QB Josh Freeman

2007 Statistics

Coach: Ron Prince
12-13, 2 years
2007 Record: 5-7
at Auburn LOST 13-23
at Texas WON 41-21
at Oklahoma State LOST 39-41
at Iowa State LOST 20-31
at Nebraska LOST 31-73
at Fresno State LOST 29-45

2007 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2008 Outlook

Third-year head coach Ron Prince has quietly (re)built Kansas State into yet another worthy program here in the ever-toughening Big 12. With Missouri and Kansas stealing the spotlight, Prince can again fly under most radar with his talented coffers to still surprise anyone not paying attention to a 5-7 squad from the prior year.

Well, a kid like Josh Freeman makes most opposing coaches take notice. If the 6’6 phenom can get a running game out of those around him, this offense could become one of the conference’s/nation’s best. To the casual onlooker, a RB unit with no experience might seem iffy, at best. But Valentine, Thomas and Woods are just a few of the names eager for their chance to earn the start. Valentine is the man for now. The line has to do its job, but that’s contingent on the staff leaning on the run enough to have that dimension develop naturally. After taking departed WR Jordy Nelson to the national stage as the nation’s No.2 receiver, OC Brock will have this corps flying high in little time.

On D, the linebackers hold the keys to the entire season. In ’07, it was a struggle in the newly imposed 3-4 for the LBs to find their collective way. Putting Campbell back on the line will help, and the JUCO infusions have the entire front seven again loaded. This year can prove to be even better for run stopping, and with a proven set of safeties to go with some talented corners, solid D can provide consistency which has been lacking since 1999. That will go the farthest toward improving the win total.

The first four OOC foes all look beatable, with Louisville ostensibly posing the biggest challenge. Playing Oklahoma and Nebraska in Manhattan is huge, but it is the back-to-back tilts with Kansas and then Mizzou sandwiched between these powerhouses that will define the Wildcat campaign, as well as the Big 12 North division winner. Small steps – making a bowl and ranking highly in national statistics – seem like realistic goals at this stage for a team that has much more going for it than it has working against it. State has permanently shed the reputation it had for decades (had five winning seasons from 1935-90). Now, to regain the gala status established under legendary stadium namesake Bill Snyder.

Projected 2008 record: 5-7
QB - 4.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 3 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 3
OL - 4 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Josh Freeman, 316-499-11, 3353 yds., 18 TD

Rushing: Leon Patton, 83 att., 390 yds., 4 TD

Receiving: Deon Murphy, 57 rec., 605 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: Brooks Rossman, 22-28 FG, 44-46 PAT, 110 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Brooks Rossman, 22-28 FG, 44-46 PAT, 110 pts.

Tackles: John Houlik, 68 tot., 41 solo

Sacks: Ian Campbell, 4.5 sacks

Interceptions: Chris Carney, 4 for 14 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Leon Patton, 20 ret., 22.2 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Deon Murphy, 26 ret., 17.5 avg., 1 TD


FS Chris Carney

OFFENSE: James Johnson-RB, Jordy Nelson-WR, Daniel Gonzalez-WR, Mike Pooschke-TE, Logan Robinson-OG
DEFENSE: Rob Jackson-DE, Steven Cline-NT, Moses Manu-DE, Justin Roland-MLB, Justin McKinney-CB, Byron Garvin-CB, Marcus Watts-FS, Tim Reyer-P

A few adjustments and tweaks is all newly promoted coordinator Dave Brock will have to do to make this offense unstoppable. QB Josh Freeman enters his junior year after his breakout sophomore campaign has Wildcat fans expecting results like they saw 10 years ago (the 610 points scored in 1998 seem a bit excessive, but within the realm of possibility). Brock only has to find a running game to make this into a top 20 group for total production. As the ex-WR coach, Brock is implicated in the recent/sudden scoring surge – after averaging 304 points per season from 2004-06, the 422 points deposited in ’07 is welcome. And that is also why seven key returning starters have expectations beyond what they may be able to achieve in this tough conference. Freeman stands tough, shaking off tacklers like rain off of his back. His stature and accuracy still only make him one of the five best hurlers in the Big 12, hence his great numbers that were recognized only by an honorable mention tag in the all-conference selections. Carson Coffman would mean a step back, but the backup needs reps to build his confidence just in case Freeman goes down.

