Kansas State football: 15 best wide receivers in Wildcats history

Tyler Lockett, Kansas State Wildcats. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images)
Tyler Lockett, Kansas State Wildcats. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images) /
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Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State Wildcats. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Greatest wide receivers in Kansas State football history: 14. Mitch Running

Mitch Running first came to Manhattan as a walk-on for Bill Snyder’s K-State program. Snyder had only been in charge for a few seasons when Running joined the team. He would end up being part of Kansas State’s first bowl win in school history and its first top-25 finish ever in 1993.

As a freshman in 1992, Running had 10 catches for 158 yards. That’s nothing to write home about, but keep in mind that he was a walk-on that first season in Manhattan. K-State would go 5-6 that season, but the program would officially arrive the following fall in 1993.

That season, Running had 41 catches for 466 yards and a touchdown. Kansas State finished the year 9-2-1 and garnered a third-place finish in the old Big Eight. The Wildcats would play in the Copper Bowl, defeating the Wyoming Cowboys in Tuscon, Arizona to nab Snyder his first bowl victory in his College Football Hall of Fame career.

Running continued to be a vibrant part of the K-State passing game in 1994 and 1995. His role would expand as an upperclassman as he began to field punts as a junior and season. Running had 31 catches for 441 yards and two touchdowns as a junior, to go along with 28 punt returns for 255 yards. K-State would go 9-3 in 1994, earning another third-place finish in the Big Eight before losing to the Boston College Eagles in the Aloha Bowl.

In what was Running’s last season in Manhattan in 1995, he set career highs in all major statistical receiving categories. He had 51 catches for 756 yards and seven receiving touchdowns. Running also had 34 punts for 370 yards in the return game. K-State would finish the year 10-2, finish in second place in the Big Eight and defeat the Colorado State Rams in the Holiday Bowl. The Wildcats were the No. 7 team in the country in the final AP Poll in 1995.

In four years with the Wildcats, Running amassed 133 receptions for 1,821 yards and 10 touchdowns. He ended up with 62 punt returns for 625 return yards. Overall, Running may not have been the best player on those early Snyder teams, but without him, it’s hard to say if K-State goes from perpetual Big Eight doormat to perennial top-25 team.