The last two weeks, we've been analyzing the depth charts of every team in the Big 12 coming out of spring camp. We continue the series below with Kansas State, which wrapped spring ball with its spring game in Kansas City last weekend. The Wildcats haven't released an official post-spring depth chart yet, so this is a mere educated projection:
OFFENSE (projected starters in bold)
Neither Hubener nor Ertz created separation in the QB derby; in fact, if anything, Delton turned it into a three-way competition, prompting Bill Snyder to compare him to a young Ell Roberson. This battle could go well into August, if not linger into the season.
Jones still sits atop the depth chart, but he failed to generate any big plays in a lackluster spring game performance. To keep his job, Jones will need to take a step forward after ranking outside the Big 12 top 20 in yards per carry last season. Silmon, a walk-on out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, came on over the last month and finished with a spring game-high 65 yards on several tough runs; he could be a factor. So could Barnes, a highly-touted freshman, who outgained Jones (48-to-38) in the spring game. At fullback, the Wildcats are set; Gronkowski is one of the best in the country. Dimel, son K-State co-offensive coordinator Dana Dimel, enhanced his stock with 46 spring game rushing yards.
This group has massive shoes to fill with 1,000-yard receivers Curry Sexton and Tyler Lockett gone. Burton, Cook and Klein, who missed last season with a back injury, all have noteworthy experience as supporting cast receivers. One of them, however, needs to emerge as a go-to target for whoever wins the starting QB job.
With four starters back, this figures to be the strength of the offense. Whitehair is an All-Big 12-caliber performer, and Stiverson isn't far behind. The only real competition is at center, where Risner and Najvar are battling to replace three-time all-conference center B.J. Finney.
The Wildcats graduated Ryan Mueller, but the foursome of Bryant, Britz, Geary and Willis should give K-State one of the better starting defensive lines in the league. The key will be whether any depth emerges. Wood recording a pair of sacks in the spring game was an encouraging sign. But the Wildcats could really get a boost if the 300-pound Hood finally lives up to his potential.
After contributing as a true freshman last year, Lee could be a star in the making. He had a sack and a pick-six interception in the spring game. Davis is experienced, having started six games last year. Sizelove turned heads this spring with his sure tackling. The Wildcats were counting on big things from Moore last year until he suffered a season-ending injury.
This has a chance to be one of the best defensive backfields Snyder has ever fielded. McDaniel and Barnett were both second-team all-conference selections last year. Burns possesses elite speed and is underrated. How Prewett and Jackson perform as first-year starters will ultimately determine how good this secondary can be.