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Slowing Kansas State's Daniel Thomas will be tough task for Husker defense

Daniel Thomas is quickly emerging as a legitimate Heisman candidate
Daniel Thomas is quickly emerging as a legitimate Heisman candidate
Scott Bruhn/NU Media Relations

When Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas first stepped onto campus in Manhattan, he was expecting to play under center as the team's quarterback. Thomas was coming off a strong season at Northwest Mississippi Community College as a signal caller and started to receive a lot of attention from schools on the FBS level.

Despite being a quarterback, Thomas's biggest weapon has always been his legs, and it showed in his time at NW Mississippi, where he compiled 1,118 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. The impressive stats were enough to get him to get a four-star ranking from and offers from Kansas State, Oklahoma, UAB, Middle Tennessee State and Baylor.

As a recruit out of junior college, the versatile Thomas was listed as an athlete, which is basically saying the prospect has the ability to play numerous positions. Even legendary Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder wasn't sure as to where he wanted Thomas to play. Initially, Thomas was kept at quarterback, but Snyder quickly realized that the Florida native's arm wasn't quite up to par and that his legs were easily his biggest weapon. Thomas was quickly moved to running back and the rest is history.

No one really knew what to expect from Thomas entering the 2009 season. The Wildcats were a team in rebuilding mode and the junior was playing a position he hadn't had a ton of experience with. Almost instantly, Thomas proved he was perfectly suited as a running back, as he finished 2009 as the Big 12's leading rusher with 1,265 yards. Thomas also racked up 11 total touchdowns for the Wildcats, including a four touchdown game against Texas A&M which ranks as second most in school history.

So far this season, it's been much of the same for the senior. In the season opener for the Wildcats, Thomas embarrassed the same UCLA defense which shutdown Texas last weekend to the tune of 234 yards (8.4 per carry) and two touchdowns. Through Kansas State's first four games, Thomas has racked up 628 yards, which currently is second most in the country behind only Michigan's Denard Robinson.

Nebraska has struggled with the run game this season, so a strong showing for Thomas next Thursday could mean big trouble for the Big Red. The biggest advantage for the Huskers is how dependent Kansas State is on Thomas to lead the offense. The Blackshirts should be able to stack the box and force Kansas State to throw the ball, which is probably going to be the only way to keep Thomas from putting the team on his shoulders and carrying them to victory.

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