Far too often, players enter the season with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.
In other words, they're coming in under the radar. We'll start a new series today looking at those guys who should get more respect and attention than they have this offseason.
Next up: Kansas State.
Under the radar: S Dante Barnett
Up to this point, Barnett's claim to fame is an unfortunate one. As a true freshman, he was forced into starting duty because of a Ty Zimmerman leg injury and made his first start against a Baylor offense with 11 more passing plays longer than 40 yards than any team in the Big 12, with 45.
That inexperience showed in the Wildcats' lopsided loss to Baylor that ended their national title hopes, but Barnett is a promising player who should step into a starting role this season opposite Zimmerman. There's something to be said for earning a spot on the field at all for a great defense like K-State's last season as a true freshman. The Tulsa native was part of a prep football dynasty at Booker T. Washington and has good size at 6-foot-1 and 186 pounds. He enrolled early at K-State and picked up the defense quicker than many of his classmates. He deserves better than to be known as the weak link in a leaky defense on a forgettable night in Waco, and it won't take him long in 2013 to outrun that reputation. He ended up making 14 of his 19 tackles last season against Baylor, and despite a few busts and misplayed balls, played better than people realized. Even Bill Snyder conceded that after the game. He wasn't ready for that kind of role against an offense that constantly tests safeties, but that won't be the case for long. Don't be surprised if Barnett emerges as an essential part of the Wildcats defense this season.