April 28, 2008
Instant Impact: No. 12 RB Keithen Valentine
Running back Keithan Valentine is different than the other 14 players on our list of Kansas State's impact newcomers. It has become obvious that the man that occupies the No. 12 spot on our countdown has an iron will, endless drive and unparalleled determination, but what makes him truly unique is something he is without - a scholarship. Casting the stigma that comes with being a walk-on aside, the tailback is already inserting his name into the thick of the team's running back situation.
5-foot-9, 195-pound junior
Mississippi Delta Community College
Rivals.com notes: As a walk-on, Valentine's name is not listed in the Rivals.com database.
Valentine on K-State: "I'm hungry. I want to prove myself out here. I want the fans to know I'm going to help this team win games."
|"(Valentine) did the Oklahoma drill in practice and went against (300-pound defensive lineman) Michael Abana. He's a tough son-of-a-gun. He's a tough dude. He's a good person. He's unselfish and is going to help the team. He's going to be a good leader, too. |
- Kansas State offensive lineman Gerard Spexarth
Why he will help: K-State head coach Ron Prince is as high on Valentine as he is any player on the roster, and for good reason. The walk-on tailback had what could have been the best spring of any Wildcat player and capped it off with a 106-yard performance in K-State's annual spring game. Prince insists that Valentine would be the team's No. 2 running back if the season opened today, and it seems as though the walk-on's teammates see promise in him as well, praising his determination at every turn and pointing out the fact that the 5-foot-9 Valentine dwarfs the weight bigger players, such as 250-pound quarterback Josh Freeman, squat during workouts. If Prince values work ethic as much as he says, it will be hard for him to keep the Mississippi Delta product off the field on Saturdays.
Why he could sit: Though Valentine looks to be the front runner to back up junior running back Leon Patton at the moment, that could all change when 4-star running back prospect Daniel Thomas arrives in Manhattan this summer. Junior college transfers of Thomas' caliber don't often watch from the sidelines, so Valentine will have his work cut out for him this summer if he hopes to maintain his standing as a possible contributor in 2008.
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