WICHITA — Chris Klieman had no interest in discussing Hunter Rison Wednesday. The same went for Isaiah Zuber.
Prior to a Catbacker Tour event at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Klieman declined to offer much insight on either wide receiver.
“I can’t talk about any of that stuff,” Klieman, Kansas State’s first-year head football coach, said about Rison’s impending court date. “I don’t have any idea, and I (couldn’t) comment if I did know.”
Klieman had even less to say about Zuber, the team’s leading receiver in 2018, who entered his name into the transfer portal last week.
“I don’t want to comment on any of that stuff,” Klieman said.
Rison, a third-year sophomore, was arrested by the Riley County Police Department at 1:56 p.m. April 19 in the 2200 block of College Avenue. He was charged with one count of domestic battery/knowing or reckless bodily harm to family/person in dating relationship. Rison is free after posting his $1,000 bond. The day after his arrest, the Wildcats indefinitely suspended him from the team.
While Rison never has caught a pass for K-State — redshirting last year to satisfy the NCAA’s transfer rules after spending his freshman campaign at Michigan State in 2017 — Zuber was the Wildcats’ most dangerous threat last fall when they took to the air, leading the team in receptions (52), receiving yards (619), touchdown receptions (five) and yards per game (51.6). Zuber missed the entire spring after having hip surgery in the offseason.
Despite the uncertain futures of Rison and Zuber, Klieman said he remains confident in K-State’s wide receiver corps.
“I still think we have pretty good, talented guys there at receiver, actually,” Klieman said. “There are a lot of young guys who are really good players who are going to have an opportunity, but there was really nothing established, I didn’t think, during the spring. One of the guys you mention (Zuber) didn’t even participate in the spring. So I’m just looking at the guys we have.”
Thinking on it, Klieman said a pair of pass-catchers caught his eye during the spring.
“Wykeen Gill really jumped out at me,” Klieman said. “I thought he was an exceptional player that made plays an awful lot. I think Dalton Schoen runs exceptionally good routes, and he’s got great hands and does some really good things. And I know that Skylar (Thompson) trusts him.”
If Zuber indeed moves on, Schoen will move to the top rung in both experience and numbers. Schoen, a rising fifth-year senior, ranked second to Zuber in catches (32), receiving yards (520) and yards per game (47.3) last season, while he tied for second (alongside Malik Knowles) in touchdown receptions with two. Schoen also topped Zuber, and every other K-State receiver in 2018, in one category: His 16.3 yards per catch outpaced runner-up Zach Reuter (13.3) by 3 yards.
But Klieman ticked off multiple other receivers he believes can make a difference this fall, including Knowles, third-year sophomores Chabastin Taylor and Landry Weber and redshirt freshman Phillip Brooks.
“Some of those guys people know about, we didn’t get a great opportunity to see enough of,” Klieman said. “We have some freshmen coming in, and we’ve got to have a chance to see what those kids can do, because that is a position (where) you can play somebody early on.”