MANHATTAN — Bill Snyder has always been reluctant to assess a recruiting class on signing day. It's not his style. He'd rather wait a few years, give players the opportunity to prove themselves, and then give them a grade.
The Kansas State football coach didn't deviate from that approach Wednesday, but it's a 32-man class that tried to address some of the Wildcats' immediate needs.
"We covered a lot of bases," Snyder said. "We got an awful lot of names, some good young people. I think overall we didn't totally perhaps fulfill all the needs that we had, but the quality of each individual will define that a little bit more clearly as the years past.We covered a lot of area."
The two most important: defensive line and quarterback.
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Coming off a season in which the Wildcats qualified for the Pinstripe Bowl but were unable to win close games because of a poor run defense, which allowed more than 229 yards per game and ranked last in the Big 12, K-State received letters of intent from eight defensive linemen and are expecting a weather-delayed ninth.
The last one won't be coming from highly-touted defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds, of Washington D.C.. He chose UCLA over K-State on Wednesday.
Ian Seau, a three-star defensive end out of Carlsbad, Calif., leads the group. The nephew of former NFL great Junior Seau chose K-State over Arizona State and will compete for a starting position quickly.
"I see him as being a tough young guy," Snyder said. "He runs around and plays hard. He likes the game. He will strike a blow, so to speak. He'll hit you. He's an aggressive player."
He's also one of several players who will join K-State from a familiar football family. Fullback Glenn Gronkowski, wide receiver Tyler Lockett and quarterback Justin Tuggle all are related to former NFL players.
"I believe in blood line," Snyder said.
They may not have famous family ties, but Vaikalafi Lutui and Meshak Williams will also be options on the defensive line next year as junior-college transfers. Incoming freshmen Samuel Harvill, Marquel Bryant, Hunter Davis and Lamonte Clark will be considered.
Snyder is already big on Lutui.
"I like him as an individual," Snyder said. "I like his toughness. I like his ability to play the position inside aggressively. How's that going to fit in here? I don't know. I have my wishes and my hopes."
At quarterback, Snyder added two dual-threat players in incoming freshman Daniel Sams and Tuggle. Sams is a three-star prospect out of Slidell, La., who is believed to have a big upside. Tuggle comes to K-State from the same junior college, Blinn, that produced Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and former Wildcat great Michael Bishop.
Snyder said Tuggle will compete for the starting job in spring camp with Collin Klein and Sammuel Lamur. Sams will join that mix in the fall.
In all, Snyder added players from 11 states, with seven from Kansas. Twenty-one are high school seniors, eight are junior-college transfers and three are transfers.
Those transfers will boost K-State's hopes next season as well. Tanner Burns, who Snyder said remains committed to K-State despite his father's decision to leave his post as secondary coach for a similar job at Mississippi, and Wichita brothers Arthur and Bryce Brown, are all expected to play next year.
"I think Arthur will be a very fine player," said Snyder of the former Miami linebacker. "He is a fine player. He's a talented young guy, a hard worker.... He has instinct, and to have instinct at the position that he plays I think is very important."
Of Bryce Brown, he said: "He makes us faster right off the bat. He is fluid. He has good movement. He's growing into becoming a complete back."