Team record setter Jordy Nelson was – by far – the main target for Freeman, so Murphy’s destiny to fill that role seems etched in stone. Ex-DB Cedric Wilson, a junior college transfer, has to finally develop his amazing skill package into meaningful production. Same trip goes for 6’4 Ernie Pierce. (Four-star) Quarles, Hillburn and Banks are this year’s JUCO surprises, so somewhere in this talent pool, another/several top target(s) will emerge. Only nine pounds heavier than Freeman, TE Jeron Mastrud has potential, but Alstatt has a ball carrier’s pedigree.

Besides Freeman, the best looking unit heading into the first game (on August 31 with North Texas) is the OL. Headlined by Jordan Bedore’s return, this deep group looks poised to establish more running lanes. Viers filled in for Bedore nicely, but his smaller size precludes him from being a starter due to the beefy speedsters on most Big 12 DLs. Already pretty solid in pass protection (with the handicap of their huge QB), the tackles have potential beyond what has already surfaced. Alesana Alesana is a 28-year old Samoan with maturity that compliments his abilities. Liu gets fewer nods due to his from-the-hip style, but he is just as good in lane forging and will have to stay sharp to hold off athletic ex-TE Stringer. Four senior starters to go along with JUCO product Wade Wiebert (won NJCAA title with 12-0 Butler last year) looks like a nice first team, and four of five reserves being upperclassmen mean the OL should never be a liability.

The big news is the suspension of Leon Patton, putting the running game in question due to inexperience. The spring game went a long way toward answering such questions…the sudden impact of JUCO walk-on Keithen Valentine (104 yards in 15 carries in the spring scrimmage) has the staff resting better. Being forced to ask for a tryout here, Baton Rouge product Valentine stole the show at the 2007 MACJC All-Star game and should be able to handle the workload of a starting back. Speedster Dee Bell can take the scat-back role Patton would have filled. Justin Woods is even a step faster than Bell, but only one of them will get the reps they deserve since Dan Thomas is that larger back needed for balance, especially in the two-back sets coach Prince likes to utilize. Other new faces (Brown, Dold) are there, so even with the fresh look, this unit has depth and is hungry to prove itself. Is this enough to establish the run as a viable weapon, one opponents will be forced to commit to stopping? The answer to that is held by coaches Brock and Prince, for if they again run the rock barely 41% of the time, forcing extra men into the box cannot happen…and without cover men questioning the play call, Freeman will never be able to reach his huge potential.


WR Deon Murphy


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Josh Freeman-Jr (6-6, 250) Carson Coffman-So (6-3, 200)
RB Leon Patton-Jr (5-7, 187) Keithen Valentine-Jr (5-9, 195)
WR Deon Murphy-Sr (5-10, 170) Brandon Banks-Jr (5-7, 142)
WR Lamark Brown-So (6-3, 229) Adrian Hilburn-Jr (6-1, 190)
WR Ernie Pierce-Sr (6-3, 209) Matt Wykes-Jr (6-2, 209)
TE Jeron Mastrud-Jr (6-6, 259) Brett Alstatt-Sr (6-4, 224)
OT Alesana Alesana-Sr (6-4, 299) Kaleb Drinkgern-Fr (6-7, 270)
OG Brock Unruh-Jr (6-5, 301) Wade Wiebert-Jr (6-5, 300)
C Trevor Viers-Jr (6-5, 270) Jordan Bedore-Sr (6-3, 308)
OG Gerard Spexarth-Sr (6-6, 280) Brad Rooker-Sr (6-6, 295)
OT Penisini Liu-Sr (6-6, 325) Nick Stringer-Jr (6-6, 270)
K Brooks Rossman-Sr (6-0, 178) Josh Cherry-So (6-1, 183)



