Defensive tackle recruiting in the Class of 2023 has been a little slow off the ground thus far for Kansas State. They were blown away by Martin Owusu on a visit in April, but he went on a run of offers and ultimately committed to Minnesota.
DK Kalu is a legitimate target who will be officially visiting in June.
A newer target is Naperville, Illinois native TJ McMillen. He picked up an offer from the Wildcats earlier this week.
“I was very excited about it,” McMillen said. “I’ve been talking with Coach [Joe] Klanderman for months now. He came to see us work out and do field workouts. We have kept in touch on a regular basis. It was great meeting Coach [Mike] Tuiasosopo [yesterday]too. “
The latter assistant is the one that extended a scholarship to the Chicago-area junior.
“Tuiasosopo said he loves the way I play and how hard I play the game each play,” McMillen shared. “He said one of my best attributes is being a coach’s kid. My father is my high school coach.”
“Coach Tuiasosopo was very easy to talk to,” he added. “We went over some of their defensive stuff and he likes my knowledge of the game. I enjoyed our talk and getting to know him.”
Klanderman mines the state of Illinois for K-State and has spearheaded his recruitment.
“We have a good relationship and talk about every week or every other week,” McMillen discussed. “We’ve had a lot of personal talks about things we like, my basketball season, my baseball season and talks about my brother (Bobby). He played at Iowa State and is now the linebackers coach at New Mexico State. I enjoy my talks with [Klanderman]. “
Though he’s seen above as a center, we’ve already alluded to it but he’s a target on the interior of the defensive line for the Wildcats.
“That’s the interesting part of my recruiting,” McMillen pointed out. “Some see me as a center and some see me as a defensive tackle. About an even split with my recruiting so far on where they want to see me.”
“I really don’t have a preference,” he continued. “I want to play at a school where I fit into their scheme and if I like the school. And I feel it’s a good fit. I’ll play wherever they feel I will be most successful in their schemes.”
The next step in McMillen’s recruitment is narrowing down his list of over 30 schools who have offered him.
“My plan is to get through this evaluation period and start trying to narrow some things down and start planning some visits,” he revealed. “Being a three-sport athlete limits how many trips I’ve been able to take, so I need to sit down with my parents and plan some trips.”
Seeing Manhattan will be a priority.
“I haven’t visited Kansas State yet,” McMillen confirmed. “That is one trip I have to plan for sure. Most of my visits have been pretty local so far.”
“I know they are a program with great history and success,” he continued. “I know it’s hard to play in Manhattan. My brother told me that. And I like what I have heard from the coaches about their defense and what they like to do.”
He is hoping to commit near the start of his high school season this Fall.