#22 Dante Barnett
Position: Defensive Back
Previous College: None
Status: On Scholarship
Dante Barnett (b. June 14, 1993) is a dynamic defensive back who made two starts late in his redshirt freshman campaign before starting every game in 2013. He ranks second among active Wildcats with 99 career tackles.
Barnett, who has been voted a player representative for the 2014 season, saw action mainly on special teams to begin his true freshman year after grayshirting, but was called upon to start during the final two games in 2012.
He appeared in all 13 games in 2012, including starts against Baylor and Texas; registered 24 tackles, including one for a loss; and broke up two passes. But amid all that good, there was one night of horrible, unmitigated bad.
Although Barnett notched a career-best 14 tackles at Baylor, they came for one major reason: Nick Florence and his receivers picked on our man like a jock picking on a fat kid. He was torched — early, often, repeatedly, mercilessly.
Barnett followed that up that difficult life lesson with four stops against the Longhorns, came away with two tackles against Texas Tech, and had one each against Missouri State, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
All of that experience proved invaluable in 2013, when Barnett took over as the starting strong safety, started all 13 games, ranked third on the team in tackles with 75 and led the squad with four interceptions.
Barnett also carded 109 interception-return yards to rank eighth in school history and second in the Big 12. He ended the year on fire, totaling 32 tackles (one for loss), three INTs and a fumble recovery in his final four games.
He subsequently was named the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Defensive MVP after carding eight tackles and returning an interception 51 yards to set up K-State's final touchdown against the beleaguered Michigan defense.
That performance followed a two-interception game at Kansas during the regular-season finale to tie a K-State season high and also tie for the sixth-most in a game in school history.
He led the team in tackles against Louisiana (9), while he registered a season-high 12 stops against Oklahoma.
Prior to arriving at K-State, Barnett recorded a ridiculous 100 tackles and nine interceptions on his way to earning second-team all-state honors as a senior in 2010 at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Okla.
Barnett also hauled in 10 touchdowns as a wide receiver. He recorded 101 tackles and collected nine interceptions as a junior, and also caught 32 passes for 775 yards and six touchdowns.
He led Booker T. Washington to a 13-1 record and a state championship in 2010-11, and was a high school teammate of current Wildcat Tyler Lockett. He originally was recruited as an athlete.
Barnett might have had an extremely tough first start, but defensive backs have a history of this sort of thing under Bill Snyder. When they grayshirt, they've already had two offseasons under their belts by their freshman years.
Then they are thrown into the fire. Barnett certainly was. But it worked for Thomas Ferguson, Marcus Watts and Ty Zimmerman, didn't it? Now Barnett gets to follow in their footsteps as a team leader in 2014 and 2015.