Kansas State Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder looks on as his quarterback Collin Klein comes to the sidelines during a time-out against the Oregon Ducks at the Fiesta Bowl football game in Glendale

K-State announces 2013 recruiting class

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(Below is Kansas State’s press release on the players added as part of its 2013 recruiting class.)

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Head football coach Bill Snyder released Kansas State’s 2013 recruiting class Wednesday with the announcement of 32 student-athletes who plan on joining or already are a part of the Wildcat program.

Kansas State’s class of 2013 includes 26 players from the high school ranks and six community-college players. Of the group, nine are currently enrolled at Kansas State and will participate in spring practice.

“As we’ve always maintained, it takes several years to accurately assess the quality of a recruiting class and the young men who represent it,” said Snyder. “Hopefully we have assessed the skills, capabilities and intrinsic values of these young people accurately. As always, time will tell. Part of the value of this class lies in the fact that nine of these student-athletes either have been or will be in classes and participate in our out-of-season program and spring practice. We are impressed by the desire of each of these young men to become the best person, best student and best athlete possible as they seem committed to work hard toward that end.

As always, we greatly appreciate the high school and community college coaches, faculty members and administrators throughout the state of Kansas and the United States who have received our coaches and our program so very graciously, and I am especially proud of the Kansas State faculty for their assistance in conveying the great support services and equally great education provided by this University.”

The defensive side of the ball boasts 18 players, including seven linebackers, six defensive linemen and five defensive backs. K-State’s offensive recruiting haul also includes three offensive linemen, tight ends and wide receivers as well as a pair of quarterbacks. Also included are a place kicker and long snapper, as well as one player listed as an “athlete” who could play on either side of the ball.

As is the case in past years, Kansas State’s class of 2013 also continues to show how broad and thorough Snyder and his staff were on the recruiting trail as 10 different states are represented, including 12 players from the state of Kansas, eight from the state of Texas, three from Iowa, two from the states of Missouri and Nebraska, and one each from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 32 members of Kansas State’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Chance Allen
6-5, 295
Offensive Tackle
Klein, Texas (Duncanville)

AT BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL: A two-year letterman and a two-year starter for coach Drew Svoboda… Helped Duncanville to back-to-back district runner-up finishes… An all-state honorable mention selection as a senior… Attended the same high school as former Wildcat and current Arizona Cardinal running back William Powell.

PERSONAL: Chance Allen was born on January 16, 1995… Son of James and Wendy McClure.

Blake Baird
6-1, 225
Linebacker
Silver Lake, Kan. (Silver Lake)

AT SILVER LAKE HIGH SCHOOL: Kansas 3A Defensive Player of the Year… A 3A all-state pick by VarsityKansas.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal… An all-league selection at linebacker as a senior… Helped Silver Lake to back-to-back 3A state title game appearances in 2011 and 2012… Was a member of the 2010 3A state championship team as well as Eagle teams that won four-straight league and district titles… Recorded 273 tackles and 15 sacks during his prep career… A two-year letterman in football and a three-year letterman in baseball.

PERSONAL: Blake Baird was born in 1995… Son of Ric and Anne Baird.

Brogan BArry
6-2, 195
Defensive Back
Topeka, Kan. (Hayden)

AT HAYDEN HIGH SCHOOL: Named to the Topeka Capital-Journal’s All-City first team as a senior… An all-league and all-state pick in 2012… Named team MVP following his senior season… Was an all-city and all-league honorable mention selection as a junior… Also participated in basketball and track and field for Hayden.

PERSONAL: Brogan Barry was born in 1994… Son of Anthony and Jana Barry.

Ajahne Brager
6-4, 280
Offensive Lineman
Magnolia, Texas (Magnolia)

AT MAGNOLIA HIGH SCHOOL: An all-district performer as a junior in 2011 and a second-team pick in 2012… Recorded 162 tackles, 14 sacks and 11 forced fumbles during his prep career.

