K-State senior linebacker Tre Walker said he believes that fellow senior linebacker Blake Slaughter is someone who provides an example of leadership and perseverance to the team.
“Blake is definitely a true testament of a scripture in the Bible that says, ‘The race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but the one that endures to the end,'” Walker said.
Although Slaughter is in just his first year as a full-fledged starter on defense, he is no stranger to the program.
Slaughter, who joined the K-State Wildcats in 2009 as a three-star rated prospect by rivals.com, started four games in 2010 for the team that made the Pinstripe Bowl. He also saw action in all 12 games that year as well as eight in his 2009 freshman campaign.
However, after primarily serving special teams on the 2011 team that won 10 games and went to the Cotton Bowl, Slaughter made a decision the following year that was described by his teammates as “selfless.”
In 2012, the year that saw K-State go 11-1 in the regular season, win the Big 12 title and go to the Fiesta Bowl, Slaughter decided – along with the coaching staff – to redshirt. The decision was made in part because Arthur Brown, who Slaughter is now replacing, was on the team and Slaughter wanted to be able to contribute to this year’s squad.
“I didn’t even think about it until August  when the idea kind of got thrown to me by a teammate and then from there we just kind of ran with it,” Slaughter said. “I heard Coach Snyder was thinking about it too and it just worked out.”
Walker said that while Slaughter’s decision was a tough one for him, it was a selfless act that worked out for the best.
“He set a huge example,” Walker said. “It just showed that it doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re humble and you do the right thing, good things will always happen for you and the players really respected him after he made that decision.”
Wildcats senior safety Ty Zimmerman said that a lot of players would’ve refused to redshirt and instead would have sought out limited action on the special teams units.
“What he did last year with redshirting, not many guys would’ve done that,” Zimmerman said. “A lot of guys would’ve just thrown the towel in, gotten some time on special teams and went on their way. But he realized the big picture and what kind of role he could’ve played this year.”
Though when asked, Slaughter said he doesn’t believe he even took a year off, despite not appearing in a game last season.
“I think last year, I played in a way,” Slaughter said. “I was so into everything that was going on. I was so involved with the sidelines and so in a way I feel like I didn’t take a year off.”
However, Brown’s replacement at middle linebacker also said he realizes re-integrating into game action requires some getting used to.
“At the same time I have to get used to playing long drives, staying out there and making plays in that way,” Slaughter said.
Now Slaughter is back in action this year and is one of the biggest contributors to the Wildcats. Against the UMass Minutemen in Week 3, he lead the team with 10 tackles. Heading into Week 4 against Texas, Slaughter leads the Wildcats with 27 total stops.
So far this year, head coach Bill Snyder said he has been impressed with Slaughter’s play.
“Well, I think Blake is a good leader for us on the field,” Snyder said. “I think his teammates respond to him. I think he’s playing well, there’s some things in his game that he is aware of that need to be improved upon as well. But he works diligently at it. He’s a good teammate. He gives good guidance to his teammates on the field.”
Now heading into the Big 12 season, Slaughter gets to travel back home to his native state to face the Texas Longhorns.
“It’s really special for me,” Slaughter said. “I got a chance to play against them my sophomore year and it was really special then. I’m excited to go down there, I’ll have a bunch of family there. It’ll be a good game.”
Slaughter will certainly be endowed a big portion of the credit for any success K-State has this season on the field. Had he not made the decision to redshirt, the Wildcats would have certainly been far worse off defensively than they are now.