Returning to the defense, its important to understand the mountain the defensive coaches are faced with. The Wildcats finished first in scoring defense in the Big 12. But this team loses all four defensive linemen, all three linebackers, both cornerbacks, and one of two safeties. However, the program appears comfortable with where it stands. While some would expect Snyder to enter panic mode and build this defense through junior college transfers, that hasn’t necessarily been the case.
The safety position appears set, as stated before, with Barnett and Zimmerman. Good depth was brought in through transfer students with Devon Nash and Jamone Boyd on the line. LB/DE Tanner Wood is one of the best HS prospects to come through Manhattan recently and is an excellent tackler. Linebacker Nick Ramirez from Missouri has the skills to be a three if not four year starter. Tre Walker would have started on just about every team save Oregon last year, and will be ready to break out his senior season after a year of rehabilitation.
The good news is that the coaching squad has several opportunities to put these pieces together. K-State starts the season with games against North Dakota State, Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass. Those teams should afford the Wildcats the chance to get comfortable with a new squad of players. The Purple and White will give us the first glance at a projected depth chart at the newly renovated stadium on April 24th.