PERSONAL: Ajahne Brager was born in 1994… Son of Paul and Rashindra Brager.

Chris Brown
6-4, 345
Defensive Tackle
Mesa, Ariz. (Scottsdale Community College)

AT SCOTTSDALE CC: Tallied 68 tackles, including 13 for loss, and six sacks during his sophomore season in 2011… Committed to Washington State following the 2011 season but chose to sit out the 2012 season due to a coaching change at WSU.

AT SKYLINE HIGH SCHOOL: Named first team all-region…Helped his school win a division championship in 2009… Participated in track and wrestling… Recorded a school record for pins in a season with 34.

PERSONAL: Chris Brown was born in 1992… Son of Christopher and Patricia Brown… Has one brother, Michael.

Austin Butterfield
6-4, 207
TIGHT END
AURORA, COLO. (GRANDVIEW)

AT GRANDVIEW HIGH SCHOOL: Played for the Wolves under head coach John Schultz… Team advanced to the semifinals of the Class 5A state championship… Hauled in 10 receptions for 96 yards and one touchdown… Also named a first team all-league punter after averaging 33 yards on 35 punts.

Jesse Ertz
Quarterback
6-4, 199
Burlington, Iowa (Mediapolis)

AT MEDIAPOLIS HIGH SCHOOL: Named the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior year… An All-American honorable mention selection by Parade Magazine… Broke the Iowa high school state record for most touchdowns in a career (98) and ranks fifth in state history in career passing yardage (7,317)… Registered over 9,000 total yards and 130 touchdowns in his prep career … Named the 2012 Offensive Player of the Year as well as a first team all-state selection by Iowa Preps after leading Mediapolis to a state runner-up finish and a 13-1 record… Honored as the All-Hawkeye Player of the Year… A two-time Des Moines Register and Iowa Newspaper Association First Team All-State honoree… Twice named to the all-district first team as well as the district’s 2012 MVP… Was named to the Iowa Sports Connection’s First Team All-State squad in 2011… Named the All-Hawkeye Co-Offensive Player of the Year as a junior… An Iowa Preps Elite Second Team All-State selection as a junior… A three-year letterwinner in basketball… Named a first team all-state pick by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Sports Connection as a junior… A first team all-conference selection and a second team all-state performer by the Iowa Newspaper Association in 2012… A first team all-conference and a third team all-state performer as a sophomore… Also a three-year letterwinner in track… Won a state championship in the 4×100 in 2012.

PERSONAL: Jesse Ertz was born in 1994… Son of David and Denice Ertz.

Andy Friesen
Defensive End
6-8, 229
Meade, Kan. (Meade)

AT MEADE HIGH SCHOOL: A 2012 first-team all-State 1A pick at defensive end by VarsityKansas.com… Named to the all-district and all-league first teams as a senior… An honorable mention selection at defensive end by the Topeka Capital-Journal as a senior… Led the Buffaloes to a 2-1A state championship in 2010 and 2012 as well as three-straight league titles from 2010-2012… An honorable mention 2-1A player at defensive end and tight end as a junior… Also a standout for the Meade basketball team… Named a first-team all-league and All-Southwestern Kansas pick as a junior… An all-state second-team performer in 2012… Led Meade to a 2A state runner-up finish in 2012.

PERSONAL: Randy Friesen was born in 1994… Son of Buck and Margaret Friesen.

Will Geary
Defensive Lineman
6-0, 290
Topeka, Kan. (Topeka)

AT TOPEKA HIGH SCHOOL: A 2012 All-City League first-team pick at defensive linemen… Named to the Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com 2012 Top 11 teams… An All-State 6A first-team offensive lineman according to the Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com… Named Kansas 6A Defensive Player of the Year… Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… The back-to-back 6A state wrestling champion in the 285-pound class… The defending 6A state power lifting champion… Also participated in baseball and track and field.

PERSONAL: Will Geary was born in 1995… Son of Mike Geary and Lee Geary.

