by EMAW Online – Staff
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No. 16 Kansas State’s season opener against SEMO is fast-approaching.
Anticipation, excitement and expectations are rising steadily as that Sept. 2 date in Manhattan approaches.
And the EMAW Online staff is diving into a few preseason discussion topics and perspectives as we’re less than 10 days away from the season.
Give at least one big defensive prediction for Joe Klanderman’s group.
MASON VOTH: K-State drops their team interception total by more than five picks. Last season the Wildcats were second in the Big 12 with 16 interceptions, but now they lose experienced defensive backs and the Big 12’s best pass rusher. Less pressure, and less experience tracking balls at a Big 12 level means a likely drop in interceptions for the Wildcats.
KAMDEN TATKENHORST: I think that Klanderman’s group will lead the Big 12 in sacks this season. The Wildcats lost their perennial pass rusher last season in Felix Anudike-Uzomah, but returned the likes of Khalid Duke, Nate Matlack and Brendan Mott. The key will be if they can stay healthy. If they are able to, that is one of the best pass-rushing groups in the conference and have no doubt they can lead the Big 12 in sacks.
GRANT SNOWDEN: The biggest strength for Klanderman’s defensive room this year has to be the linebacker’s room. With retainers Daniel Green and Austin Moore who combined for 95 tackles last season. Both players have the ability to make big plays on the ground and the air. Not to mention Khalid Duke who I think we will see with his hand more in the ground this year as I expect to play a little more DE. If these three guys can stay healthy I expect them to be our stars on the defensive side of the ball.
JAKE STEPHENS: I think this unit has some question marks this year as a whole, but there aren’t any surrounding this group of linebackers. The experience that they have between Austin Moore, Daniel Green, Des Purnell and Jake Clifton, as well as bringing in transfers Rex Van Wyhe and Terry Kirksey Jr., has this as one of the best linebacker groups in the Big 12. Don’t be surprised this season if Moore leads the conference in tackles. He is a run-stopping hound on defense and fits and scrapes across gaps as well as any linebacker in the country. A former walk-on from Louisburg, he will play a huge role in Klanderman’s defense this year.