As of now, a pair of true freshman are set to get on the field for Kansas State this season — both from Blue Springs, Mo. — and neither is running back Dalvin Warmack.
Linebacker Elijah Lee and safety Kaleb Prewett both cracked the Wildcats’ two-deep depth chart that was released Tuesday.
Warmack appears headed toward a redshirt this season, according to head coach Bill Snyder, who named sophomore Charles Jones his No. 1 running back, ahead of senior DeMarcus Robinson, for this Saturday’s home game against Stephen F. Austin. Jarvis Leverett and Judah Jones are also still in the mix at running back.
Prewett, who is behind Dylan Schellenberg at free safety, has climbed the depth chart quickly, Snyder said.
“He’s athletic, runs well, he’s a bright young guy, picks things up quickly,” Snyder said during his first weekly press conference of the season. “He got invested in the system, schematically, very quickly and his retention rate is very good, even though there’s so much thrown at you during the course of three weeks.
“He’s rapidly moved himself beyond being a first-term guy. He’s playing like he has some experience.”
In all, there are 10 underclassmen — sophomores or younger — on the Wildcats’ two-deep defense, including first-time starter, sophomore Jordan Willis, at defensive end.
Snyder said Willis and Lee, who is behind Charmeachealle Moore at linebacker, have both shown improvement during fall camp.
“Both of them play hard — they’re going to give their best effort every time all the time,” he said. “Jordan is the kind of epitome of daily improvement — gets himself a little bit better day in and day out. Elijah, this is new to him, but he’s made some headway, a pretty good athlete and runs well. I like both of them.”
Sophomore Will Davis earned a starting spot at middle linebacker, ahead of redshirt-freshman Trent Tanking. Redshirt-freshman Cre Moore is behind Morgan Burns at one of the corner spots, while sophomore Demonte Hood and redshirt-freshmen Will Geary and Matt Seiwert look to be in the rotation at defensive tackle.
Noticeably absent from the depth chart are the multiple junior college transfers who arrived late to camp — linebackers D’Vonta Derricott and Isaiah Riddle, defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales and offensive lineman A.J. Allen. Danzel McDaniel, a corner from Dodge City Community College, starting at the other corner spot opposite Burns.
“If you come in after camp has started and you’ve missed all of the summer workout and the spring workouts, it’s not an easy task to get yourself on the depth chart where you’d like to be,” Snyder said. “But we see promise…”
Snyder did say he anticipates some of them could get on the field this weekend.
“I can’t tell you how often or how much and I can’t tell you for certain that they will, but the anticipation is that we’ll have the opportunity to put them on the field,” he said.
Hubener locks down No. 2
Joe Hubener beat out Jesse Ertz for the backup quarterback job behind Jake Waters. Snyder said 6-foot-4 sophomore has also been awarded a scholarship.
“He has really done extremely well in camp now that he’s had the opportunity to perform with a great deal of consistency — and I mean get on the field and get reps with the 1s and the 2s,” Snyder said. “He has a very good understanding of what our offense is all about, manages the offense extremely well, is throwing the ball well and getting the ball downfield.”
Wide receivers set
Manhattan High product Deante Burton is the third receiver, behind Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton. The sophomore is listed ahead of junior Kody Cook, while Judah Jones — also a running back — is behind Lockett. Junior college transfer Andre Davis is behind Sexton.