LeAndrew Gordon
Wide Receiver
5-7, 160
Arlington, Texas (Pantego Christian Academy)

AT PANTEGO CHRISTIAN ACADEMY: Helped Pantego Christian Academy to a 6-4 record and a district championship during his senior year… Listed as the fastest wide receiver in the class of 2013 according to ESPNU… Was a first-team all-district selection following his junior year… Also a standout for the Panther basketball and track teams.

PERSONAL: LeAndrew Gordon was born in 1994… Son of former K-State defensive back Joe Gordon and Zina Barrow.

Travis Green
6-1, 210
Defensive Back
Omaha, Neb. (Iowa Western CC)

AT IOWA WESTERN CC: Helped IWCC win its first NCJAA National Championship in 2012… Played outside linebacker and strong safety for the Reivers during his redshirt freshman year… Named to the All-Midwest Conference first team as a defensive back in 2012… Earned back-to-back Player of the Week honors for his performances against North Dakota SCS and Ellsworth CC… Recorded 62 tackles, including seven tackles for loss… Also tallied one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and five interceptions, two of which he returned for scores… Signed and redshirted at Dodge City CC in 2010-11 before deciding to play closer to home at IWCC.

AT OMAHA NORTH HIGH SCHOOL: Led North High School to back-to-back district titles in 2008 and 2009… A three-year letterwinner for coach Larry Martin… An all-state, all-district and all-metro performer in 2010… Tallied over 100 tackles and 10 interceptions during his last two prep seasons.

PERSONAL: Travis Green was born in 1993… Son of Troy Tyler and Roxanne Green.

Nate Jackson
5-11, 185
Defensive Back
Daly City, Calif. (College of San Mateo)

AT COLLEGE OF SAN MATEO: Helped College of San Mateo to a 7-4 finish in 2012… Registered nine interceptions during his two years at CSM… Earned all-conference honors at defensive back in 2011.

Dakorey Johnson
6-3, 210
Linebacker
Mesquite, Texas (Trinity Valley Community College)

AT TRINITY VALLEY: Tallied 82 tackles, including seven tackles for loss, and five sacks in his two seasons at TVCC.

AT MESQUITE NORTH HIGH SCHOOL: Named a Second Team All-District 11-5A linebacker as a senior in 2009.

PERSONAL: Dakorey Johnson was born in 1992… Son of Glen and Kristina Johnson… Younger brother of former K-State wide receiver Quincy Morgan.

Judah Jones
6-1, 180
Wide Receiver
Shreveport, La. (Evangel Christian)

AT EVANGEL CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL: Originally signed with K-State out of high school in 2012… Recorded just over 1,000 all-purpose yards and scored 16 touchdowns en route to all-district honors as a junior… Had 43 receptions for 728 receiving yards with six touchdowns as a senior… Also averaged 24.0 yards on eight kick returns in 2011… Evangel advanced to the Louisiana 2A State Semifinals in 2011.

PERSONAL: Judah Jones was born in 1993… Son of Dewitt and Kim Jones… Plays the drums for the highly-successful family Christian Gospel band, forever JONES… His parents formed the band with their five children… The band was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2011.

Kip Keeley
6-2, 205
Linebacker
LaCrosse, Kan. (LaCrosse)

AT LACROSSE HIGH SCHOOL: Named to the 2012 All-Class ‘Top 11’ third team by the Topeka Capital-Journal… An All-State selection at linebacker by VarsityKansas.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal… Tabbed as the 2-1A Defensive Player of the Year… Named to the Hays Daily News Super 11 team… Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… Led LaCrosse to back-to-back state runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2012… A three-time All-district and All-league linebacker… Named to the all-league second team at linebacker as a freshman in 2009… A three-year letterwinner in basketball and track and field… On the hardwood, was named to the all-atate second team as a junior in 2012… Is the defending Kansas 2A State Champion in the javelin… Set a school-record with a throw of 191-2.

PERSONAL: Kip Keely was born in 1995… Son of Bill and Kathy Keely.

