Before Kansas State even stepped onto the field Saturday, its players were winners in a way that had nothing to do with the gridiron. The Wildcats boast 21 graduates on their team, tied with SMU for the most of in the country. It’s a total that far outpaces the next-best Big 12 school, Baylor, which had 14 graduates.
“Our football team is comprised of some outstanding young men, and these 21 graduates certainly are an integral part of our leadership group,” K-State head coach Chris Klieman said in a release. “With so many student-athletes across the nation electing to transfer or seeking other opportunities, this accomplishment speaks volumes to their commitment to our program and success, and that is something we are very proud of.”
The National Football Foundation compiled the list with the help of athletics directors, faculty athletics representatives and sports information directors from all divisions of college football, identifying players on their 2019 fall rosters who already earned their undergraduate degrees.
It include 963 players from 126 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), 353 players from 82 schools in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), 110 players from 31 schools in Division II, one player from one school in Division III and 12 players from five schools in the NAIA. Athletics director Gene Taylor said it was a “phenomenal accomplishment” that K-State tied for top honors.
“(It’s) not only our student-athletes and football program but also our academic support staff and faculty on campus who are dedicated to seeing all of our student-athletes earn their degrees,” Taylor said. “I would like to especially acknowledge Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Services Bill Banks, who works directly with our football program and provides countless support for their academic needs and also Coach Snyder and his staff for annually recruiting and developing young men of tremendous character and work ethic.”
— Ryan Black
Men’s basketball team honored
During a break in the action in the first quarter, K-State recognized last season’s men’s basketball team. The Wildcats were the Big 12 regular-season co-champions after posting a 14-4 mark in conference play. The team’s two stars, Barry Brown and Dean Wade, received equally loud cheers from the crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. A “BRUUUUUUUCE” chant also broke out when head coach was introduced Bruce Weber.
Senior left tackle Scott Frantz went down with an undisclosed injury in the second quarter. This forced the Wildcats to shuffle their offensive line for the remainder of the first half.
Nick Kaltmayer — who started at right tackle — flipped to the left side to replace Scott Frantz. Tyler Mitchell, the starting right guard, shifted out to right tackle to fill Kaltmayer’s spot. And with Mitchell on the outside, Evan Curl moved into the lineup at right guard.
Frantz’s injury didn’t prove to be serious, as he returned to his spot for the Wildcats’ initial possession in the second half.
With Saturday’s 49-14 victory, Chris Klieman became the third consecutive K-State head coach to win their debut, joining Bill Snyder in 1989 and Ron Prince in 2006.