Signing day: Kansas State fills holes after Snyder decides to return
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The biggest question surrounding Kansas State on national signing day was not which players would sign but the uncertainty of Bill Snyder's future.
The 76-year-old coach did not officially announce he would return to the sideline next season until January, and he has given no indication of his plans beyond that. So, trying to persuade a prospect to join a program for the next four or five years becomes a more difficult proposition.
"I could say, `Hey, I'll be here for 10 years. I'll be here as long as you're here,' but I want them to trust me," Snyder said Wednesday. "Not that I wouldn't be here during their tenure, I just don't know how all of the factors will play out from year to year."
Still, honesty comes with a price. Kansas State lost four previously committed players during the recruiting process, including four-star defensive end Xavier Kelly to Clemson and running back Tre Bryant to Nebraska.
But that doesn't mean the Wildcats didn't plug their share of holes, either. They landed 22 players spread across 11 states in this year's class. Seven are from Kansas.
The most highly touted is four-star quarterback Skylar Thompson, considered a top-10 prospect at his position nationally. He was the Simone Award winner as the top player in the Kansas City area after he had 2,112 yards and 25 touchdowns passing while leading Fort Osage to a 13-1 record as a senior.
Other top prospects include Blake Hickey, who could help replace four departing starters on the offensive line, and Cedric Dozier, a defensive back who transferred from California.
"If it pans out the way we hope it does," Snyder said of this year's recruiting class, "then we got reasonably close to fulfilling our needs."
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: No
Best in class: Skylar Thompson, QB, Independence, Mo.; Blake Hickey, OL, Godley, Texas.
Best of the rest: Corey Sutton, WR, Charlotte, N.C.; Byron Pringle, WR, El Dorado, Kan.; Nick Lenners, TE, Lincoln, Neb.; Bronson Massie, DE, Lufkin, Texas; Jimmy McKinney, LB, Oologah, Okla.; Isaiah Harris, WR, Fort Worth, Texas.
Late addition: Raymond Price, DT, Norwalk, Calif.
One that got away: Zach Shackelford, OL, Belton, Texas, committed to Kansas State but flipped to the Longhorns, even after a rare in-home visit from Snyder.
How they'll fit in: The focus for Kansas State is replacing an experienced offensive line while finding the next playmaker at wide receiver. Hickey has added nearly 20 pounds since first talking with the Wildcats, and could see early playing time at guard or tackle alongside late signee Breontae Matthews. Three-star junior college product Byron Pringle has potential to help Kansas State at wide receiver after enrolling early. Meanwhile, with three capable QBs already on the roster, Thompson is a redshirt candidate despite being the jewel of the class.