Four games into the season, Cody Fletcher has yet to take the field for Kansas State.
A junior linebacker, Fletcher was expected to be a key member of the rotation following the season-ending injury of Justin Hughes, which occurred during the spring. But Fletcher suffered a lower-leg injury during the Wildcats' preseason camp, which has sidelined him the first month of the 2019 campaign.
K-State head coach Chris Klieman said Fletcher, whose nickname is "Fletch," practiced Monday. But it's still too soon to know whether Fletcher will be able to play Saturday against Baylor, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
"Does that mean he is going to play this week?" Klieman said during his weekly press conference Tuesday. "No, but at least he’s back practicing."
A native of Henrietta, Texas, Fletcher joined K-State as a transfer. He played one season at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, after redshirting in 2016. Thanks to his efforts during the 2017 season, he earned second-team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference honors, leading the Apaches with 104 tackles and topping the league in tackles per game at 11.6.
After becoming a Wildcat, he appeared in all 12 games last fall, playing primarily on special teams. His five special teams tackles ranked third on the team, with every takedown coming on kickoff coverage. His top performance came against Baylor, when he also saw time at linebacker and tallied six tackles.
Given that he hasn't played this fall, and depending on the severity of the injury, the possibility of redshirting Fletcher is still on the table. He then could apply for another season of eligibility. But Klieman said redshirting this season hasn't been discussed yet.
Fletcher, he said, is too important to hold out for the entire season until the team is certain it would further endanger his long-term health.
"I know how much he wants to play," Klieman said, "and how thin we are, not necessarily at the linebacker position — we are a little bit there, with three — but on special teams as well."