The offensive line has done brilliant at times, protecting Josh Freeman
when they needed to and opening up some running lanes. It's also been downright scary to say the least, injuries forcing other guys to play different positions on the line, which has made KSU OL coach Tim McCarty
do his best to find the best combination of available bodies. Needless to say, McCarty has done a heckuva job. But there are more than a few ways to develop the line in the immediate and long term future, one of the quickest, hitting the JUCO ranks, which is exactly what Ron Prince
and company have done.
That's exactly what KSU did when they jumped all over left tackle stud Phillip Garcia before any other college did. The Wildcats identified, targeted and heavily pursued the mountain of a man; capable of stepping in at left tackle from day one. Kid's going to enroll this spring giving him even more of an opportunity to crack the starting lineup as early as 2008. He's that good. And, he chose KSU over quite a few other teams, not to mention said he'll probably wind up there no matter who else comes after him.
Garcia told KstateFans.com that two things really stood out about K-State, making his commitment to Prince and Gang a very easy decision…
"The fans in Manhattan are crazy," Garcia leveling with KstateFans.com said. "I mean absolutely nuts. The student section was rolling people up several flights of stairs, on top of the students' heads and shoulders. They were crowd surfing. Running people up and down the student section the entire game. It was totally insane. And I have never ever seen fans act that wild before. The environment at K-State is the craziest I have ever seen. There fan support is awesome and the game day environment is incredible. That definitely made an impact on me and my decision to commit to K-State.
Not far behind in the eye-opening official visit was a conversation with head coach/master recruiter Ron Prince, but we'll get to that later, after some more thoughts Garcia gave KStateFans.com regarding his decision to give his verbal pledge to KSU.
"You know, not one of the coaches pressured me to commit the whole time I was there," Garcia explaining another one of his reasons for picking K-State said. "I thought that was really, really cool. I know they really want me bad yet they never made me feel uncomfortable at all, never pressured me to commit. The entire visit was just really cool, very comfortable, and exciting at the same time."
"Then, Sunday morning, I sat down with Coach Prince in his office to talk with him one-on-one," Garcia sharing pertinent information said. "And, he was all about telling me what I needed to do to get better. Telling me even if I went somewhere else, what I needed to work on to reach my goals of playing at the highest level in D-I, and then the NFL. On top of that he didn't put any pressure on me to commit. He did explain why they selected me, recruited me so hard, and why they wanted me over 2,000 other offensive tackles in the country. He told me what he expected of me when I got there, how much he could improve my game, and how much he could take me to the next level. And just the fact that he was so straight forward about everything, and then so honest with helping me whether I went to KSU or not, you know what I needed to work on in my game to get even better, it just sold me right then, right there."
"I kind of knew I already wanted to commit before I went into his office," Garcia continued, "After seeing the environment and atmosphere of the KSU-KU game, how wild the (Wildcat) fans are. But then after my conversation with Coach Prince, there was no doubt I wanted to commit to K-State. So I did…"
Looking at the above would seemingly put Garcia in the 'lock' category, meaning his commitment to K-State is so strong that you almost as a recruiting analyst want to consider him 'A Lock.' But we'll have to wait a while before we're able to classify his verbal to K-State as a'solid' one. After all, kid told me he would like to take at least one more official visit, maybe two. Hence the reason why Scout.com lists the JC bad ass as a KSU ‘soft' verbal.
Garcia was forthcoming on the issue of taking additional visits with KStateFans.com despite already giving K-State his commitment nod.
"I'd just like the opportunity to experience an official visit to Arizona, and maybe another school, at the most." Garcia shooting straight from the hip said. "That's it. That's all there is to it. I'd like to make sure of my commitment to K-State. I already told the (KSU) coaches that I would take at least one more official visit. So they know. And, they did not seem to really have an issue with it."
"And, again," Garica continued, "That just really makes my decision to commit to K-State even stronger. I know what KSU offers me and the list of positives is too long to name. So I don't think (KSU fans) have any thing to worry about. But I feel I owe it to myself to take at least one more official visit and that is going to be to Arizona."
