Ranking The 6 Best Players On Kansas State For 2016

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, they are going to need their top, impact performers to carry them. Here are Kansas State's six best players for the 2016 season:

6) OL Dalton Risner

Risner is K-State's only returning starter along the offensive line. Not only is he expected build on what was a fantastic freshman season last year, but he's being counted on to take over a leadership role as a sophomore.

5) 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.

4) 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.

He could very well be ranked higher on this list by the end of the season, but he's here because his dynamic skill set. 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.

3) DE Jordan Willis

Willis might just be a pass-rushing specialist, but he's one of the best in the Big 12 at it. He racked up a team-high 9.5 sacks as a sophomore last season, including six in the last four games of the 2015 season. Expect the 6'5", 250-pounder to be the and even more dominant force in 2016.

2) LB Elijah Lee

Lee is the prototypical Bill Snyder defender. He's a bit undersized for a linebacker at 6'3" and 220 lbs, but he plays with an extremely high motor and never takes a play off. Equally good at dropping back in coverage as he is at stopping the run, Lee's experience and leadership will be crucial in taking Kansas State back to the top of the Big 12.

1) S Dante Barnett

Speaking of experience and leadership, Barnett will provide that in bunches. He was poised for a dominant 2015 campaign, but was one of the many KSU players who missed most of the season with a knee injury. Barnett doesn't have great size at 6'1" and 195 lbs., yet still is a huge hitter and displays excellent range as a free safety. He will re-emerge as one of the country's best defensive backs again in 2016.

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Related Topics: Big 12 Football, Byron Pringle, NCAA Football, Kansas State Wildcats Football, Dalton Risner, Jesse Ertz, Dante Barnett, Elijah Lee, Jordan Willis