Big 12: Tate Snyder

Camp is open up in Manhattan. Before we get too deep in sweltering hot practices, I'll offer up a quick preview of what you need to know heading into the season.

See more fall camp previews.

Next up: Kansas State.

Media's predicted finish: Sixth

Biggest story line: Kansas State won eight games a year ago by one score or less. Only two were by at least two scores, and the Wildcats had two lopsided losses to Oklahoma and Arkansas, losing just one close game all season, a 52-45 road loss to Big 12 champ Oklahoma State. Add it all up, and people are skeptical of the Big 12's biggest surprise in 2011. The Wildcats won 10 games and return 17 starters, including their two best players -- QB Collin Klein and LB Arthur Brown -- and what's their reward? K-State's picked sixth in the league now, instead of eighth.

Biggest question mark: Klein's right arm. Klein scared defenses with his legs, and got a lot better as a passer as the season wore on, but how much growth is left for the league's biggest and toughest QB? If he shows up with a vastly improved arm this fall, K-State's offense may be close to unstoppable, even if its slow pace keeps it from finishing in the top half of the no-huddle, pass-frenzied world of Big 12 offenses.

Fun fact: It's all in the family at K-State these days. Coach Bill Snyder's grandson, Tate, is a sophomore linebacker on this year's team, and incoming freshman Glenn Gronkowski will play fullback and tight end, just like his older brother Rob, who caught 17 touchdowns for the Patriots last season. Gronkowski has two more older brothers who also play in the NFL now.

On the mend: WR/KR Tyler Lockett. Lockett missed the last part of 2011 with a lacerated kidney, but healed up in time for spring. The problem? The Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year suffered another minor injury just before the spring game and had to sit out again. He's healthy, though, and ready to make the most of his sophomore season.

Who needs to step up: Receivers. The pass-catchers let Klein down in the Cotton Bowl, and the duo of Chris Harper and Tramaine Thompson is pretty underrated across the league. K-State's run-heavy offense simply doesn't allow them to put up very big numbers. They're back, and so is Lockett, but the margin of error is small for these guys. They need to catch everything and make plays when they get the ball in their hands to make defenses respect K-State's passing game.

Don't forget about: DE Meshak Williams. I put Williams on my preseason All-Big 12 team, but he's not quite as respected around the league as he should be. He's no physical marvel, but he's got the high motor coaches love, and he's productive. Leave him without a second lineman in his face at your own peril, Big 12 offenses.

Video: Snyder family legacy

October, 15, 2011
10/15/11
11:12
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"College GameDay" takes a look at the Snyder family's legacy in college football.

Snyder will coach his grandson as Tate Snyder heads to KSU

February, 3, 2010
2/03/10
6:17
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Kansas State coach Bill Snyder will have a unique coaching opportunity after the announcement his grandson, linebacker Tate Snyder, has accepted a scholarship offer from the Wildcats.

Tate Snyder, a 205-pounder who led Manhattan High School in tackles and was an All-State selection at linebacker, plans to play the position on his grandfather's team.

He will follow in the footsteps of his father, Sean Snyder, who was an All-American punter for his father in the early 1990s. Sean Snyder is now Kansas State's associate athletic director and associate head coach for football operations and development.

"Not many people have had the opportunity to coach their son and their grandson, so I think I will enjoy that immensely," Bill Snyder said. "It will be fun, but probably not for him (Tate), but I will never get tired of it."

The veteran coach said he learned some lessons coaching his son that will help him coaching his grandson.

"I've talked to a lot of coaches who have coached their sons and so many of them said to not coach your son and I didn’t want that to be true," Bill Snyder said. "The inclination is that most people would view you to be easier on you son or grandson. But my nature would be to go the other way and that is exactly what I did with Sean.”

Tate Snyder told the Manhattan Mercury that he hopes to add more weight to boost his chances of playing for the Wildcats.

"Size is a big deal. They want me to put on 5 or 10 more pounds so I can be at 215," Tate Snyder said to the Mercury. "They've talked about me a little at will (weakside linebacker) and (Kansas State co-defensive coordinator) Coach (Chris) Cosh has talked about it a bit, but I know nothing is guaranteed."

The chance to work with the Kansas State strength and conditioning program should help him get bigger and prepare him for his opportunity with the Wildcats, he said.

"I'm exited to work out and go through the program," he said. "I've seen guys go in and a few weeks later they've just exploded with 15 pounds, but I just want to take the program in and get stronger."

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