Dana Dimel will coach his final game as Kansas State’s offensive coordinator next week at the Cactus Bowl before he takes over full time as the coach at UTEP, and it appears his son will join him in saying farewell to the Wildcats.
Winston Dimel, a junior K-State fullback, is expected to follow his father to UTEP and play for the Miners next season as a graduate transfer.
“I imagine that it would be Winston’s (final game in a K-State uniform),” K-State coach Bill Snyder said Wednesday. “I would imagine that he would want to go with his father. He and I haven’t had that conversation. We will. I think it’s obviously a good choice for the University of Texas at El Paso.”
Winston Dimel did not speak with media on Wednesday, but he later made a statement on Twitter saying he had not made any decisions about his future.
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“My only focus right now is winning this bowl game against UCLA and balling with my brothers,” Winston Dimel wrote. “I have made no decisions on what I am doing next year. The rumors of me going to UTEP are not accurate.”
In any case, K-State is prepared for Winston Dimel’s departure. The Wildcats signed fullback Luke Sowa, a 6-foot-3, 245-pounder from Butler Community College, on Wednesday to offset the potential roster loss.
Winston Dimel has started 38 games for the Wildcats and earned All-Big 12 honors from the league’s coaches three different times. This season, he rushed for 63 yards and four touchdowns, while also catching seven passes for 82 yards and a score. He has also been an integral part of K-State’s blocking unit, particularly as a lead-blocker on quarterback keepers.
He graduated earlier this month with a degree in management.
UTEP hired Dana Dimel as its new coach two weeks ago. He takes over a team coming off an 0-12 season after spending eight years as K-State offensive coordinator.
Snyder said Dana Dimel will call plays against UCLA at the Cactus Bowl the same way he has all season.
“He wanted to be a part of it, so we had some talks about it, whether that was the best thing for both our program and for him as well down there,” Snyder said. “We came to that conclusion.”
Snyder expects junior cornerback D.J. Reed and sophomore quarterback Alex Delton to play in the Cactus Bowl, but the Wildcats are not expecting right tackle Dalton Risner to play.
Risner, an all-conference offensive lineman, played through injuries this season that needed surgery to fix. He recently shared a photo on social media that showed his left arm in a sling.
K-State will also likely be without defensive back Kendall Adams, who is currently on crutches. There is optimism that receiver Dalton Schoen has recovered from a broken collarbone and will play, though. He is one of five K-State players scheduled to speak at Cactus Bowl media day.
Reed should provide an instant boost on defense and special teams. He was one of the top defensive backs in the Big 12 this season, and an explosive kick returner.
Delton should help with offensive depth. Snyder said freshman Skylar Thompson will start the game, but Delton will see an undetermined amount of action.
Low ticket sales
K-State athletic director Gene Taylor is not expecting a large crowd to follow the Wildcats to Phoenix. He said K-State has sold about 3,000 tickets to the game, which is roughly half its ticket allotment. He said the bowl has asked for some of those tickets back to donate to local charities.
“Our fans that are going, good for them,” Taylor said. “Our kids are excited. I just think the day of the 26th, right after the holiday, is going be tough for a normal fan following.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett