WVU notebook: KSU’s Snyder has success with walk-ons
MORGANTOWN, W.Va — Perhaps no college football coach is identified with turning walk-ons into scholarship players like Kansas State’s Bill Snyder.
Three of the Wildcats’ five regular captains who started Thursday against West Virginia are former walk-ons: Center B.J. Finney, a three-time All-Big 12 selection, linebacker Jonathan Truman and defensive end Ryan Mueller, the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2013.
Ten walk-ons on the roster have started at least one game in their careers, nine this season, totaling 148 career starts. Snyder estimates he has awarded scholarships to 200 walk-ons during his 23 years as coach.
Jordy Nelson, the Green Bay Packers’ star receiver, was a K-State walk-on. So were Rock Cartwright, an NFL running back for 11 seasons, and Jon McGraw, a 10-year NFL defensive back.
WVU, meanwhile, has no walk-ons who have started.
Rushel Shell started at running back for WVU after playing sparingly in the past four games, mainly because of a sprained ankle. The former Hopewell star, in his first season at WVU after transferring from Pitt, led the team in rushing for most of the season before being overtaken by Wendell Smallwood.
Shell saw plenty of action in the first half with 10 carries for 31 yards. In the prior four WVU games, he had just 16 carries.
WVU kickoff specialist Michael Molinari and reserve offensive tackle Michael Calicchio were named to the Academic All-Big 12 first team.
It was Molinari’s third straight year on the first team.
Center Tyler Orlosky, punter Nick O’Toole, quarterback Paul Millard, long snapper Johnathan DePalma and offensive tackle Grant Lingafelter were named to the second team.