Matthew McCrane
Kicker
5-11, 165
Brownwood, Texas (Brownwood)

AT BROWNWOOD HIGH SCHOOL: Connected on 7-of-12 field goals as a senior, including a school-record 52-yarder… Selected to play on Team USA in the 2013 U19 International Bowl… Won the Dallas Kicking Camp’s Golden Boot award in 2011.

PERSONAL: Matthew McCrane was born in 1994… Son of Steven and Lori McCrane.

Cre Moore
6-0, 175
Defensive Back
Broken Arrow, Okla. (Broken Arrow)

AT BROKEN ARROW HIGH SCHOOL: Named to the Oklahoma ‘Top 11’ All-State team as a senior… A 2012 All-State 6A selection at cornerback by The Oklahoman… A three-year starter who recorded four interceptions and 100 tackles in his final two years… Helped Broken Arrow to a runner-up finish in the 6A state championship game in 2011… A standout in track and field that helped set a school record in the 4×100 relay.

PERSONAL: Cre Moore was born in 1995… Son of Steve and Mary Moore.

Reid Najvar
6-4, 290
Offensive Lineman
Spring, Texas (Klein Oak)

AT KLEIN OAK HIGH SCHOOL: A first-team all-district pick as a senior… Named to the Houston Chronicle’s 2012 Top 100 football recruits… Voted a team captain as a senior… A 2012 Preseason First Team All-Greater Houston selection.

PERSONAL: Reid Najvar was born in 1994… Son of Don Najvar and LeeAnn Schultz… Brother, Jordan, plays tight end at Baylor.

Devon Nash
6-5, 260
Defensive End
Lincoln, Neb. (Iowa Western CC)

AT IOWA WESTERN CC: Helped IWCC win its first NCJAA National Championship in 2012… Earned First Team All-American honors as a defensive lineman… Was a Midwest Football Conference (MFC) first team all-conference pick as a sophomore… Ranked as the 53rd-best community-college player in the nation by Rivals.com… Tallied 36 tackles, four and a half sacks and one interception for a touchdown during his second season at IWCC… Named an Honorable Mention Region XI honoree as a freshman in 2011… Recorded 45 tackles and six sacks as a freshman in 2011.

AT LINCOLN EAST HIGH SCHOOL: Played linebacker at Lincoln East High School.

PERSONAL: Devon Nash was born in 1992.

Sean Newlan
Defensive Back
6-2, 200
Prairie View, Kan. (Phillipsburg)

AT PHILLIPSBURG HIGH SCHOOL: Named an all-state honorable mention performer as a junior and senior by VarsityKansas.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal… An all-league selection at quarterback, defensive back and punter… A four-year letterman in football and a three-year letterman in basketball and track and field… The back-to-back Kansas 3A State Champion in the 110M Hurdles… Also won the 3A crown in the 300M Hurdles and placed second in the discus in 2012.

PERSONAL: Sean Newlan was born in 1994… Son of George and Sue Newlan.

Nick Ramirez
6-1, 228
Linebacker
Lee’s Summit, Mo. (West High School)

AT WEST HIGH SCHOOL: A three-year starter for West High School… Dubbed a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and ESPN.com… Named to the MaxPreps 2012 Missouri Preseason All-State team prior to his senior season… Named to the Kansas City Star’s All-Metro Second Team as a linebacker following the 2012 season… Selected to play in the 2012 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl… Notched 115 tackles as a junior while leading the Titans to a 12-1 finish… Named a first team all-state linebacker by ESPNHS following his junior season in 2011… Helped Lee’s Summit West win a 5A state championship as a sophomore in 2010 as he registered 130 tackles and seven sacks.

PERSONAL: Nick Ramirez was born in 1994… Son of Humberto Ramirez and Tracy Ramirez.