Garica Full Injury Update (and timetable on officially tripping to Arizona for an official visit):
The College of Cerritos lineman said his MCL tear and partial ACL tear has his official visit tentatively scheduled to Arizona a little 'up in the air'...
"I don't want to be hobbling when I go on my official visit to Arizona," Garcia shared. "So it could be this coming weekend, the weekend following that one, or the weekend following that weekend. I don't really know yet. It just depends on how my knee responds."
Speaking of the injury status Garcia told us privately that he really did not like one interview/story about his commitment to K-State. At least based on my conversation with Garcia about it, the way I interpreted it, it seemingly took away from the news of his commitment to the Cats by closing with his injury (as if prognosis for recovery remained a big question mark).
Knowing two Sunday nights ago that Garcia would be going to the doctor to get an official status report on his injured knee KstateFans.com decided to catch back up with him then, in order to grab the necessary info on his injury, i.e. severity, best case scenario for a quick recovery, realistic timetable for recovery, and worse case scenario in determining his prognosis for getting back to 100 percent. [In other words we wanted to get the full details and extent of his injury, prognosis for a succesfull recovery, etc and we did exactly that.]
"The doctor told me this past Monday that I tore my MCL and had a second degree tear of the ACL," Garcia sharing personal information about his injuries said, "Which is in fact better than fully tearing the ACL."
"Anyway, the doctor who will be performing the surgery is known around here for doing a great job," Garcia continued. "As a matter of fact he did a couple ACL surgeries on two of the guys who played for (Cerritos College) already and the guys made full recoveries. So, I'm very optimistic. He is one of the best period. And well known for being one of the best."
"I'm going to have the surgery either next week or the week following that week," Garcia added, "And, the doctor said I would already be running again, after the surgery, within the next six to eight weeks."
That put Garcia's timetable for beginning the rehab process early- to mid-December.
While the surgeon gave the 6-foot-7, 320-pound natural left tackle a timeline for making a full recovery, he noted that at the same time everybody's body recovers differently, some faster than others, some slower.
"It really just depends on how my body responds to the treatment and rehab process," Garcia informed. "He said I could be back in pads and ready to go 100 percent by February, before Spring Ball. He said a full recovery could also come in between the spring and summer. And that the worse case scenario (aside from my knee never being the same since that is a possibility, although I don't think that that is going to be the case with me) should at the latest have me back 100 percent no later than August, September or October. But that's the worse case scenario. I think I'll be back by the spring. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll be back befofe the spring because I'm going to work extremely hard."
Garcia also contemplated the idea that due to his taking care of his school work early, eligible to enroll in the spring, that he is afforded the luxury of taking a redshirt season in 2008, if needed, and still has two years to play two at K-State.
"I really think I'll be ready to go in 2008," Garcia stated with a degree of confidence that has me thinking the same. "But, yes, you're correct. If my recovery is slower than expected, and I cannot perform at the highest level I am capable of, then I will take a redshirt year in 2008 in order to get my knee not only back to 100 percent but even stronger."
[Note by KstateFans.com Recruiting Editor: Folks, this kid has the personality, demeanor, and straight-forwardness that wreaks of stardom on the next level and beyond. Despite his setback with the knee injury, I think this is major addition to Ron Prince and company's recruiting class. Garica is a bad ass and I know I use that word a little too freely sometimes, but not in the case of describing Garica and his potential. Kid is going to be big-time. And I cannot wait to see him in a K-State Uni come 2008, or if needed, in 2009. But do not for one second bet against this stud making a full recovery and being ready to contribute at a high level in 2008. It would be foolish to do so given the determination and confidence oozing from this young man.]
Phillip Garcia gave Kansas State his verbal commitment a little over a week ago. We wanted to give KSU Fans even more on Garcia's decision, particularly the impact his conversation with Ron Prince as well as the impression the K-State student section made on the 6-7, 320-pound stallion left tackle. We talk about that, plus update his injury status, prognosis for recovery & More!
Get the Scoop on how the KSU student section impacted Garcia's commitment, full injury status & More