered an ugly broken leg that ended his season. He'll be back on the field again this year with a breakout season in mind.
Ian Seau, DE
Seau comes from a rather obvious bloodline that bodes well for his football future. His uncle is veteran NFL linebacker Junior Seau. The Wildcats' top recruit from the 2011 class will get to campus this summer and try to crash the rotation on a defensive line that loses two starters from last year's team. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Carlsbad, Calif., native may end up moving to linebacker, but for now, he's the nation's No. 18 defensive end.
Lamonte Clark, DT
Kansas State was pretty deliberate about its efforts to beef up the defensive line in this year's class. The top five signees from this February were all defensive linemen, and Clark is the biggest, by far. The Washington, D.C., native weighs in at 310 pounds, and stands 6-foot-4. There aren't many defensive linemen in this league that tip three bills on the scale, and Kansas State would certainly like to see him become a force up front.
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