Hall vs. Hall: Is Kansas State football recruiting going well?
It's time for the return of Hall vs. Hall, KSO's one-man debate on a hot topic involving the Kansas State Wildcat football program.
Today's question is simple: Should K-State - and the fan base - be happy with the current recruiting progress?
NOTE: This story was written prior to the commitment of Will Howard. I'm leaving it written as is, however, to let the reader decide how much landing the classes' signal caller changes their perception (if at all) on this topic. To read about Howard's commitment, however, please check HERE and HERE.
HALL TAKE NO. 1: YES
There's an awful lot to back up this line of thinking.
Kansas State already has 15 commitments (the Wildcats had three at this point last year) and continue to hover around the Top 30 nationally in recruiting rankings. The total number of commitments is the second highest in the Big 12, meaning K-State is not only getting somewhat close to wrapping up the Class of 2020 but also freeing the coaching staff up to really focus exclusively on the 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes.
No, the very top players in the state of Kansas have not pledged to K-State, but the Wildcats have won Power Five battles for three-star in-state prospects Nate Matlack, Sam Shields and Cody Stufflebean. Fellow in-state three star Talor Warner looks like a steal. Shoot, even Hadley Panzer had an Iowa State offer extended at one point.
Many shared concerns Chris Klieman and company would struggle in Texas, but it's actually been the Wildcats' best state. K-State has six commits from Texas (five three stars and one not-yet-rated), including probably the star of the class so far in the heavily recruited Jeremiah Harris.
There have absolutely been misses, and ones the Wildcats will have to see what they can learn from. There remain major issues at offensive tackle, a shrinking-list of potential quarterback targets and the previously mentioned issues with the state's best prospects.
All of that said, let's have some perspective, right?
A coaching staff in place for six months or so has 15 commitments, has made waves in Texas, knocked off Virginia Tech and Wisconsin for an in-state kid (Stufflebean), won numerous other P5 battles and is on track for a better class than what K-State has landed in some time.
Most would consider this a pretty good start.
HALL TAKE NO. 2: NO
Look, there are a lot of things I can say (and honestly believe) about the value of landing prospects early. That said, what's going to matter most is not when prospects committed, but instead the overall quality of the class.
And, if K-State continues to land prospects at a similar Rivals rating to the initial 15 commitments, the class will probably slide down into the 45-50 range nationally.
Now, that's certainly an improvement over what the previous staff was signing and much, much better than how things were projecting if a coaching change wasn't made, but that shouldn't be the bar, should it?
Bill Snyder was immensely successful at K-State. Nobody should ever suggest otherwise. But, let's be real, it would also be similarly strange to suggest Snyder and his staff were recruiting at an acceptable level in recent seasons.
They were not, and the bar being lowered so significantly from that perspective shouldn't be something that impacts your perception of this staff doing well in recruiting.
Don't confuse the point. Snyder and staff not doing more to help K-State's image on the recruiting trail does indeed make things a little harder on Klieman, at least right now, and does impact to some extent the quality of class that can be signed this season.
Just because that's true, however, does not mean simply signing a better class than Snyder in the last few years represents a successful recruiting class.
Klieman doesn't have to beat last year's Bill Snyder, he has to beat other Big 12 programs.
FINAL VERDICT: YES
The answer is always in the middle, right?
Both segments of these arguments are fair, accurate and a decent representation of K-State's recruiting at the moment. I do think it's healthy to understand both arguments and either have a belief things are going generally well with some issues needing improvement (my stance, officially), or that you haven't seen enough to ease your big-picture concerns while also noting there are some encouraging signs of progress.
It doesn't have to be a yes or no, black or white, one extreme to the other answer.
Yes, I know the irony of writing that in a story where the two options I gave myself were literally yes or no, for the record.
The point is I certainly fall on the side of believing the football program is showing positive progress on the recruiting trail and getting some results I wouldn't have expected this early. To get me to scream, "YES!" at this answer, though, a couple battles for more highly regarded prospects will have to go the Wildcats' way.