‘Bring on the Cats’: The story behind K-State Football’s Director of Recruiting

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Captains of the K-State football team shake hands with the captains of the Oklahoma football team before the game on Oct. 25 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group)

Walking along the top floor of the Vanier Football Complex you are bound to hear an energetic “Go Cats!” from someone in their office.

That person is Director of Recruiting Taylor Braet.

Braet is in his 14th year as a member of the Kansas State Football staff, seven of which have been as director of recruiting.

“I came to K-State through networking at Butler Community College,” Braet said. “I interviewed at KU, Oklahoma State and K-State and chose K-State because they had a new coach.”

After being a student assistant coach at Butler Community College under his father and assistant head coach Steve Braet, he joined K-State as a student quality control assistant coach for defense and special teams. Braet said his father taught him to relate to all players because they are all different.

“As the special teams quality control coach, I did scouting reports, helped coordinate practices, met with the special team’s coach and always tried to scout opponents ahead,” Braet said. “Being a people person is something I am good at and was born with.”

When K-State receives a recruit commitment, fans can guarantee a tweet saying “Bring on the Cats” from Braet soon follows.

“I’m not sure how ‘Bring on the Cats’ started. It was really organic and spontaneous and I decided to run with it,” Braet said. “The funniest part of the tweet now is the cat gifs fans post and I try to favorite the one I like the most.”

For Cade Green, junior in organizational management, the tweet completes the recruiting process.

“I really like the tweet,” Green said. “I try and figure out who the commit is after the tweet gets sent.”

Another of Braet’s trademarks is purple shoes — he has 20 different pairs.

“My favorite pair of shoes are my purple running shoes,” Braet said. “My feet have had purple shoes on them for the last two years.”

As director of football recruiting and not an on-field assistant coach, Braet can’t leave campus to visit a recruit. However, as K-State searched for a coach last year, Braet was allowed to hit the road and visit recruits.

“Being on the road was awesome. It was super cool traveling around selling K-State and what we’re all about,” Braet said. “Now I am back in the cat cave and that is a-okay because the coaching staff is out grinding on the road.”

Braet’s enthusiasm for K-State doesn’t hide.

“I don’t know that there is another person on this campus that loves K-State more than him,” Ryan Lackey, director of football communications, said.

An important part of the recruiting process is the visit the prospect makes to the campus. Lackey believes there’s a quality about Braet that helps K-State when hosting visiting recruits.

“[Braet] is very relatable to all kinds of prospective student-athletes, and really anyone that comes in contact with K-State Football,” Lackey said. “It doesn’t matter where that person is from or what their background is [he] is such a people person that he will be able to strike up a conversation and engage with that person from the beginning.”

While Braet is important in helping with the official visits, he believes someone else is more important — the director of on-campus recruiting.

“Kelli Krier is one of the most important people in the building and she doesn’t care about the recognition,” Braet said. “She keeps me calm before visits.”

While being relatable is an important trait for a director of recruiting, there is not one specific way to recruit every prospect.

“The recruiting pitch depends on the kid, they’re all different,” Braet said. “For Kansas prospects, it is the idea of representing your home state and for prospects from a large city is the idea of going to a college town where most of the people in the town are their own age.”

As of Dec. 10, K-State’s recruiting class on Rivals.com is ranked number 42 — the best recruiting class ranking since 2008.

“My favorite memories of working with Taylor is National Signing Days when we all get to the office early in the morning and start receiving signed NLIs,” Lackey said. “It’s fun to see over a year’s worth of work for him and the recruiting staff comes together on that one day.”

The early signing period for football is Dec. 18-20.

“This job keeps me young,” Braet said. “Doing it for great people makes it easy.”

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