Drew Scott
6-2, 205
Longsnapper
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Xavier)

AT XAVIER HIGH SCHOOL: Successfully connected on 67-of-67 snaps over the course of his junior and senior seasons… Received a five-star rating at Kohl’s Longsnapping Camp prior to his senior year… Helped the Saints to a 14-1 record and a 4A runner-up finish in 2012… Also competed in basketball (two years) and baseball (four years).

PERSONAL: Drew Scott was born in 1995… Son of Andrew and Sue Scott.

Matt Seiwert
Athlete
6-3, 260
Conway Springs, Kan. (Conway Springs)

AT CONWAY SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL: Originally signed with K-State out of high school in 2012… Made the Topeka Capital Journal’s Top 11 and was also an all-class pick… A 2011 MaxPreps All-American… A First Team All-Central Plains League pick on offense and defense… Named Co-Defensive MVP for the Central Plains League… Helped Conway Springs win the 2011 3A State Championship with four tackles, including one for a loss, and a fumble recovery… Led Conway Springs to a combined 38-4 record and two state titles in three seasons… Also earned all-league and all-state honors in basketball and javelin (187 feet).

PERSONAL: Matt Seiwert was born in 1993… Son of David and Mary Seiwert… Brother, Darin, played football for K-State.

Cody Small
Tight End
6-4, 237
Cypress, Texas (Cypress Woods)

AT CYPRESS WOODS HIGH SCHOOL: Originally signed with K-State out of high school in 2012… Helped Cypress Woods to a 9-3 record in 2011… Listed in VYPE’s Top 75 Football Prospects in the Northern Houston area at No. 38… An All-district performer as a junior and senior who also earned All-Houston area honors as a senior… A “Rising Star” in 2010 by 5ATexasFootball.com at defensive end… Competed on Cypress Woods’ 7-on-7 team, which reached the semifinals of the Cy Falls Tournament in 2011.

PERSONAL: Cody Small was born in 1993… Son of David and Jo Small.

Trent Tanking
Linebacker
6-2, 220
Holton, Kan. (Holton)

AT HOLTON HIGH SCHOOL: Named Kansas 4A Defensive Player of the Year… Named to the Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com 2012 Top 11 teams… Led Holton to the 2012 4A state championship… An All-4A first-team performer at linebacker by VarsityKansas.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal as a senior… Chosen to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… Named an All-league performer at linebacker as a sophomore, junior and senior… An honorable-mention All-4A pick at linebacker in 2010 and 2011… A three-time All-county selection at linebacker… Helped Holton to three-consecutive league titles… Also a three-year letterman for the Wildcat basketball team… An All-league and All-county pick at guard as a junior.

PERSONAL: Trent Tanking was born in 1994… Son of Andrew and Karla Tanking.

Logan Thompson
Linebacker
6-3, 225
Sedgwick, Kan. (Sedgwick)

AT SEDGWICK HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… A four-year letterman… Named to VarsityKansas.com’s All-State 4A first team at linebacker in 2012… Helped the Cardinals to back-to-back league, district and bi-district championships… Recorded over 2,900 total years and 36 total touchdowns in 12 games as a senior… A first-team all-league linebacker as a junior and senior… Named an all-state honorable mention linebacker and quarterback as a junior… Also a standout in baseball and basketball… A back-to-back All-league selection in baseball… A 2012 All-league firsr-team pick in basketball as a junior.

PERSONAL: Logan Thompson was born in 1995… Son of Bryan and Kim Thompson.

Dayton Valentine
6-4, 240
Tight End
Baldwin, Kan. (Baldwin)

AT BALDWIN HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… Named a First Team All-State 4A defensive end by the Topeka Capital-Journal… An honorable mention all-state selection by VarsityKansas.com… A star in track and field who won the 4A state championship in discus and shot put as a junior.

PERSONAL: Dayton Valentine was born in 1995… Son of the late Jeff Valentine and Marilee Valentine.

