3 Kansas State Football Players Poised To Have Breakout Seasons

The Kansas State Wildcats had their first losing season in eight years in 2015, going just 6-7 while dealing with a wide array of devastating injuries. Now healthy, head coach Bill Snyder's squad is looking to put those struggles behind them and return to their winning ways.

For that to happen, several role players are going to have to step up and become superstars this year. Here are three players poised to have a breakout season:

CB Duke Shelley

Kansas State's pass defense was absolutely atrocious last season, ranking just 120th in the country (out of 127 teams) by allowing 285.5 yards per game through the air. Now they have to replace best player in that secondary, Morgan Burns, to avoid being even worse in 2016.

Now, that defense is expected to get a big boost from the return of safety Dante Barnett, who missed most of last season, but Shelley is expected to be the guy on the perimeter - and he's ready to deliver. He showed all the makings of becoming a true shutdown cover corner as a true freshman, and now with a full offseason of work, he could be one of the best cornerbacks in the entire Big 12.

WR Byron Pringle

KSU made it a point to add some playmakers at wide receiver in this incoming recruiting class, and Pringle will be counted on to make an immediate impact. At 6'2" and 212-pounds, the JUCO transfer has the size and strength to be a good possession receiver, and his excellent ball skills make him a dangerous red zone threat.

His ability was on full display in the spring game, where he caught nine passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. He'll be the perfect pair with Deante Burton, and should be K-State's leading receiver right off the bat.

QB Jesse Ertz

Ertz came out of spring practice as the presumptive opening day starter, and assuming he plays more than two snaps in the regular season before getting hurt again, he'll make a big difference for the Wildcats. He provides an excellent mix of rushing ability and accuracy, giving Bill Snyder the kind of mobile threat he loves to have under center. Ertz also hasn't showed any negative effects from last year's torn ACL.

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Related Topics: Big 12 Football, Byron Pringle, NCAA Football, Duke Shelley, Kansas State Wildcats Football, Jesse Ertz