Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: Kansas State football gets the best out of Kansas

Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson, from Riley County, runs for a 68-yard touchdown reception in a 2007 game against Kansas.
Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson, from Riley County, runs for a 68-yard touchdown reception in a 2007 game against Kansas. Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle

Give new Kansas football coach David Beaty credit for saying he wants to make inroads by recruiting the best players in Kansas.

It’s a worthy goal and a valiant attempt. We don’t produce the kind of high school football talent they do in Texas, for sure, but there are some gems right here. And KU would be best served to start winning some recruiting battles with Kansas State. The Wildcats have owned this state when it comes to recruiting high school football players. And I don’t care what anybody says, it’s one of the big reasons for the success Bill Snyder has had in Manhattan.

Snyder has made it cool for high school players in the state to go to K-State. It’s a destination spot. If you’re being recruited by the Wildcats, you tell try to find a mountain top (good luck) and yell.

Snyder has hit a bunch of Kansas home runs during his 25 seasons at Kansas State. But for the most part, Kansas has swung and missed.

Beaty vows to do his best to change that. And since Snyder is 75 and can’t coach much longer (can he?), there is reason to hope that he’ll be able to follow through on his vow to cultivate Kansas better than his predecessors have been able to do.

Beaty is a Texan and he talks a lot about opening up some recruiting avenues there. Given the hundreds of prospects who come out of Texas every year, more power to him. KU fans have to be hoping that he’ll get in on some good Texas kids.

When the 2014 All-Big 12 selections were announced this week, K-State was represented by five Kansas natives on the first two teams, offensive and defense. Kansas had one Kansas picked, linebacker Ben Heeney from Hutchinson.

It’s a trend.

Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996, 24 Kansas State players from the Kansas high school ranks have made the first or second teams compared to just seven from KU.

Many other Kansans have made significant contributions to Snyder, who has used a walk-on program to get Kansas kids on campus and molded them into solid, sometimes outstanding, players.

It’s part of Snyder’s genius and part of why the Wildcats have owned the Jayhawks over the past couple of decades.

Here’s a list of Kansas high school products who have made first- or second-team All-Big 12 since 1996.

Kansas State

2014 – B.J. Finney, OL, Andale (First team); Curry Sexton, WR, Abilene (Second team); Cody Whitehair, OL, Abilene (2); Ryan Mueller, DL, St. Thomas Aquinas, (1); Jonathan Truman, LB, Wichita Kapaun Mount Carmel (2).

2013 – Ty Zimmerman, DB, Junction City (1); Ryan Mueller (1); Cody Whitehair (2).

2012 – Arthur Brown, LB, Wichita East (1); Chris Harper, WR, Wichita Northwest (2); Anthony Cantale, K, Wichita Kapaun Mount Carmel (2).

2011 – Tysyn Hartman, DB, Wichita Kapaun Mount Carmel (2); Arthur Brown (1).

2010 – Ty Zimmerman (2).

2009 – Nick Stringer, OL, Topeka Hayden (1).

2008 – Ian Campbell, DL, Cimarron (1).

2007 – Jordy Nelson, WR, Riley (1); Tim Reyer, P, Wamego (1); Ian Campbell (1).

2006 – Marcus Watts, DB, Hays (2); Ian Campbell (1).

2004 – Darren Sproles, RB, Olathe North (2).

2003 – Darren Sproles (1); Ryan Lilja, OL, Shawnee Mission Northwest (2); Rashad Washington, DB, Wichita Southeast (2).

2002 – Terrence Newman, KR-DB, Salina Central (1, 1); Darren Sproles (2).

2001 – Terrence Newman, DB, (2).

2000 – Jamie Rheem, K, Wichita Collegiate (1); Monty Beisel, DE-LB, Douglass (2).

1999 – Mark Simoneau, LB, Smith Center (1); Lamar Chapman, DB, Liberal (1).

1998 – Lamar Chapman (1); Mark Simoneau (2).

1997 – Mark Simoneau (2).

1996 – Nyle Wiren, LB-DE, Wichita Northwest (1).


2014 – Ben Heeney, LB, Hutchinson (1).

2013 – Ben Heeney (2).

2012 – Ben Heeney (2); Tanner Hawkinson, OL, McPherson (2).

2009 – Kerry Meier, WR, Pittsburg (2); Darrell Stuckey, DB, Kansas City Washington (1).

2007 – Brandon McAnderson, RB, Lawrence (2).

2005 – Nick Reid, LB, Derby (1).

2004 – Nick Reid (2).

1997 – Ron Warner, LB, Independence (1).