Vernon Vaughn
Wide Receiver
6-2, 190
Kansas City, Kan. (Sumner Academy)

AT SUMNER ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL: Originally signed with K-State out of high school in 2012… A Kansas City-Atchison League first team pick… Named First Team All-Kansas during his sophomore and junior seasons… Had 58 catches for 865 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior… Finished career with 94 catches for 1,517 yards and 24 touchdowns… Averaged 16.1 yards per catch and one touchdown for every three catches… Led Sumner Academy’s basketball team to two state championships… Was a league honorable mention selection on the court as a junior… A Kansas Honor Scholar, USD 500 Scholastic Athlete and National Honor Society member… Accumulated a 3.48 GPA in high school.

PERSONAL: Vernon Vaughn was born in 1994… Son of Vernon and Debra Vaughn.

Jake Waters
6-2, 215
Quarterback
Council Bluffs, Iowa (Iowa Western CC)

AT IOWA WESTERN CC: Named the 2012 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year after leading Iowa Western to a 12-0 record and a National Championship… Accounted for over 300 yards of total offense in the National Championship game, a 27-7 win over second-ranked Butler CC… Named a 2012 NJCAA First Team All-American, the Midwest Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a MFC First Team All-Conference honoree… Set a NJCAA national record for completion percentage after connecting on 73.3 percent (244-of-333) of his passes while throwing for 3,501 yards, 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions… Threw for 307 yards and a school-record five touchdowns in the first half of a 65-21 win over No. 17 Dupage (Ill.)… Named a Second Team MFC All-Conference selection in 2011… Named to the 2010 Academic All-Region XI First Team as a freshman.

AT ST. ALBERT HIGH SCHOOL: Led the Falcons to two 1A Iowa State Championships and a 37-2 mark as a three-year starter… Threw for 5,288 yards and 70 touchdowns while running for 1,820 and 28 touchdowns during his prep career… A three-time First Team Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) All-State 1A selection at quarterback… Also a standout for the Falcons on the hardwood… Named a Second Team INA All-State 1A selection as a senior.

PERSONAL: Jake Waters was born in 1992… Son of Rick Waters and Carolyn Waters.

Isaiah Williams
6-1, 223
Linebacker
Dallas, Texas (Skyline)

AT SKYLINE HIGH SCHOOL: A 2012 all-district and all-region pick by the Dallas Morning News… Recorded 68 tackles as a senior en route to a 14-2 record…. Lettered three years and won three district championships while compiling a 28-6 combined record.

PERSONAL: Isaiah Williams was born in 1994… Son of Willie and Cecilia Williams.

Jordan Willis
Defensive End
6-5, 250
Raymore-Peculiar, Mo. (Rockhurst)

AT ROCKHURST HIGH SCHOOL: A three-year letterman for the Hawklets… A 2012 Kansas City Star All-Metro First Team performer… Recorded 58 tackles and nine sacks during his senior season… Named to the MaxPreps 2012 Missouri Preseason All-State team prior to his senior year… Amassed 60 total tackles and 13 sacks during his junior campaign… Helped Rockhurst to a Class 6 Missouri State Championship and 13-0 finish as a sophomore in 2010.

PERSONAL: Jordan Willis was born in 1995… Son of Calvin and Demetrica Willis.

Tanner Wood
Defensive End
6-5, 235
Conway Springs, Kan. (Conway Springs)

AT CONWAY SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL: Named Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior year… An All-American honorable mention selection by Parade Magazine… A four-year letterman who led the Cardinals to a combined record of 45-5 during his high school career… Ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 2 player in the state of Kansas… Set a Kansas high school state record and the third-best single-game rushing yardage total in national high school history with a 659-yard, nine-touchdown effort in Conway Springs’ 84-56 win over Chaparral… Recorded 2,709 rushing yards, 43 total touchdowns and 110 tackles during his senior season … Named to the Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com 2012 Top 11 team… An All-3A first team performer at running back by VarsityKansas.com and at linebacker by the Topeka Capital-Journal as a senior… Chosen to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… Named a First Team All-Central Plains League performer as a running back and linebacker in 2012… An all-state pick at linebacker as a junior… Led Conway Springs to a 13-1 record and a Kansas 3A State Championship in 2011… Tallied 88 tackles and three interceptions during his junior campaign… Also a standout in basketball and track and field.

