When Kansas State football fans arrive for the team’s spring showcase next month, it’s a good bet their eyes will be trained on Hunter Rison.
The sophomore receiver showed up on campus with plenty of hype when he decided to leave Michigan State for K-State, and that excitement grew while he sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules. He caught 19 passes for 224 yards as a freshman and his father, Andre, is a former NFL star who played for the Chiefs from 1997-99.
Talk about a promising combination.
“Hunter has got a bright, bright future here,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said. “I have been very impressed with him the first couple days. He made a couple really nice catches yesterday. He is a pretty dynamic receiver. Learning a little bit more about him, I like his demeanor and his mentality and how he attacks the game. I am excited to see what he can do. We are pretty blessed to have a number of good receivers, so where can we find spots for him to be successful?”
Rison is embracing the high expectations that followed him here from Michigan State.
He didn’t get to do much behind the scenes last season while he recovered from a surgical procedure to fix a hip impingement, but he got in shape during winter conditioning and is now making plays in spring practice.
All signs point to him becoming a fixture in K-State’s offense next season, alongside returning receivers Isaiah Zuber, Malik Knowles and Dalton Schoen.
“I can’t wait. I have been eagerly waiting,” Rison said. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say too much. I just want to take it day by day and keep working hard, because things are going really great right now.”
His teammates have noticed.
“He is looking good,” K-State defensive back Walter Neil said. “He has definitely been one of the better receivers, one of the most productive, by far. He has size, about 200 pounds. Most corners go up on him and you try to put your hands on him, but he can push right by you.”
“He approaches everything in a real professional manner,” K-State running back Harry Trotter said. “He’s a great route runner, has great hands, and he is really good in open space. I feel like he is going to have a big season for us.”
Rison expects to get some help from his father along the way.
He refers to his dad as his biggest coach, and it’s not hard to understand why. Andre Rison was an explosive NFL receiver who caught 743 passes for 10,205 yards and 84 touchdown while playing for six different teams.
When Rison signed with K-State, his teammates logged onto YouTube and found videos of his father going one-on-one with Deion Sanders. They still pull up old highlights eery once in a while. But only Rison gets daily pointers from him.
“Why not listen to him?” Rison said. “Everything he teaches me, everything he tells me, I’m listening because I know he has done it before. It’s amazing to think that he played my position. Because a lot of guys have dads who played, but he truly played my position. Anything he says, I’m just soaking it in.”
For now, Rison is focused on learning a new offense and preparing for his sophomore season after a year on the sideline.
It wasn’t easy to sit out that long, but he thinks it will pay dividends. He’s ready to show off his skills in front of K-State fans.