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34 DAYS TO 2017 KICKOFF: Tanner Wood

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In which BracketCat counts down the 34th day until the 2017 kickoff with a profile of defensive end Tanner Wood.

#34 Tanner Wood
After posting exactly 34 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks in each of the past two seasons, it’s time for Tanner Wood (34) to break through as a full-time starter as a senior in 2017.
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

#34 Tanner Wood

Redshirt Senior | 6-5 | 260 lbs. | Conway Springs, Kansas
Tanner Wood
Tanner Wood
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive End
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Tanner Joe Wood (b. Nov. 11, 1994) is an athletic player who broke into the playing rotation at defensive end and improved throughout his junior campaign. He will look to take hold of a starting spot as a senior in 2017.

Wood, who obtained a degree in animal sciences and industry from Kansas State in May 2017, redshirted in 2013 and played in all 13 games in 2014, mainly on special teams. He carded one tackle each against Stephen F. Austin and UTEP, while he had half a tackle for loss against the Lumberjacks.

In 2015, Wood played in all 13 games as a reserve defensive end and on special teams. He recorded 34 tackles, four tackles for loss, his first two career sacks (one against South Dakota) and a pass breakup.

Wood set a career high with six tackles against Oklahoma and backed that up with five stops at Texas. He also had five tackles at Texas Tech and set a career high with 1.5 tackles for loss against Oklahoma.

Last season, Wood again played in all 13 games, including starts against Kansas and TCU. For the second straight year, he finished with exactly 34 tackles, four tackles for loss and a pair of sacks, as statistically improbable as that seems.

Wood also forced two fumbles in 2016. He tied his career high with six tackles at Baylor, a game in which he forced a critical fumble near the K-State goal line; carded five stops at TCU; tallied a career-high two tackles for loss at Stanford; and had a sack against Florida Atlantic, and half a sack each against Baylor and Kansas.

Wood, who I expect to continue to be a major part of the four-man rotation at defensive end this upcoming season, is a performance freak of nature.

Exhibit A: In 2012, he set a Kansas high school state record — and the third-best single-game rushing yardage total in national high school history — with a 659-yard, nine-TD effort in Conway Springs’ 84-56 win over Chaparral.

That’s just insane, folks. And Wood didn’t do it with speed, but with brute strength and raw willpower. I don’t care if the competition is perhaps a little sub-par at the Class 3A level. That’s an impressive feat against tackling dummies.

He was named the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and an All-American honorable mention selection by Parade Magazine after recording 2,709 rushing yards, 43 touchdowns and 110 tackles during his senior season.

A four-year letter-winner under head coach Matt Biehler who helped to lead the Cardinals to a combined record of 45-5 during his high school career, Wood was ranked by Rivals as the No. 2 player in the state of Kansas in 2012.

He also was named to The Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com 2012 Top 11 teams, and was an All-Class 3A first-team performer at running back by VarsityKansas.com and at linebacker by the Capital-Journal as a senior.

Wood was chosen to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl after being named a first-team All-Central Plains League performer as a running back and linebacker in 2012.

An all-state pick at linebacker as a junior, he led Conway Springs to a 13-1 record and a Kansas Class 3A state championship in 2011. Wood also tallied 88 tackles and three interceptions during his junior campaign.

Wood also was a high school standout in basketball and track and field. He earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors in each of the last three seasons.