The experiment is over.
After telling reporters during the spring that wide receiver D.J. Render was working at safety on a trial basis, Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said Monday the shift is permanent.
“He’s going to stay there,” Klieman said during a post-practice press conference. “He’s behind, obviously, mentally, just not playing defense for a while.”
The move also was reflected on the official roster on the K-State Athletics website, which now lists Render as a defensive back.
It’s a chance for a fresh start for Render, who struggled to establish himself on offense the past three seasons.
He arrived in Manhattan as a three-star prospect, per the 247Sports Composite, in the Wildcats’ 2016 class. After redshirting as a freshman, he appeared in three games in 2017 and seven games last fall. But he never recorded a single statistic during that time on the field.
During spring practice, Klieman and his first-year staff noticed Render might have some potential as a defender.
“D.J. did some really good things on a tackling circuit that we had from a special teams point of view,” Klieman said in April. “So we wanted to give him an opportunity just to see where he would be.”
Where he is, Klieman said, is still miles away from being a consistent contributor on defense.
In a sense, Render has to crawl before he can walk.
“D.J. needs to find a way to get on the bus, get on the field through special teams,” Klieman said. “So with all the defensive special teams, with punt and kickoff and different things, we’ve just got to continue to get him to understand defensive football more. Once he maybe can help us on (special) teams, we’ll see how that translates to him helping us on defense.”