K-State Inks 15 on 2019 Early Signing Day

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Courtesy of K-State Sports Information

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman announced the first part of his inaugural signing class as the Wildcats unveiled the names of 15 student-athletes who utilized the early signing period and will join the program over the next several months.

This year’s early signees include 12 players from the high school ranks, one community-college player and a pair of transfer student-athletes from other FBS institutions.

Thus far, K-State’s signing class of 2019 includes nine players on offense, five defenders and one specialist. Of the early signees, three are defensive backs, there are two apiece of offensive linemen, running backs and quarterbacks, and there is one defensive tackle, fullback, linebacker, tight end, wide receiver and punter/kicker.

The transfer student-athletes are running back James Gilbert from Ball State and safety Marcus Hayes from New Mexico. Gilbert is a graduate transfer, who is immediately eligible to play his senior season in 2019. Gilbert, a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, leaves Ball State ranked seventh in school history in career rushing yards (2,806) and tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns (30).

Hayes must sit out the 2019 season after playing as a true freshman for New Mexico this past season. He totaled 51 tackles and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. The Rockford, Illinois, product also returned punts for the Lobos, leading the nation prior to the bowl season with a 21.2-yard average, while he returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown against Boise State.

The next opportunity for prospects to sign are during the normal signing period, which begins on Wednesday, February 6.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.