April 14, 2008

Meet the New Cats: Hall & Cuba

LAST OF A FOUR-PART SERIES


Already familiar with life at Kansas State, outside linebacker Olu Hall and tight end Jayson Cuba hope to become equally familiar in playing in front of packed stadiums in the fall. While Hall sat out last season after transferring from Virginia, Cuba enrolled in January as a grayshirt. Both will get their chance to make a splash in the spring game on April 19. D. Scott Fritchen takes a final look at spring newcomers and their potential impact heading into the fall.




56


Olu Hall • OLB • 6-3, 232 • So-TR


University of Virginia
Fairfax, Va.




What his addition means: Touted by Jordy Nelson as the one to watch for 2008, Hall proved himself to be an explosive rush linebacker and was dominant at times on the Wildcats' scout team last season. After sitting out 2007 due to NCAA transfer rules, Hall will battle the likes of Eric Childs, Ross Diehl and Chris Patterson for an outside linebacker spot. Although Hall was listed at DE when he arrived, he was already groomed in lining up off the line and can get where he needs to go in a hurry.




Who he could have an edge over entering fall workouts: Diehl and Patterson didn't do themselves any favors missing the spring (academics) while a trio of Top 100 prospects Grant Valentine (No. 43), Josh Berard (No. 68) and Antonio Felder (No. 84) arrive in the fall. There should be depth to choose from at OLB, but Hall looks to establish himself in toting an impressive track record from a year ago.




What he did at Virginia: For starters, Hall hasn't seen the field in a game in two seasons. He sat out last season after transferring from Virginia and didn't play the year before that while concentrating on academics. The No. 6-rated prep player by Rivals.com out of Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy saw limited action in the first eight games of 2005 as a freshman with one tackle against North Carolina before a pair of Cavaliers' returners came back from injury.




Purple pipeline: Since at least 1993, K-State hasn't had a transfer from Virginia but RB Thomas Clayton came from a fellow ACC member Florida State and sat out 2003.




Prince says: "He was a very highly-recruited player. He missed the last two years, one from transferring."





41


Jayson Cuba • TE • 6-2, 216 • Fr-HS


Newton High School
Newton, Kan.




What his addition means: Jeron Mastrud started nine times and is the second-leading returner in receptions (30). Brett Alstatt started one game. Gone is Michael Pooschke, who had five starts and 21 receptions a year ago. That's where Cuba comes into the mix. He enters as a wildcard as he will try his hand at tight end after being a capable running back in high school.




Who he could have an edge over entering fall workouts: Nobody. But that the grayshirt enrolled in January and participated in offseason workouts makes him a candidate to contribute.




What he did at Newton High School: Cuba earned 2006 All-State honorable mention at running back by the Wichita Eagle after rushing for 520 yards on 94 carries (5.53 ypa) as a senior and also posted 28 tackles in five games on defense. He was also a three-year letterman in track and qualified for the state meet each year.




Purple pipeline: Home of LB Ted Sims (2000).




Prince says: "Jayson's done a very nice job. He's a young man who has been in the workouts here. He grayshirted, so he's enrolled in school doing a nice job. He's a kid who's a big running back or just an athlete. We've been very pleased. We'd like to see him have an opportunity to compete with Alstatt and Mastrud. Last year, Pooschke was a big part of what we did so with him leaving we expect to have some competition for that spot."






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