MANHATTAN — Perhaps it was fitting that the first group of team football captains to kick off the Chris Klieman era at Kansas State were first-time selections.
Though a couple of them had held leadership positions under the previous coaching regime, their emergence over the past eight months has been largely organic.
"Asserting ourselves early in the season, we knew that we needed leadership, especially with the coaching change," said senior defensive tackle Trey Dishon, one of the seven players chosen in a team vote. "You need guys to be locked in and go through the offseason and do everything right.
"So asserting ourselves back in January made a big difference to now."
The seven captains named last Friday were Dishon, senior defensive end Reggie Walker, sophomore defensive end Wyatt Hubert, senior safety Denzel Goolsby, junior quarterback Skylar Thompson, senior receiver Dalton Schoen and senior center Adam Holtorf.
"We're a lot of like-minded guys," Holtorf said. "We're extremely hard workers. I think a lot of us are lead-by-example-first type guys. Keep your nose down and work hard.
"But we all jell really well together. Five of us seven are fifth-year seniors, so we've been together for a number of years. We've helped each other grow through the years, so there's that cohesiveness, as well."
Klieman, who emphasized that the captains were selected by the players alone, saw no big surprises emerge from the team vote.
"I just see the way they interact with their peers and their teammates," he said. "It was pretty evident that the guys in the room had a great amount of respect for the seven guys that we did name."
Hubert became just the eighth sophomore in program history to be named a captain, joining Mark Simoneau (1997), Terry Pierce (2001), Josh Freeman (2007), Alex Hrebec (2009), Collin Klein (2010), B.J. Finney (2012) and Dalton Risner (2016).
"It's definitely an honor," Hubert said. "It's definitely not something I saw myself being, (but) I always tried to be a leader, tried to be an example for everyone on the team, younger and older, and I'm just so blessed and fortunate that the coaches believed in me to be that guy, to be a captain.
"Obviously the players had voted for that and I'm just grateful and have huge respect for my teammates for voting me a captain."
The captains, Klieman said, check all his main leadership boxes.
"I want guys that can challenge their peers and challenge their brothers," he said. "Sometimes they make the unpopular decision, but it's the right one for the team.
"I saw what some of these guys did from a leadership standpoint in the winter when it was new to everybody, to the spring when it was new for everybody, through the summer and fall that those guys make everybody around them better. I look for servant leaders, which is somebody that isn't worried about his statistics, so to speak, (but) he's worried about making sure everybody around him is better, whether that's on or off the field, and I think we have some great captains this year."
Klieman said that three former walk-ons have been awarded scholarships for the 2019 seasons.
They are sophomore receiver Landry Weber, junior offensive lineman Noah Johnson and junior running back Tyler Burns. Weber and Johnson (center) were listed as backups on the two-deep released Monday, while Burns was a former scholarship back who left the team for the 2018 season before returning last spring.
Klieman has said he plans to make full use of the redshirt rule that allows players to participate in up to four games without losing a year of eligibility. But he added Tuesday that he doesn't anticipate using a lot of true freshmen in Saturday's season opener against Nicholls.
"Under six, probably, this week," he said. "I think Josh (Youngblood, receiver/kick returner) is in there, Joe (Ervin, running back) could be in there (and fullback) Jax Dineen could be in there a little bit.
"And then there's some other guys that we're trying to work in that we haven't had practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, that I want to see how close they are from a special teams standpoint."
The 2018-19 K-State men's basketball team will be honored during Saturday's 6 p.m. season opener at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Departed seniors Barry Brown, Dean Wade and Kamau Stokes will be on hand along with the nine returning members of the team: Cartier Diarra, James Love, Makol Mawien, Mike McGuirl, Nigel Shadd, Xavier Sneed, Levi Stockard and Shaun Williams.