Opponents to Watch: vs. Kansas State

Steve Helwick

Jesse Ertz

Quarterback, #16

The senior quarterback is just as renowned for his mobility as he is his throwing arm. Ertz attacks effectively in both ways, even though he rarely passes over 25 times a game. On Saturday, Ertz will play his first game in Texas since winning the 2016 Texas Bowl, 33-28, over Texas A&M last December. In the memorable victory, Ertz claimed MVP honors by completing 70 percent of his passes for 195 yards and earning three touchdowns — one passing and two rushing.

Ertz capitalized on his 2016 finale by throwing a career-high 333 yards in Kansas State’s kickoff game on Sept. 2. In his last three games, he has accumulated 297 rushing yards with one touchdown on the ground in each of these contests. He is capable of throwing on the run and adds versatility to Bill Snyder’s unique Big 12 offense.

Byron Pringle

Wide Receiver, #9

The former community college prospect has molded nicely into the FBS level. Last season, Pringle ranked first on the team in receiving yards with 631. Although at a lower mark than most teams’ leading receivers, Pringle contributes in a multitude of other ways. He is often called upon to block in the Wildcats’ run heavy offense (229 rushing yards per game) and plays a key role in special teams.

Pringle carries out kick return and punt return duties for the Wildcats, fielding kicks and punts for a total of 94 yards on six returns this season. Last year, Pringle scored his first career kickoff return touchdown of 99 yards to capture a lead in a 44-38 victory over Texas Tech.

Will Geary

Defensive Tackle, #60

The former walk-on is now the anchor of Kansas State’s strong defensive line. Geary shed off the “walk-on” status right away, earning two First Team All-Big 12 honors in 2015 and 2016 by the Associated Press. Over the past two seasons, the senior has totaled 14 tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. Despite sustained excellence over 2015 and 2016, the new season might be Geary’s best performance yet.

In 2017, Geary is on pace for a career-high in the sack department, registering three sacks through just four contests. He has additionally tallied 4.5 tackles for loss and forced one fumble for a defense that only yields 15 points per game.

D.J. Reed

Cornerback, #2

All eyes were on Reed when the nation was preparing for the college football season back in August. The junior cornerback was named to the Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Award, and Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch lists after a stellar breakout 2016. 

Reed is another example of a Kansas State star who rose from a community college to become a star for a strong, consistent Wildcats program. Reed burst onto the Division I scene with three interceptions — including a pick-six — and 78 tackles in Kansas State’s 9–4 campaign a season ago. Reed already has intercepted a pass this season and is instrumental in Kansas State’s daunting coverage unit on the defensive side of the ball.