Kansas State Football: Three players who surprised in 2020 season

Head coach Chris Klieman of the Kansas State Wildcats (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)
Head coach Chris Klieman of the Kansas State Wildcats (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images) /

Kansas State football’s season came with some surprising performances.

The Kansas State Wildcats‘ season ended with a bad loss to the Texas Longhorns, but the Wildcats were still invited to play in a bowl game. They did not accept this invite due to COVID-19 concerns, which ended their once-promising season.

After Skylar Thompson got hurt, this season was to see who could be the future at multiple positions. With this, some players prospered while some regressed, but still have time to turn it around. Kansas State has started to set up the pieces for a couple of runs at the Big 12 Championship with some of the younger players and recruits coming in next year.

Although the Wildcats are turning the corner they are losing a couple of key starters in the defense. Wyatt Hubert has declared for the draft while AJ Parker hasn’t declared yet but expect him to declare soon. The good news is Drew Wiley, Bronson Massey, and Jahron McPherson are returning to the program.

With some seniors coming back and some surprising performances coming on both sides of the ball, the Wildcats should be ready to compete. Now let’s look at the three players who surprised many fans this season with their performances.

Kansas State Football Surprising Players – No. 3: Drew Wiley

Before this season Drew Wiley had zero career sacks and was predominantly a run stopper. That changed this year as he put up 4.5 sacks while still stuffing the run with 25 tackles and nine tackles for loss, all career highs. To add to this, he also added three passes defended, which is great for a defensive tackle.

The breakout could have been because he was playing alongside Wyatt Hubert and Khalid Duke, who both racked up the pressures this year. Even with this, Wiley was due to be productive this season, and to make things better, he is returning to the program for his last season.

Kansas State Football Surprising Players – No. 2: Ekow Boye-Doe

As most fans know, the Kansas State Wildcats have a reputation for having good secondaries that are anchored by multiple players. In recent years, it has been the combos of AJ Parker, Denzel Goolsby, and Jahron McPherson. Now that Parker might declare for the draft, the secondary takes a hit, but his replacement is pretty good.

Ekow Boye-Doe is going to be the next great Wildcat corner. Boye-Doe’s stats do not really pop a whole lot, but he limited several receivers in the Big 12 this year. He only had 25 total tackles but showed up in coverage with seven pass breakups, good for No. 6 in the Big 12 this season.

Kansas State Football Surprising Players – No.1: Deuce Vaughn

To no one’s surprise, Deuce Vaughn is No. 1 on this list. Not many fans expected Vaughn to be as good as he was, especially as a freshman. Vaughn’s season totals were 632 rushing yards with 5.3 yards per carry along with seven rushing touchdowns.

Not only was Vaughn electric as a runner, but he was also the leading receiver early on in the year and ended with 25 receptions for 438 yards and two touchdowns. This was enough for him to win the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

This was a great season for Vaughn and fans began to compare him to another Kansas State great, Darren Sproles. With Vaughn’s size that comparison is expected, as Vaughn is 5’5″ and 168 pounds, which is around Sproles’ size. With this comparison comes the very high expectations of Vaughn to be one of the greats in the program.

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All of these players had huge years and are all coming back next year to help Kansas State develop and hopefully turn into Big 12 contenders for years to come.