Second-year coordinator Tim Tibesar had never coached in the BCS/FBS prior to coming to Manhattan. His first year at the helm here reflected both insightful as well as careless moves. Tibesar’s second year should show more improvements. Still, we question how quickly Tibesar has risen to get here and wonder if the Big 12 may not be too much. His glass is filled to the halfway line, and whether it’s half empty or half full is for time to decide. Players have responded well to him, especially Ian Campbell. Campbell’s stats dropped off a bit from his amazing sophomore year; only 11.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks still led the team in each category. And hence the dilemma - it seemed that the rest of the line wasn’t able to pick up the ‘big play’ mantle when double-teams were imposed upon Campbell. Chidubamu (Michael) Abana is a Nigerian-born JUCO product (Santa Monica C.C.) with only a few years of competitive football under his belt. The potential for the senior to breakout in a favorable way is there. Depth at end is suspect, but for no reason more than the fact that it’s inexperienced. The big bodies in the middle are there, but Brandon Balkcom seems to have the ‘inside’ track. Beefed up to 290+, Balkcom has played an athletic approach to moderate success levels. New faces like Daniel Calvin and John Finau will push Balkcom and Xzavier Stewart (the other incumbent who plays under 300lbs) since girth up front is all-important in the Big 12. Regardless, the line looks better than it was with Campbell back in a position where he can explode with power instead of having to cover ground before making contact (played SLB much of last year).

The bigger question is if the LBs can fulfill their collective destinies as the main cogs in the 3-4. Walker has the girth in the middle, but Houlik is still a great open field tackler and nice compliment so Walker can play a more carefree style. JUCO infusions from Pomele (an excellent hybrid DE/LB like Campbell tried to be) and versatile Sekona should push all of the starters since each could start on most teams. Moore is a load on the outside for any tackle to handle, but after being injured early, ex-DE Childs secured the permanent start. Whichever is in at WLB will telegraph whether Tibesar is thinking they’ll run (Childs) or pass (Moore). Olu Hall is as talented as any LB here, but his unproven raw abilities make him a question mark. This much talent should be able to thrive as a gelled unit, but the LBs coming together to prove they can provide the needed roles in a four-LB system remain to be proven, let alone oft-seen.

The DB dilemma is in whether Josh Moore will hold up academically this fall. A sure lockdown corner, Moore had to redshirt last fall after his 2006 campaign was so promising. Blair Irvin is just what the doctor ordered; this bookend corner will do great…most 25-year olds who bump back from a lacking professional baseball career wind up soaring with their maturity (turned down WVU and Auburn). Cheatham is a great nickel after his starting experience (six games in ’07) means he knows the BCS-level ropes well. Safeties Chandler and Carney both play much bigger than their sub-200lb frames suggest. Gutsy and ball-hawking, Herndon and his busy stat line will have all of the back seven better for his SS/LB approach. The LBs may be the weakest link, but the potential for the entire D to play together seems likely with the strengths everywhere else.


DE/LB Ian Campbell


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Ian Campbell-Sr (6-5, 255) Vlad Faustin-Sr (6-2, 250)
NT Brandon Balkcom-Sr (6-1, 292) Gabriel Crews-So (6-1, 310)
DE Payton Kirk-Fr (6-6, 245) Darrin Seiwert-Sr (5-11, 223)
SLB Chris Patterson-Sr (6-1, 203) Olu Hall-Jr (6-3, 230)
MLB Reggie Walker-Sr (6-1, 247) John Houlik-Jr (5-11, 217)
MLB Ulla Pomele-Jr (6-1, 228) Hansen Sekona-Jr (6-0, 230)
WLB Eric Childs-Jr (6-3, 238) Antwon Moore-Sr (5-11, 221)
CB Ray Cheatham-Sr (5-11, 193) Blair Irvin-Jr (6-0, 180)
CB Joshua Moore-So (5-11, 184) Otis Johnson-Jr (5-10, 175)
SS Gary Chandler-Sr (5-11, 190) Courtney Hernson-Jr (6-0, 211)
Cedric Wilson-Sr (6-1, 195)
FS Chris Carney-Jr (6-1, 190) Andrew Erker-Sr (6-1, 195)
P Jared Parker-Sr (5-11, 211) George Pierson-Jr (6-0, 201)




Rossman will continue to provide three points from almost anywhere. D.J. Fulhage is hoping to follow in his father John’s footsteps – that is, being good enough here to secure an NFL career. Finding results that are even close to last year’s (ranked 8th in net punting) may be a tall order. Any field position struggles will be offset by Murphy’s 17+ average on punt runbacks. Losing Patton for KRs won’t sting too badly with so much speed on the roster.