June 29, 2006

Looking back at the Class of 2002

Former Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder always said the success of a recruiting class couldn't be measured until years after signing day. With much of the Class of 2002 ready to start their senior seasons in 2006, now seems to be the right time to grade a group many at the time considered one of the very best to ever sign with K-State. Taking a look back assures us of just one thing: recruiting rankings remain an inexact science.

K-State signed 30 players in its 2002 recruiting class, and after going back through and re-rating each player it's clear that the much-heralded group hasn't lived up to the hype. Eighteen of the 30 appear to have been overrated, eight underrated and four labeled just right.

Most underrated: RYAN LILJA
This 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive lineman out of Coffeyville Community College was rated as a three-star prospect - not a poor rating by any means - but is the only player in the Class of 2002 given a five-star ranking when looking back. Lilja had a stellar two-year career at Kansas State, earning All-Big 12 honors as a senior, and moved on to be a key starter for an Indianapolis Colts team that started 13-0 last season. At the end of the 2005 season, Lilja was named to Sports Illustrated's NFL All-Pro Team.

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