2010 Kansas State Preview – Defense

Posted Jul 31, 2010

CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Kansas State Wildcat Defense

Kansas State Wildcats

Preview 2010 - Defense

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What You Need To Know: Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh has a nice blend of talents to work with from a defense that made great strides last year. More often than not, the Cats will employ a 4-2-5 defense with the strength likely to be at safety. Tysyn Hartman, Emmanuel Lamur, and Troy Butler form a nice, veteran group that's starting to come into its own, but they'll have to help out a shaky corner situation after losing Joshua Moore early to the NFL. The linebackers are feisty, but limited, while the defensive front will count on the healthy return of promising pass rusher Brandon Harold from a knee injury and the infusion of talented JUCO transfers. This isn't going to be a brick wall of a defense, but it'll play hard, will always be swarming, and it should be better with all the returning experience.

Returning Leaders
Tackles: Emmanuel Lamur, 68
Sacks: Antonio Felder, 3
Interceptions: Tysyn Hartman, 5

Star of the defense: Junior SS Tysyn Hartman
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore NT Ray Kibble
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore LB Jarell Childs
Best pro prospect: Hartman
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Hartman, 2) FS Emmanuel Lamur, 3) DE Brandon Harold
Strength of the defense: Run Defense, Safety
Weakness of the defense: Linebacker, Corner

Defensive Line

Projected Starters: The Wildcats got a huge first season from junior Brandon Harold in 2008 with 45 tackles, three sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. The hope was for him blossom into an all-star on a higher level as a pass rusher and a disruptive force, but a knee injury ruined his season with just one tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry in his one game of action. The 6-5, 264-pounder is big enough to hold his own as a 3-4 end and he has the speed to be a dominant pass rusher and the star of the line in the 4-3 now that he's healthy again.

Senior Antonio Felder made his presence felt in his first year in a big role taking over the starting job on the right side midway through the season. The 6-2, 244-pounder finished with 30 tackles with three sacks and seven tackles for loss as a tough run defender who occasionally got into the backfield. Athletic enough to be an outside linebacker if needed, he should flourish up front with the return of Harold on the other side.

While 6-4, 265-pound senior Prizell Brown might be undersized, he's a strong tackle inside who used his athleticism to hold up. The former tight end worked mostly as a big defensive end last year making ten tackles, but he wasn't much of a pass rusher. Inside, he doesn't have the raw bulk needed, but he has the lateral ability to keep the gap clogged and get to the ball. He'll be a great part of the rotation.

Operating on the nose will be 6-4, 296-pound sophomore Ray Kibble , a big, strong JUCO transfer who was one of the team's top recruits. A good interior pass rusher who was an all-star at Navarro Junior College, he'll be more than just a stick in the mud anchor in the middle of the line; he'll get into the backfield now and then.

Projected Top Reserves: While Adam Davis is only 6-1 and 242 pounds, he's a force who'll operate somewhere on the Wildcat line right away. The star JUCO transfer was one of the team's top recruits with tremendous pass rushing ability as a linebacker-like end, making 23 sacks for Hutchinson CC. He has the motor, the strength, and the finishing ability to be a star of a specialist.

Junior Raphael Guidry turned in a nice year emerging as a starter on the inside. The 6-4, 279-pound tackle isn't all that big for the position, but he gets off the ball in a hurry and he's reliable against the run making 19 tackles with two tackles for loss. He's not a regular in the backfield, but sack stats don't show his worth as a steady part of the rotation.

Junior Payton Kirk will operate on the outside behind Brandon Harold and he needs to grow into a more active defender. The 6-5, 265-pounder should be strong against the run after bulking up close to 30 pounds in the last few years, and he has the frame that should be tough to throw over. While he has been a good special teamer, he only made just one tackle last year.

JUCO transfer Javonta Boyd is a 6-2, 288-pound run stuffer for the interior and is ready to work right away on the nose in a rotation with Ray Kibble. A strong tackler who made 54 tackles for Butler CC, he's a great athlete for the inside and he should be a stat sheet filler when he gets his chances.

Watch Out For … the JUCO transfers. Davis might be the star of the group, but Boyd, Kibble, and 6-0, 290-pound Justin Williams are all big bodies ready to make a big push for the run defense. Throw in Brown and his ability to start right away at tackle and the Wildcats loaded up with ready-made players.
Strength: Size. There isn't a 300 pound thumper on the inside, but there are good-sized bodies all across the front including at end. The line helped KSU become one of the Big 12's top run defenses, and the production should continue.
Weakness: Pass rush. The line needs Harold to be healthy to be the dangerous threat who can get to the quarterback on a regular basis. The front four will generate pressure and will hurry things along, but the team needs a playmaker to replace the seven sacks of Jeffrey Fitzgerald.
Outlook: The KSU defensive front doesn't have a slew of all-stars and it has to replace a few key players, but thanks to the haul of JUCO talent the production from last year should continue. This should be a strong front four against the run, and while it'll be an active bunch, it needs to be disruptive from all four spots.
Unit Rating: 7


Projected Starters: Junior Alex Hrebec is a 5-11, 251-pound bowling ball of a defender who only game up with 32 tackles with four tackles for loss, but he's the leader and the scrappy playmaker of the front six. The former walk-on isn't the best athlete around, but he eats up every play that comes his way and he doesn't miss a stop. With so many new players in the linebacker mix, he'll have to do even more.

