Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Friday, which means kick-off against North Dakota State is just one short week away. As we march forward in the countdown we continue our player previews, using the recently updated roster to reflect current jersey numbers. At the time of this writing the official K-State roster was listing two players at number seven in cornerback Kip Daily and receiver Judah Jones. While Daily should figure prominently in the secondary’s rotation this year, Jones is a strong candidate to redshirt and will likely have to wait a year to don the number on the field. Here’s your look at the two players:
Daily had the luxury of playing behind two stellar cornerbacks in Nigel Malone and Allan Chapman in 2012 (both signed with NFL teams as undrafted rookies this summer). This year he’ll be expected to step up in a big way, assuming responsibility as one of the team’s starting seniors if things go as expected.
Daily attended Blinn College before transferring to K-State, playing in 10 games during the team’s 2009 national championship run . He carded 37 tackles, five interceptions, and three fumble recoveries there. He redshirted his first year at K-State, then saw time in six games with one tackle last year. Yet depth concerns and the need for some senior leadership should thrust him into the #2 spot alongside Dante Barnett in 2013.
Daily has received the vote of confidence from the coaching staff. Choosing K-State over offers from SMU, Southern Miss, Cincinnati, and Tulsa, the 247 Sports Composite rated him the number nine JUCO cornerback in 2011. He started the spring game on the first team and had one tackle, then shifted to the second team for the second half, recording another tackle and taking a kickoff for 20 yards. Daily wasn’t the only player to play with both squads, as the coaching staff gave a few players the opportunity to develop chemistry with the number one squad while also testing them against the number one offense. However, that Daily received the start demonstrates that the staff believes he has what it takes to step up this year.
With Barnett covering opponents’ number one receiver and Ty Zimmerman assuming the role of the Big 12’s best safety, Daily doesn’t have to be a hero this year. If he can just demonstrate the ability to pick up a couple key interceptions like he did at Blinn and not let anyone get behind him, the rest of the defense should be in good shape.
Judah Jones is a true freshman from Shreveport, LA, put looks intent on making a splash early. A graduate of Evangel Christian High School, he originally signed with the team in 2012 but didn’t enroll for classes until this spring in one of the more intriguing stories among K-State’s recruiting class. Actually, the story is pretty sweeet. Jones is one of five children, and the family has a Christian Gospel band called forever JONES. Judah Jones plays the drums for forever JONES, which was nominated for two Grammy Awards. After graduating in May 2012, he opted to spend time with his family touring to promote their new album before enrolling for 2013.
Jones experienced his most productive season as a junior, and had over 750 receiving yards and six touchdowns (over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns) that year. He also had 728 yards receiving as a senior, although he didn’t see the ball as much his final year. “I had kind of a tougher year this year,” Jones stated regarding his senior season. “I didn’t get the ball thrown my way as much as I did as a junior, and we ran the ball a lot more. It’s fine though because I don’t play for awards. I just enjoy being part of the team. At Kansas State I know I’m capable of much better.”
Jones returned one kick-off during spring game, which he returned for 23 yards while playing on the second team. He was probably the least experienced player in the game, and it doesn’t appear any balls where thrown his way on offense. Jones remains a bit of a project, which is why a redshirt probably awaits him, but at 6’1″ and 180 pounds he brings a nice combination of height and speed. Jones stated that K-State was a good fit for him, as Manhattan was the ‘perfect’ size. Bill Snyder’s moral teachings were very important to the visit, and Jones admired the weight he placed on the importance of graduating with a Kansas State degree and its value for being successful in life. Finally, Jones spoke praisingly of his tour from Tyler Lockett and Morgan Burns which allowed him to discuss religion, the team, and the campus. Jones said K-State was a good fit for him, and hopefully he can be a good fit for K-State as well.