June 14, 2024

Chris Klieman, the head coach at Kansas State, has to manage both traditional recruiting and the transfer portal without a clear prediction of how many high school prospects or college transfers he will sign each recruiting cycle. However, he knows the Wildcats must always prioritize both types of recruits. K-State is constantly on the lookout for traditional high school recruits but must also be prepared to address roster needs through the transfer portal, especially in winter and spring. Sometimes they need many veteran players, sometimes only a few, but they always continue to recruit high school seniors.

Balancing these two approaches has been a challenge for Klieman and his coaching staff, but they have developed an effective strategy. Klieman emphasizes the importance of developmental players who stay for four to six years, contrasting them with transfer players who typically stay for one or two years.

For the 2024 season, K-State signed 15 high school recruits, including notable players like running back DeVon Rice, quarterback Blake Barnett, and offensive lineman Ryan Howard, who are already participating in spring practice. Additionally, they signed nine incoming transfers, including Colorado running back Dylan Edwards, Penn State receiver Dante Cephas, and New Mexico transfer Alec Marenco. Klieman is satisfied with this mix of talent and would likely prefer a similar ratio in future years.

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Recruiting these two types of players involves different strategies. K-State cornerbacks coach Van Malone compares transfer recruiting to speed dating and traditional recruiting to a courtship. Transfer recruits, often older and more experienced, require less extensive recruiting efforts; it’s more about presenting the facts and opportunities. In contrast, high school recruits require more engagement and promotional efforts, including graphics, social media attention, and a more extensive recruiting process.

Over the next few months, K-State will focus on adding more high school players, shifting towards transfers after the season. The coaching staff is becoming adept at navigating the distinct processes involved in recruiting each group.

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