Kansas State is still hunting for defensive line recruits, and it’s uncertain where the team will stand this spring at the position. While ends Meshak Williams and Adam Davis collected all the glory this year, tackles Vai Lutui and John Sua were 300-pound behemoths that clogged the middle and demanded the attention of offensive linemen all year long. All four of these starters were seniors that played their final college game last month, and must be replaced. And while K-State has done a stellar job of recruiting defensive ends – and outside linebackers that could be transitioned to the end position – it sorely lacks a true DT recruit.
One option heading into this year will be incoming freshman Ajahne Brager. Brager is listed as both an offensive lineman and defensive tackle, depending upon which recruiting website you believe. At 6-4, 278 lbs, he could stand to be a little bigger if he hopes to consume the attention of Oklahoma’s guards. His commitment is considered very solid, as his only other offers are from Lamar and McNeese State. K-State was his only visit on the recruiting trail. 247 Sports ranks him as the 67th best DT prospect in the nation.
The team lost a close battle for JUCO transfer Edwin Delva, who will be headed to Oregon State. No other players have announced an intention to matriculate to Manhattan next fall. With the largest incoming DE prospect weighing in at 260 pounds, moving inside is a big request. As such, expect to read two or more of the following returning players’s names several times this year (2013 status in parentheses):
- Xavier Gates (sophomore) – only true defensive tackle, listed at 312 pounds. Big boy.
Players listed as defensive linemen, capable of filling either the end or tackle position:
- Hakeem Akinola (senior)
- Wesley Hollingshed (senior)
- Chaquil Reed (senior)
- Laton Dowling (junior)
- Travis Britz (sophomore)
- Demonte Hood (sophomore)
- Logan O’Dea (sophomore)
Obviously there’s some returning depth, but this is a list extremely short on playing experience. Signing day is never guaranteed, and the opportunity for immediate starting potential could sway a late recruit or two. However, there may be a hole in the middle compared to the talent the Wildcats have been amassing on the outside. Fortunately, given the proclivity of Big 12 team’s to attack the outside, this should set up strength-on-strength match ups that don’t dramatically exploit K-State’s weaknesses.