Sunday, November 29, 2015

Snyder’s age a factor on recruiting trail

Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder will turn 75 in October. He’s already the oldest active head coach in college football and with the five-year deal he signed a year ago, Snyder is under contract until he’s 78.

But when it comes to wins, age hasn’t seemed to matter at K-State, as the Wildcats are coming off their fourth straight bowl game and a victory over Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Yet, with Wednesday’s announcement of the Wildcats’ 2014 recruiting class, Snyder’s age is always questioned, and rightfully so. Recruits today, more often than not, commit to coaches, not programs. That makes Snyder an easy target on the recruiting trail for opposing coaches to use his age against him.

So how does he handle the age question when it comes up with prospective recruits?

“I’m honest with all of them,” Snyder said Wednesday. “I just say, ‘I’ll do it as long as I’m doing right by the university, right by the young people in our program, accomplishing what we want to accomplish and as long as my health is fine. And if it’s not, you wouldn’t want me here and I certainly shouldn’t be here and wouldn’t want to be here.’

“We seem to be doing OK and my health is OK, so ‘roll the dice, come on.’ You always want to be honest with them.”

Wildcats check in at No. 46

K-State introduced a recruiting class Wednesday that included 28 student-athletes who will join or have already joined the football program — made up of 18 high school players and nine athletes from the junior college ranks. ranked K-State at 46th nationally — seventh in the Big 12 — giving the Snyder his best recruiting class since his return to the sidelines six years ago.

Oklahoma had the best class in the Big 12 at No. 15, followed by Texas at No. 20. Oklahoma State was No. 27, followed by Baylor at No. 34 and West Virginia at No. 38 and Texas Tech at No. 43. Behind K-State was TCU at 51, Kansas at 55 and Iowa State at 56.

The nation’s top five recruiting classes were Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Florida State and Tennessee.

Scheduling, Thursdays and money

If it seems like next season’s football schedule might drag on and on, you’re right. The Wildcats’ season starts Aug. 30 at home against Stephen F. Austin and concludes Dec. 6 at Baylor. In between are three bye weeks and a pair of Thursday night games — Auburn at home and at West Virginia — which means there will actually be five Saturdays with no games.

Coach Snyder doesn’t generally like games on Thursdays, but given the potential of having odd breaks during the season, he said it was the right thing to do. However, if not for money becoming the driving force in college athletics, there would be no need to play games on Thursdays, Snyder said.

“I’ve never liked the direction college athletics has taken in regards to the money and the TV, and everything seems to be directed that way,” Snyder said. “That sends a bad message to young guys, that this isn’t so much about education, as it is about dollars and cents.

“But because of that, with the expanded timeframe, Aug. 30 to December, that’s expanded both ways. You thin it out. Why is it that way? So you can accommodate more TV opportunities. Why? So you can make more money…

“Now, the best solution is that you play on Thursday, so you theoretically have 10-day preparation for each opponent and don’t have a long span of two weeks while you’re sitting on your thumbs… I’ve never been a fan of Thursday night games because of your community and your fan base, people coming all the way from Western Kansas and having to drive back. Does it prevent them from coming? That’s always been my concern.”


Lockett to the NFL?

Snyder said he and Kevin Lockett had conversations about Tyler Lockett exploring the option of skipping his senior season and entering the upcoming NFL draft. No need to worry, though. Tyler is returning for his senior season.

“His dad and I had some dialogue about it, yes,” Snyder said. “His dad wanted to see what the NFL thought of him — Tyler is going to stay — but we went through that process. The NFL won’t tell you what your pluses and minuses are, they’ll just give you as guesstimate on where you might fit in the draft.”


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