There has always been a question asked when it comes to the position of
tight end in the offensive scheme of Kansas State under Bill Snyder. Why
doesn't the tight end get more passes thrown to them? That's a solid
question, but if you're a tight end during the Snyder era your number of
catches doesn't show the overall importance the position plays in the scheme
of the offense.
Last season the tight ends only caught a total of 23 passes (22 by out going
senior Brian Casey and 1 by Rashaad Norwood). Recruiting tight ends to play
at Kansas State can be difficult at times because they only get a certain
amount of reception opportunities.
Tight end is going to be an interesting position for the Wildcats in the
fall. The past 2 years Bill Snyder has been blessed with two experienced
tight ends (Thomas Hill and Brian Casey) who came through with big catches
and could deliver key blocks.
Both are gone to graduation and the position
of tight end is going to feature some young but talented candidates. There
are only 2 tight ends on the depth chart and the team usually travels with 3
so this should end up being one of the more competitive position battles for
playing time in the fall.
Sophomore to be Rashaad Norwood appeared in 11 games last year catching only
1 pass, but is considered to play a big part in the future at the tight end
position. At 6-5 230 pounds the native of Kansas City could be the total
package at tight end with speed, great hands and the ability to become an
Going into the season it could be his job to lose. Norwood red shirted his freshman year and hit the weights hard and built up
his power and strength to combine it with his outstanding pass receiving
skills and continue to improve his blocking.
Enter The Freshmen
Freshman to be Nate Prater will also find some playing time this season and
could eventually challenge for a starting nod. Prater is one of the members
of this recruiting class that Cat fans will see play immediately.
Prater a much-heralded player from Omaha, Nebraska brings solid blocking
skills, and catching ability to next season's squad. He's the type of
player that could play on both passing and running downs much like Brian
Casey did last year. Prater does need to continue to get stronger, and
Prater is a versatile and talented athlete who also lettered in basketball
along with track and field during high school and posses a 31-inch vertical
The difference between Casey and Prater at this position is the 4.8 speed
that he brings to the table that will cause the Kansas State coaching staff
to use him a bit differently. Prater is coming into the season believing
and preparing hard in the gym to compete for a playing time or a starting
At 260 pounds Prater is likes to punish defenders and playing in the
rugged Big 12 Conference he will meet up with many defenders wanting to do
the same to him.
One of the things that could help Prater is the way tight ends are used at
K-State is during his junior year at Central High in Omaha Prater caught 31
passes, 10 for touchdowns in a run first offense.
A player who makes the
most of each opportunity fits in perfectly with the way the tight end
position is used in the Bill Snyder offense. Making the big block, the
catch at the right time and working hard to improve every week is key.
Prater has the smarts (3.8 GPA) and the physical ability to excel for the
Wildcats but when you put the pads on and go head to head in the Big 12 it's
an entirely different world.
Norwood and Prater will go head to head for playing time, and both players
have tons of potential. Both will have to bring it to the field day in day
out, both in practice and games. The sheer competition of the two during
pre-season practice will bring more attention to the tight end position than
in the past. This is where the conversations stop and potential either
becomes reality or just talk.
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