Big 12: Quincy Morgan
That success vanished later in the decade, but Bill Snyder returned to help turn around the program in 2009.
Here are my choices for the top Kansas State players of the last decade.
QB: Ell Roberson
RB: Darren Sproles
RB: Daniel Thomas
WR: Quincy Morgan
WR: Jordy Nelson
TE: Jeron Mastrud
OL: Ryan Lilja
OL: Nick Stringer
OL: Jeromey Clary
OL: Andy Eby
C: Randall Cummings
DL: Tank Reese
DL: Ian Campbell
DL: Monty Beisel
DL: Mario Fatafehi
LB: Ben Leber
LB: Terry Pierce
LB: Josh Buhl
DB: Jerametrius Butler
DB: Terence Newman
DB: Jon McGraw
DB: Dyshod Carter
P Tim Reyer
K Jamie Rheem
KR Brandon Banks
Offensive player of the decade: RB Darren Sproles. The key player on the Wildcats’ 2003 Big 12 title team rushed for a school-record 4,979 yards during his career, scoring 45 rushing touchdowns and notching three 1,000-yard seasons. He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2003 after rushing for a school-record 1,986 yards to spark the Wildcats' championship season.
Defensive player of the decade: CB Terence Newman. Finished as the most decorated defensive player in Kansas State history, earning All-America honors and the Big 12’s defensive player of the year in 2002. In that season, Newman won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back and was a finalist for the Nagurski Award.
Coach of the decade: Bill Snyder. Even a three-season sabbatical couldn’t diminish Snyder’s accomplishments for Kansas State. His 2003 team earned the school’s only Big 12 football championship, punctuating a run of four-straight bowl appearances to start the decade. After returning, he nearly took the team to another bowl game in his first season back in 2009, pushing the Wildcats into the Big 12 North title hunt until its final game of the season.
Moment of the decade: Kansas State notched a 35-7 victory over Oklahoma to earn the 2003 Big 12 title. The Wildcats overcame an early-season three-game losing streak to finish with a seven-game winning streak capped by the title-game upset over the No. 1 Sooners. Darren Sproles rushed for 235 yards and Ell Roberson threw four touchdowns in the wild upset -- the last time a North team has won the Big 12 championship game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas apparently has shored up its biggest weakness heading into preseason camp.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Vernon Brooks, a junior-college All-American linebacker from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, has decided to play for the Jayhawks. He would be available to join the Jayhawks immediately.
Brooks, a 6-foot, 228-pounder, will fill a hole where the Jayhawks lost three starters from last season. The departure of James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen from last season's team has had coach Mark Mangino scrambling for answers for the last several months.
Mangino has been considering a 4-2-5 defense as his base as one way around the problem. And he's also moved former running back Angus Quigley to the position to bolster talent there.
But Brooks would provide an immediate upgrade in talent at the position. The Journal-World reported he visited Kansas last weekend and picked them over offers from Oklahoma, Tennessee, Auburn and Tulsa.
The Jayhawks will be hoping for better production from Brooks than from another junior-college All-American they recently attracted. Running back Jocques Crawford led the nation's junior college rushers in 2007 at Cisco (Texas) Junior College. After predicting before last season he would rush for 2,000 yards, Crawford struggled finding a niche and produced only 262 yards rushing for the Jayhawks.
Earlier this spring, Crawford was suspended from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules. His future remains uncertain in the Kansas program.
Blinn College is noted for producing strong athletes like former Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop, former Texas running back Shon Mitchell and former Kansas State wide receiver Quincy Morgan. Brooks was coached there by Brad Franchione, son of former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione.
Brooks' arrival could be a critical personnel addition for the Jayhawks, who have higher expectations heading into the season than at any time in Big 12 history. Mangino has taken the Jayhawks to back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in school history. The Jayhawks are a fashionable pick to contend in the Big 12 North Division.
And adding a junior-college All-American -- even long after spring practice is over -- shouldn't hurt those hopes.