March 25, 2007

Five Wildcats to watch this spring

After leading Kansas State to a 7-6 record and back into postseason play in his first year in Manhattan Coach Ron Prince has his program set to open spring practice in preparation for the annual Spring Game on April 21. will be covering spring practice every step of the way, starting with this look at five returnees to keep an eye on over the next month.

Quarterback Josh Freeman
The gifted Freeman took over K-State's quarterback position as a true freshman and showed exactly what kind of play he's capable of by earning back-to-back Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts in wins against Colorado and Texas, but a late-season slide in blowout losses to Kansas and Rutgers gives Freeman plenty of motivation to improve this spring. The 6-foot-6 signal caller completed 51.9 percent of his throws for 1,780 yards, six touchdowns and 15 interceptions over the course of the 2006 season, and Wildcat fans would like to see Freeman become a bit more accurate while cutting down on his turnovers in year two. As the Grandview, Mo., native continues to get more comfortable in K-State's offense, those two things should happen.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson
Much was expected of Nelson last year after a breakout campaign in 2005, but the Riley native battled injuries all season long that kept him from putting up the type of numbers he's capable of. Nelson did finish the year with 39 receptions for 547 yards and a touchdown - a 74-yard catch and run against the Buffaloes - and has had plenty of time to recover and get healthy. An increased familiarity with Freeman and the ability to play at full speed could do wonders for Nelson this spring, easily K-State's most well recognized pass catcher with the departures of Jermaine Moreira and Yamon Figurs.

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