The Kansas State Wildcats have been experiencing a return to prominence since the return of head coach Bill Snyder in 2009. Their last two seasons were particularly impressive with a combined regular season record of 21-4, including a Big 12 Championship in 2012. Both seasons finished with disappointing bowl game losses, with 2011 in the Cotton Bowl and 2012 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Despite the sad finishes, K-State has done a great job with year after year of less-than-stellar recruiting classes. There is no better proof of how great coaching can effect a team than coach Snyder and what he has done with the Wildcats.
One of said recruits he has been working with is John Hubert, whose only offer from a BCS school came from K-State. The running back was given a recruiting grade of 70 by ESPN and a 5.5 rating from Rivals.
The 5-foot-7, 190-pound running back has been a very pleasant surprise since arriving in Manhattan, Kansas. Hubert has rushed for at least 900 yards in both his sophomore and junior seasons despite running in quarterback Colin Klein’s shadow. Klein has led the Wildcats in carries each of the last two seasons and now that he has graduated, the door is open for Hubert to be more of a focal point of the offense.
In 2012, Hubert started hot with 100-yard rushing performances in four of his first five games, including a much-needed 130 yards and TD in their big win at Oklahoma. His production sputtered as the season went on, reaching only as high as 79 yards over the last eight games. Some of his weak production was due to his lack of carries as he averaged around 14 carries per game over that span, while cracking 20 carries only once.
Hubert has the talent to be a workhorse for K-State this season. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he makes up for it with good strength, vision, patience and shiftiness. He is a smart runner but also not afraid to take on defenders. If Hubert can take the next step as a senior, he could definitely join former K-State running backs Daniel Thomas and Darren Sproles in the NFL next season.