PERSONAL: Tanner Wood was born on in 1994… Son of Tim and Michele Wood.

Pat Narduzzi believes Pitt RB James Conner will play in 2016

In this photo taken Nov. 21, 2015, Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi, right, applauds a touchdown by his team next to James Conner in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Louisville in Pittsburgh. Conner spent the last three months weighing whether to return next fall or head to the NFL after a torn knee ligament ended his junior season before it really began. (Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP) MAGAZINES OUT; NO SALES; MONESSEN OUT; KITTANNING OUT; CONNELLSVILLE OUT; GREENSBURG OUT; TARENTUM OUT; NORTH HILLS NEWS RECORD OUT; BUTLER OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP
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The college football world was stunned when Pittsburgh running back James Conner, who missed the bulk of the 2015 season due to a knee injury, announced he is battling cancer. Despite his ongoing bout with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his neck and chest, Conner is said to be in great physical shape and looks he could even be ready to play for the Panthers this fall once he beats cancer.

“I saw him yesterday in the hallway and he’s been working out with our kids to keep his sanity and he’s having fun doing it,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said recently to ESPN.com reporter James Shanker. “That’s the key is he’s having fun beating cancer and he’s got a great attitude and he looks good right now. He’s doing well and looks well. Doesn’t look like he lost weight. Looks like he could still play. He doesn’t look like he has cancer.”

Conner declared his intention to play football again when he announced his cancer to the world last December.

“I will play football again,” Conner said in early December. “I will be at Heinz Field again. I have the best coaches and teammates in the country. I thank God I chose Pitt because now I also have the best doctors in the country and together we will win. I know this city has my back.”

The former ACC Player of the Year is receiving financial support from Pitt to handle the costs of the treatments, which is allowed by the NCAA for special circumstances. This is certainly a special circumstance. Per NCAA rules, Conner and his family are required to have personal insurance but schools may pick up the tab for remaining costs not covered by the student’s insurance coverage. Pitt is able to lend its support because cancer is affecting Conner’s ability to play football.

The college football world will continue to root for Conner as he works his way back to the football field.

Cost of attendance not having negative recruiting impact on Group of Five (yet)

Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. (1) runs for a first down against Temple during the second half of the American Athletic Conference championship football game, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, in Houston. Houston won 24-13. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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The outlook on the impact cost of attendance has on non-power conference institutions may not be known for another year or so, but after one recruiting cycle since the power conferences were granted autonomy powers, cost of attendance stipends have not been seen to be a major difference in the game as one might have thought originally.

Underdog Dynasty took a look at the issue and how Group of Five schools have fared. The initial findings suggest Group of Five programs are not struggling nearly as much as once suspected when it comes to cost of attendance stipends, although it is something that not every program has jumped into providing just yet. And yes, the topic of stipends does pop up on the recruiting trail, which suggests the Group of Five programs that can provide a little extra money as part of a player’s enrollment do figure to have some sort of advantage. However, stipends do not appear to be a game changer on a massive enough scale.

From Underdog Dynasty;

Another fear from last season was that smaller athletic departments couldn’t afford it. Those may have been overblown as well. My Google search turned up news of South Dakota State phasing in COA stipends for all student-athletes, something North Dakota and North Dakota State already have done.

All three are FCS schools. If they can afford the stipends, albeit funding 63 football scholarships rather than 85, G5 schools should as well. Even the Sun Belt distributes more than $1 million per school in College Football Playoff payouts.

Houston, of the American Athletic Conference, just landed a recruiting class that would make a good number of power conference programs jealous, although the Cougars were the only Group of Five program to finish ranked in the top 50 in the final team rankings compiled by Rivals (BYU finished No. 48). Boise State, UCF and Temple fell in the upper half of the FBS mix as well.

