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20 DAYS TO 2018 KICKOFF: Denzel Goolsby

In which BracketCat counts down the 20th day until the 2018 kickoff with a profile of defensive back Denzel Goolsby.

#20 Denzel Goolsby
Denzel Goolsby (20) stepped up big last season as a starter. Now he will be counted on to provide leadership in a secondary that lost D.J. Reed to the NFL Draft while Kendall Adams continues to recover.
Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

#20 Denzel Goolsby

Redshirt Junior | 5-11 | 200 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 made a successful transition from wide receiver to safety at the beginning of his redshirt freshman campaign and who now serves as one of 15 player representatives.

He is one of 42 players nationally on the preseason Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list and will look to continue his starting duties at strong safety in 2018.

Goolsby also transitioned from running back to wide receiver during his redshirt season in 2015. He switched again from the offensive side to safety at the beginning of 2016.

That 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 started every game in 2017, finishing third on the team with 78 tackles to go along with two tackles for loss, a sack, four pass breakups and two interceptions. He recorded a forced fumble and two recoveries, the latter tying for first in the Big 12 and 26th nationally.

Goolsby was named the Cactus Bowl Defensive MVP as he recorded a timely forced fumble and recovery, setting up a short field and K-State’s go-ahead touchdown en route to a victory over UCLA. He also registered five tackles, including one for loss, against the Bruins.

Goolsby recorded his first-career interception against Oklahoma when he ripped the ball away from the receiver in the end zone and came away with another against West Virginia.

He carded a career-high 12 tackles against Oklahoma, while he had 11 at Texas and eight against Iowa State.

Goolsby picked up his first career sack in the season opener against Central Arkansas and earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors lining up opposite Kendall Adams at safety.

He also continues an underrated, but tough-nosed family pipeline at K-State.

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 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, and 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.