Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Salute Prince for Final Class

By Purple Pride

December 24, 2009

MANHATTAN, Kan. -He’s been gone for a year now, and little positive has been said about former Kansas State coach Ron Prince. But after reviewing the accomplishments of his final recruiting class … Prince signed a good one.

Little positive has been mentioned in the same sentence with the name Ron Prince in the last 12 months, but it may be time to give a belated salute to his last recruiting class that was ranked among the Top 30 in the country.

On signing day back in early-February, 2008, the class numbered a whopping 32 players – 19 from the community college ranks, plus 13 high schoolers.

First, seven of those – Dustin Bell, Javonta Boyd, Kwamaine Brown, John Finau, Tony Gillespie, Kenny Session and Jack Hayes (stayed for 10 days) -- never arrived on campus for a variety of reasons putting the class at 25.

In reality, the number will soon be six who never arrived on campus as Boyd, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman, has recommitted with the Wildcats after a two-year stay at Butler County Community College.

But let’s now consider what the class that did arrive accomplished:

• Brandon Banks – Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year, 2nd team all-Big 12 wide receiver, shattered all kickoff return records and ended as a Top 10 type receiver in Wildcat history, 2008 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.

• Daniel Thomas – While a late arrival, he was a part of the class and emerged as the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year and a 1st-team all-Big 12 running back after leading the conference in rushing.

• Brandon Harold – A 2008 Freshman all-American, among all freshman in 2008, Harold led the nation in tackles for losses.

• Ulla Pomele – A two-year starter at linebacker.

• 2008 starters from the class – Banks, Logan Dold, Harold, Blair Irvin, Billy McClellan, Edward Prince, Pomele, Aubrey Quarles, Hansen Sekona

• 2009 starters from the class – Banks, Daniel Calvin, Antonio Felder, Attrail Snipes, Thomas, Wade Weibert and Braden Wilson.

• Others in the regular two-deep rotation in at least one of the years – Joseph Kassanavoid, Collin Klein, Blake Slaughter, Ethan Douglas, George Pierson, Josh Berard and Grant Valentine.

That’s 15 players who were regular starters, plus another seven who were high-profile backups. That totals 22 of the 25 players who arrived on campus with the 2008 recruiting class and could be defined as true contributors.

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