Just as one year of the College Football Playoff system did not provide enough empirical evidence to suggest the Big 12 should expand to 12 just to get a conference championship game, one year of cost of attendance stipends is not nearly enough to suggest it has a devastating or minimal impact on the recruiting game in college football. This is just something that will have to be watched for a few more years in order to gather more evidence to evaluate.

Former Wolverine Brian Cole transferring to Kentucky

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2013, file photo, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops watches from the sideline during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. Stoops has recruited some high-level talent since coming to Lexington three years ago and the Wildcats have taken substantial steps forward. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File
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Maybe it’s the new uniforms. Maybe it’s an opportunity for a fresh start. Whatever the reason, former Michigan wide receiver and defensive back Brian Cole is heading to Kentucky.

Cole was a four-star recruit in Michigan’s Class of 2015. The second-ranked player from the state of Michigan was a significant addition to the Wolverines by then first-year Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, which helps make his decision to leave for another program now a bit interesting to note considering the momentum seemingly being generated in Ann Arbor. He was released from his scholarship in Michigan in January.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Cole will be forced to sit out the 2016 season and will be eligible to return to the playing field again in 2017. The good news for Cole is he will still have three years of eligibility remaining.

Cole appeared in two games for the Wolverines in 2015, but he spent most of the season held back by injury issues. His addition to the Kentucky roster is a big win for head coach Mark Stoops, who has developed a little bit of a habit for adding some talented transfers to his program in Lexington.

Michigan and Notre Dame could be rekindling their football series

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 1994, file photo, Notre Dame's Derrick Mayes (1) pulls in a touchdown catch in front of Michigan's Chuck Winters (35) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Mayes may have grabbed this spectacular catch for a score, but Michigan's Remy Hamilton kicked four field goals, including a 42-yarder with 2 seconds left, to give the Wolverines a 26-24  victory. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser, File)
AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser, File
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The bitter divorce between Michigan and Notre Dame on the football field could soon be forgiven. There are hints and clues the series could be heading to a revival.

Michigan athletics director Jim Hackett started lighting the fire for the rivalry series renewal discussion last week when he mentioned during a radio interview the two schools have opened communication on the subject.

“I will tell you this, the relationship is good, and it started with [Jim Harbaugh] and coach [Brian Kelly] working together on a desire to play together,” Hackett said. “But (there’s) nothing firm yet.”

In 2013, when the two schools were beginning to play what was to be their final game son the existing contract, Kelly downplayed the rivalry with Michigan by noting it has not been one of the best rivalries in Notre Dame’s history. In his defense, he is right. In fact, Notre Dame has a more storied history with Michigan State, not to mention USC or Navy.

“I really haven’t seen it as one of those historic, traditional Notre Dame rivalries,” Kelly said according to the Chicago Tribune. “I’ve seen it as just one of those great football games that Notre Dame has played.

“For me, I’ve been in Michigan a long time, I’ve always felt the Notre Dame-Michigan game was a big regional game. But in the Notre Dame history books, this game has (been) played, but obviously there have been some years where it hasn’t been played for a number of years.”

Kelly did later go on to say he was optimistic the series with Michigan would return in the future. Harbaugh was quick to follow up on the idea of playing Notre Dame again. Now we just sit and wait to see when that may become a possibility.

Scheduling for both Michigan and Notre Dame have become a bit more complex in more recent years than it used to be. Notre Dame is part of an ACC scheduling rotation that guarantees a certain number of power conference opponents from the ACC each season and the Irish continue rivalry game son an annual basis with USC, Stanford and Navy. Michigan is moving to a nine-game Big Ten schedule with the requirement to play at least one power conference opponent in its non-conference slate each season. The Wolverines already have that requirement met through the 2027 season but have shown a willingness to schedule two power conference opponents in a season, which is the case in 2020 and 2021 (games vs. Washington and Virginia Tech in alternating home-and-home deals).