Sophomore Jarell Childs ran for 81 yards as a reserve running back, and now he's trying to bring his athleticism and toughness to the linebacking corps. At 6-1 and 225 pounds he's not all that big, but he's a physical freak with lineman strength terrific speed and quickness. He has the range the linebacking corps needs, and while he'll make a slew of mistakes, he'll make more than his share of plays just by being more athletic than everyone else.

Projected Top Reserves: Former JUCO transfer Kadero Terrell was originally thought to be a possible light, quick defensive end, but he got hurt, missed time, and now will finally see the field. The 6-1, 237-pounder is extremely physical and moves well in space bringing the athleticism that Alex Hrebec is lacking. One of the better athletes in the front six, he should be an all-around playmaker when he finally gets on the field.

Looking to be a big part of the rotation in his senior year is Kevin Rohleder, a 6-0, 219-pound tough guy who spent most of his career on special teams and made 29 tackles in a nice year as a backup. He's not all that big, but he does a great job of selling out and is never afraid of getting in on any play. He can be used in a variety of ways, and he won't miss a stop when he gets to the ball.

Watch Out For … Childs. The potential is there for the sophomore to be the team's leading tackler and top playmaker with phenomenal athleticism and the talent to always be around the ball. He's not polished by any stretch, but he's an interesting prospect who'll make the transition in a hurry.
Strength: Tacklers. There might not be a slew of star linebacker talents who can do things at an all-star level, but this is a hard-nosed group that isn't afraid to get dirty. Hrebec, Rohleder, and Terrell are as tough as they come.
Weakness: Talent. There's almost no real experience or steady production to fall back on, and there will have to be a few leaps of faith taken with some of the new bodies in the corps. Fortunately, the defense will only rely on two linebackers most of the time.
Outlook: Gone are John Houlik and Ulla Pomele, the two stars in the linebacking corps last year, and the replacements aren't exactly sure things. This is a patchwork bunch that will make plenty of tackles simply by working hard, but the talent isn't in place to be a strength in any way. The rest of the defense will have to make up for this group.
Unit Rating: 5.5


Projected Starters: Junior strong safety Tysyn Hartman came to Manhattan as a quarterback and quickly turned into a leader in the defensive backfield. The 6-3, 206-pound junior made 49 tackles as he tried to figure out what he was doing in 2008, and last year he played at a high level making 54 stops with a team-leading five interceptions. A good hitter who has become more physical, he has the smarts, the speed, and the range to always be around the ball. Now that he has a few years of experience, he should be an all-star caliber playmaker who has to be accounted for on every pass play.

6-4, 219-pound junior free safety Emmanuel Lamur was a good JUCO prospect who was supposed to make an immediate impact, but no one thought he was going to lead the team with 68 tackles with three interceptions and two blocked kicks. Very tall and with good toughness against the run, and the range to be dangerous in pass coverage, Lamur is great in space and is all over the field making big plays. He doesn't look like it, but he's a tough, physical tackler despite his big wide receiver appearance. With his smarts and quickness, he should do more as a pass rusher with the potential to get into the backfield on blitzes.

It's not that Troy Butler was a disappointment in his first year coming from Antelope Valley CC, but he wasn't consistent making 46 tackles with five tackles for loss. After a strong offseason and a fantastic spring, the potential is there for the light to go on for him to become a special third safety in the equation with corner ability against the pass and just enough hitting skills to be physical against the run. The 6-0, 194-pounder is tough for his size and is a good, vocal presence in the defensive backfield.

Sophomore Darious Thomas got on the field as a true freshman and wasn't bad in his limited time making 11 tackles with a broken up pass. He'll have to battle for the right to replace Joshua Moore, the team's top corner from last year, but he's physical for his 5-11 and 181-pound size and should force fumbles and be a ball-hawker. He'll grow into the job and he should be a No. 1 corner going into next year.

In one of the biggest stunners of last year, senior Stephen Harrison went from being a walk-on to a starting corner who got the call in seven games finishing with 25 tackles and 11 broken up passes. He didn't pick off any passes, but he came up big more often than not when tested and will start out the year as the main corner against the top targets. The 5-11, 183-pounder is hardly a special talent, but he's mature and handles himself well.

