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Blue Springs trio heads 2014 group

By Joel Jellison

From the moment Dalvin Warmack committed to Kansas State last summer, he took it upon himself to make sure the Wildcats would have a good class coming in with him.

So Warmack, a running back from Blue Springs, Mo., tweeted at potential K-State targets, and spoke highly of fellow commits. And along with him, Blue Springs teammates Kaleb Prewett and Elijah Lee committed to play for the Wildcats.

After Warmack and his fellow teammates joined a 2014 recruiting class that includes 18 high school players on Wednesday, K-State coach Bill Snyder spoke of his new running back’s leadership qualities.

“I think he will step in as a young man with tremendous intrinsic values all of the time,” he said. “He’s a guy who will do right and set the example. He’ll engage himself in leadership activities and I’m confident in that.

“All of the stuff that goes out, and it’s not just Twitter, but all of the different avenues that young people have and utilize immensely, some of it for good and some of it for not so good, I think there is a tremendous balance there. Guys have to learn how to handle that and I think he has done it the right way.”

Warmack, Lee and Prewett became the first trio of players from the same school to sign at K-State in the same class since the Wildcats landed Josh Buhl, Bryan Hickman and Corey White out of Mesquite, Texas, in 1999.

Warmack, at 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds, is a three-star running back by and a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Missouri. He rushed for 2,300 yards each of the last two seasons and scored 40 rushing touchdowns as a junior.

While Warmack was one of the top players of the class, Lee and Prewett — a linebacker and defensive back — were also highly rated players from Missouri.

Lee was a two-time winner of the Buck Buchanan Memorial award for the top lineman or linebacker in Missouri or Kansas, and Prewett was an all-state safety.

Most of all, all three come from a successful high school program that has led to each being confident in their abilities on the field.

“They bring a confidence factor with them,” Snyder said. “They bring the experience of playing in and competing in and being a part of being leaders of a very successful program.

“I would just say collective because every single individual in this class is significant and important to us. But I think all three of them, sitting down and visiting with them, they’re all good students. They really have those intrinsic values in place and they’re all really serious about the game of football and being competitive. All three of them have that leadership capacity within them to be able to assist our program in that way as well.”

Of the high school players in the class, the Wildcats added four offensive lineman, three defensive backs, three linebackers, three wide receivers, one tight end, one quarterback (a walk-on), one running back, one defensive lineman and a fullback.

Dalton Risner, a 6-4, 290-pound center from Wiggins, Colo., didn’t always get much attention during the recruiting process, but he managed to capture Snyder’s attention with his relentless mission to promote himself to Division-I programs.

“I think he is a bright young guy,” Snyder said of Risner, who Rivals ranks as the nation’s sixth-best center. “He’s a sizeable young man, he’s athletic in relation to his size and the position that he plays and he’s a young guy with that value system in place.

“The fact that he put himself out there just allows you to understand that he is a competitive young guy and bright enough to understand that there are a lot of ways to shoe a horse and you do all of the things that you can do in order to achieve the success that you want to achieve.”

With this year’s class came the commitment of a handful of players, including Warmack, long before the recruiting process had a chance to play out throughout the senior season.

Because other schools have started to offer players much earlier than they used to, Snyder admitted on Wednesday that he and his staff has had to extend offers earlier than before to keep up.

As he’s said in the past, that process falls in line with some of the growing trends that the K-State coach has disagreed with.

“You’ve heard me say this before that the recruiting calendar, so to speak, is upside down,” Snyder said. “Young guys in the 2016 class are making commitments now. The 2015 class has been making commitments for a year.

“It’s just gone haywire in some aspects of it and I don’t like it that way. Personally, on some occasions, you have to keep with the Jones’ so to speak and in doing so, you extend some offers ahead of time.”

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