Kansas State polished off its 11-1 season and clinched a Big 12 championship in front of a sold out Bill Snyder Family Stadium crowd. There was confetti, there were cheers, and there was a postgame trophy presentation. The situation made it easy to predict what recruits who witnessed the evening firsthand would note about the experience.
So before Marcus Hardison said a word about his unofficial visit to Manhattan, you could see his talking points coming.
"The atmosphere," Hardison said the morning after the Wildcats' 42-24 win over Texas. "It was crazy. The environment was seriously crazy. I liked it a lot."
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That stuff is generic, though. Prospects always "like" their visits. They're always "impressed" by the school and all that jazz. The fact that the evening shook up the four-star defensive end's list of favorite schools is a bit more telling.
A day after it wrapped up its first Big 12 title since 2003, K-State cracked the group of frontrunners to land Hardison, who spent the past season at Dodge City Community College.
"It's Arizona State, K-State, Texas Tech, Florida State and West Virginia," Hardison said. "That's how it looks now."
Hardison is scheduled to visit West Virginia on Dec. 8 and return to K-State for an official visit on Dec. 15. As for plans beyond that, things remain uncertain. Hardison once planned to make a verbal commitment sometime in mid December, but that timetable now seems to be changing.
His revised decision date is murky. So while Hardison is thought to favor Arizona State, he's not ready to pull the trigger just yet.
"I don't know yet," he said. "I thought I would have decided now, but I don't know when I'll do it."
Hardison claims 27 scholarship offers. He is expected to graduate in the spring and arrive at the school of his choice for the spring semester. This season, he recorded 46 tackles, including five for a loss. He also forced a fumble and notched three sacks.