K-State fans have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of top junior college wide receiver, Marquez Clark. This anticipation made losing out on linebacker Jeff Luc at least a bit more palatable.
The only remaining piece of the puzzle for Clark was passing two classes at Navarro Junior College. Unfortunately, that piece of the puzzle did not, in fact, fall into place. Clark failed that class, and will not be attending K-State this fall. He told Ryan Wallace at GoPowerCat.com that he failed because of a miscommunication between himself and the professor regarding the required classwork. For whatever reason, he has decided not to try to clear up that miscommunication, and to simply follow his junior college coach to the University of Central Oklahoma.
Under Bill Snyder, the Wildcats have never been known for bringing high-level recruits (read: 4- and 5-star guys) to Manhattan. As Clark was the only 4-star recruit in the 2012 class, that makes this development particularly disappointing. However, all is not lost as regards K-State’s 2012 recruiting class.
First, Coach Snyder has always been the type of coach who coaxes 2- and 3-star talent into playing like 4- and 5-star talent. While the loss of his only 4-star recruit hurts, he has certainly shown himself up to the task of winning with lesser talent.
Second, on a more tangible level, defensive tackle Demonte Hood, who was also in danger of failing to qualify academically, passed the SAT, and has joined the Cats for their summer workouts. The 6’0″, 295 pound defensive tackle fills a team need, particularly looking ahead to the 2013 season and beyond.
Finally, while this is certainly bad news on the recruiting front for the Cats, Clark was probably not going to supplant the current wide receiver corps this season. Wide receiver is a position of depth for the team, and Clark would have most likely slid into either a #2 or #3 role behind Chris Harper and perhaps Tyler Lockett.
The larger issue here is this: will whatever coach comes after Bill Snyder this time be able to “coach up” the 2- and 3-star guys like Snyder has? That prospect is questionable at best, given that Snyder is one of the greatest coaches of all time. Failing that, then, the next coach will have to recruit better talent than our current staff has shown the ability to bring to Manhattan. And if the “cupboard is bare”, as the saying goes, when that hypothetical new coach arrives, how long will it take to rebuild a winner here?
Questions like that have no real answer in the present. But it’s those type of questions that cause me the most worry about losing out on Clark. If we can’t recruit (and qualify) even 4-star recruits to Manhattan, coming off a 10-win season, and with the best coach in the business, how will our hypothetical new coach ever get it done?