Dalvin Warmack is 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds. He says he's used to people questioning whether he's an every-down back. Size has never seemed to be an issue for Kansas State backs, though, and the Wildcats inked an impressive one in February.
The three-star recruit rushed for 2,223 yards and 29 TDs as a senior to help Blue Springs (Missouri) High School win its second straight state title. Before joining the K-State program this month, Warmack discussed how he can help its offense immediately, why he stuck with the Wildcats, and why they'll be a surprise team again in 2014.
Our summer series of weekly Q&As with the Big 12's best incoming freshmen continues with Warmack, one of the Kansas City area's best high school players in years.
I'm guessing a big part of K-State's sales pitch was that John Hubert was graduating. Did that come up a lot?
Dalvin Warmack: Definitely. They told me it was an open competition, and I saw that as an opportunity. I know there's three guys there right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to come in and compete. I'd like to try to get on the field somehow and see a little bit of time.
You were committed for more than a year, but did anyone try to get you to flip late?
DW: Yeah, Oklahoma State and Mizzou did. They were the main two, especially toward the end and trying to get me to switch. Coach Pinkel visited my school a few times and Oklahoma State, before they got their last back they were pretty hard after me and had a couple in-home visits and things like that.
Was Missouri's sales pitch all about the SEC? What'd you think of that?
DW: Oh yeah. The SEC is definitely one of the best, if not the best, conference in college football. After the success they were having this past year, they were really trying to get me to look at that. Plus being from Missouri, you go into a gym and everyone is telling you that you should reconsider and go to Mizzou.
Why did you stick with Kansas State?
DW: Most of all, they kept their word with me. They said they were only taking on back in the class and they did. You always have that comfort level where I felt like I made the best choice for me and have the best opportunity going there.
DW: Yeah, I do, from what I've been hearing. I've met Jake a few times and I think he's going to be a really good football player and leader for the team this year. He played pretty well last year. He went in there and earned his spot and established himself. Lockett is one of the best, most explosive wide receivers in the game. The offensive line is shaping up pretty well, too.
Does this feel like another year where Kansas State will surprise a lot of people?
DW: Definitely. It seems like every year they're being rated sixth or fifth in the Big 12. I definitely think this is a year when they have an opportunity to prove some people wrong again. There wasn't a better way to end it than the Michigan game. Capping it off with a big win over a powerhouse football team, getting a 'W' against them is always good.
How would you describe your running style?
DW: I think my running style is all about just instincts and vision and my explosive quickness. Once I get through the hole, I'm not going to say I'm going to be a huge playmaker, but I can be one of those guys who will work hard enough to be a pretty good player these next few years. I can score from 40 or 50 out, not just 5 or 10 yards.
Hubert got nearly all the carries last year. Does this seem like more of a back-by-committee situation in 2014?
DW: No one, through spring ball, really established themselves as the starting back. I think they're probably going to look for a way to get everybody on the field and see who will do the best. I'm not going to go in there intimidated or scared. These guys are grown men, a lot of them are 20 or 21 or 22 and have kids and stuff. I'm definitely going to go in there with confidence.
How do the state titles in high school shape your expectations for winning at KSU?
DW: We won two state championships and lost four games in four years in my high school career. I'm used to being in the action, being a competitive guy, always being on the field. I know I might have to take a step back and not be The Guy anymore. But I'm definitely going to try to be a contributor.