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20 DAYS TO 2017 KICKOFF: Denzel Goolsby

In which BracketCat counts down the 20th day until the 2017 kickoff with a profile of defensive back Denzel Goolsby.

#20 Denzel Goolsby
Denzel Goolsby (20) debuted on the playing field last season mainly on special teams, but he’s already lining up as the starting safety opposite Kendall Adams during fall camp. Quite the rise!
Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

#20 Denzel Goolsby

Redshirt Sophomore | 5-11 | 192 lbs. | Wichita, Kansas
Denzel Goolsby
Denzel Goolsby
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Denzel Christopher Goolsby (b. Jan. 25, 1997) is a young, athletic player who transitioned from running back to wide receiver during his redshirt season in 2015. He switched again from the offensive side of the ball to safety at the beginning of his redshirt freshman campaign.

Last season, Goolsby played in all 13 games, primarily on special teams, and finished second on the team with 10 special teams tackles, including a team-best five on punt coverage.

He totaled a career-high four tackles at TCU, carded a pair of stops at Iowa State and picked up second-team Academic All-Big 12 honors.

Goolsby, who will contend for playing time at safety in 2017 while continuing his support on special teams, continues an underrated, but tough-nosed family pipeline at K-State. He currently is lining up opposite Kendall Adams at a starting safety position.

Goolsby has two cousins who played football at K-State — Jarard Milo, a starting safety on the Big 12 Championship team who lettered in 2011 and 2012, and Brian Goolsby, a popular fullback who lettered from 1995 to 1998.

A third cousin, DeAndre Goolsby, is a senior tight end at Florida and a former K-State recruit who I once hoped might be a candidate to transfer back home once the coach who recruited him, Will Muschamp, was no longer there. Alas, this did not occur.

A four-year starter for Bishop Carroll High School under head coach Alan Schuckman, Denzel Goolsby was named the 2014 Gatorade Kansas Football Player of the Year and American Family Insurance All-USA Kansas Offensive Player of the Year.

He rushed for 1,641 yards and 31 touchdowns to go with 251 receiving yards and seven scores as a senior, helping the Eagles to earn a perfect 13-0 record and a Class 5A state championship. Goolsby also was dangerous in the return game in 2014, when he scored five touchdowns on 13 punt returns and one touchdown on his only kickoff return.

He was named one of the top 11 players in the state and to the All-Class 5A teams by The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle. He also was named a first-team All-Metro performer by the Eagle.

Goolsby was rated the fourth-best player in the state by Scout, was named as one of the top 12 players in the state by the Kansas Football Coaches Association and to the organization’s all-state Class 5A team, and won the Barry Sanders High School Male Athlete of the Year award.

He rushed for 495 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior, despite missing three games due to injury. In all, Goolsby helped Bishop Carroll to go 47-2 during his four-year career, with two state championships (in 2012 and 2014). In addition to football, he also ran track, placing second in the state in 2012 in the 4x100 and third in the 4x400.