As the dust is beginning to settle on the fall transfer portal window with all the coaching changes, Kansas State is left knowing exactly what positions they need to attack for the spring window.
As of January 20, the Wildcats have received four players through the transfer portal. However, The Wildcats ended up losing more than 15 players to the portal along with players who declared for the NFL Draft.
Three positions got hit the hardest because of the portal and the draft. Head coach Chris Klieman needs to go out into the transfer portal in the spring window or see who else is currently in the portal for his 2024 squad. Behind quarterback Avery Johnson, Klieman is leading a young squad into 2024. He needs to go out and get some experienced players from the portal, but he needs to cover the positions that got hit the hardest.
So far Kansas State has lost two linebackers to the transfer portal and one linebacker to the NFL Draft. This position is pivotal for the Wildcats to go out to get and fast because right now they have 13 linebackers already on the roster and two linebackers that they signed to their 2024 signing day class, but only five of them are upperclassmen.
With a lot of the top linebackers in the portal already committed, there are still players available that Klieman should be out trying to recruit to come to Kansas State. K-State's defense struggled against the run during the 2023 season. They started off the season not allowing more than 100 rushing yards to non-conference opponents. When met with teams with a strong rush, they gave up over 170 rushing yards six times throughout the season.
Going out and strengthening this linebacker core will help with the run defense. Yes, the defensive line is a big part of the run defense, but the linebackers are there to close up running lanes created by the offensive line. Klieman needs to beef up this linebacker room with more experience before it becomes a problem during the season.
The Wildcats are losing their entire offensive line due to the NFL Draft and graduation. Klieman is going to have to replace a very experienced offensive line. Yes, Klieman went out and signed five offensive linemen in his 2024 signing class, but those guys are going to need a lot of work to get them game-ready by the 2024 season.
Klieman did go out and get one offensive lineman in the portal, Easton Kilty from North Dakota. However, that is the only new player coming in with college football playing experience. Yes, some players are already on the roster, but how much playing experience do they truly have?
You have to trust these guys with your future. You are putting all your eggs in one basket with Avery Johnson this season. There are no veterans you can go back to with Will Howard being gone. Johnson is good at escaping the pocket if need be, but I don't think Klieman constantly wants him running for his life.
Klieman needs to go out and get some experience to replace these guys on the offensive line. There are currently multiple offensive linemen in the portal from Alabama and Washington with their schools experiencing coaching changes. Please Klieman, go out and try to get some of those guys to give Johnson good protection.
Kanas State only lost one cornerback to the transfer portal, but I feel as though this is just a position that the Wildcats can improve in the 2024 season.
There have been a lot of quality backs that entered the draft this year that Klieman could have made a hard push for, but he didn't. It is always good to have depth at the cornerback position, and not just depth but quality depth. This is a position that seems to get injured easily and I feel as though it would be smart for K-State to beef up this position going forward.
This is not a super huge need for the Wildcats, but based on some positions that Klieman did get for certain positions, this is just always a good position to recruit.