Projected Top Reserves: 6-0, 190-pound junior Matthew Pearson comes in from Hutchinson CC and is expected to challenge for a starting corner job right away. An all-star after making 49 tackles in ten games, he's good in run support but he didn't do enough at the JUCO level against the pass. He might end up playing more of a nickel or dime role, but he's pushing Darious Thomas for a job on the outside.

Junior Dahrnaz Tigner might have the best all-around skill set of any K-State defensive back, but he hasn't put his talents to use. He's 6-2, 236 pounds, has blow-him-up hitting ability and track star speed and athleticism as an all-state caliber Florida high school star in the long jump and triple jump. He was mostly a special teamer to start his career and redshirted last year. Now he'll try to make something happen at strong safety.

True freshman Ty Zimmerman waited to join after spending a year as a grayshirt, and then was quickly moved from quarterback to wide receiver to the secondary. The 6-1, 202-pounder looked like a natural at safety showing this offseason that he's going to be a factor for the next four years. A nice all-around athlete, he'll fill up the stat sheet when he gets on the field.

6-0, 192-pound Joseph Bonugli was one of the team's top high school recruits with smarts and open field tackling ability to play anywhere in the secondary. He's a prototype college free safety with the potential to be the quarterback of the defensive backs in the near future, and for now he'll spend the year working behind Emmanuel Lamur. There's a chance he might redshirt with the hope of taking over a starting spot next year.

Watch Out For … the battle for the second corner spot on the other side of Harrison. Thomas and Pearson are both talented enough to start, and the loser in the fight for the job might end up pushing Harrison for time. These two will likely be the starters on the outside next year, so each will get plenty of work in a rotation.
Strength: Safety. A bit lost over the last few years, the light has gone on for Hartman, Lamur, and Butler as they should combine for well over 200 tackles and be the stars of the defense. The three know what they're doing and will be all over the field cleaning up plenty of messes.
Weakness: Decent quarterbacks. The secondary got ripped up by the teams that could throw. Texas Tech blew up for 554 yards and eight scores, and Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas A&M (in a comeback mode) all threw at will. The final stat sheet didn't appear to be so bad, but that's because there were several Louisiana-Lafayette and UCLA type passing games to bring the totals down.
Outlook: Despite the rocky moments last season, the Wildcat secondary has a chance to be a major positive if the corner play improves without Joshua Moore. The safeties should be terrific and there's good depth across the board to create a nice rotation.
Unit Rating: 6.5

Special Teams

Projected Starters: Senior Josh Cherry has a big leg, but he needs it to be more consistent. He wasn't awful, but he only hit 12-of-20 field goals with two of his misses in the two point loss to Louisiana-Lafayette proved costly to the team's season. He got better as the year went on nailing 11 of his last 15 shots.

The punting game wasn't bad last year, and the potential is there for far more with sophomore Ryan Doerr with a year of experience under his belt. The all-star recruit averaged 41.9 yards per kick pitting 13 inside the 20 and forcing nine fair catches. He's an emerging weapon who'll earn all-star honors before his career is out.

Good luck replacing Brandon Banks as a kick and punt returner, but the diminutive Adam Repass-Orduna looks the part. Only 5-4 and 161 pounds, he's tiny, but he's lightning quick and he could become a playmaker for the kick return game.

Star safety Tysyn Hartman was actually better than Banks on punt returns averaging 13.1 yards per try, and now he'll get the full-time job where he should be a dangerous weapon who'll keep the overall average above ten yards per crack.

Watch Out For … Repass-Orduna. Can anyone find him on the field? At just 5-4, he might not get picked up by coverage teams until he's 20 yards down the field. He's an X factor for the special teams.
Strength: Doerr. While he could stand to bang it a bit more, now that he's the main man and won't likely be in a rotation, he should be an all-star who puts the ball inside the 20 at least 20 times. He hangs it up well and he does a great job of working with the coverage teams. Opponents only got a chance at 15 returns.
Weakness: Brandon Banks. KSU finished sixth in the nation and first in the Big 12 in kickoff returns with Banks averaging 28.9 yards per try with four scores. While he wasn't an elite punt returner last year, he averaged a solid 9.1 yards per attempt.
Outlook: Two years ago the special teams were fantastic in every way except the punting game. The coaching staff fixed that in a hurry and now the punting should be a plus, but there's help needed for the kickoff return game and the kicking game has to be more consistent. This will still be a good group that could be fantastic if Cherry comes up with a big senior season.
Unit Rating: 7.5

- 2010 Kansas State Preview | 2010 Kansas State Offense
- 2010 Kansas State Defense | 2010 Kansas State Depth Chart
- Kansas State Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006