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20 MINUS 15 DAYS TO 2019 KICKOFF: Denzel Goolsby

In which BracketCat counts down the fifth day until the 2019 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State defensive back Denzel Goolsby.

#20 Denzel Goolsby
Denzel Goolsby (20) enters his final season as a returning starter at safety and one of the primary leaders on the team. Hoping for a great coda!
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

#20 Denzel Goolsby

Redshirt Senior | 5-11 | 204 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 a team captain, two-year starter, and primary leader.

He was one of 42 players nationally on the preseason Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list in 2018 and is an American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team nominee in 2019 after earning his bachelor’s degree in professional strategic selling in May 2019.

(He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in business administration and also is a candidate for the Danny Wuerffel Trophy.)

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.

Goolsby played in all 13 games in 2016, 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 saw action in nine games in 2018, with seven starts, finishing seventh on the team with 36 tackles, and also had two pass breakups.

Goolsby carded a season-high seven tackles against Oklahoma State, while he had six at Iowa State and five against Mississippi State, as well as pass breakups against Texas Tech and Iowa State en route to being named a first-team Academic All-Big 12 performer.

He also continued 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, played tight end at Florida and was a former K-State recruit who I once hoped might be a candidate to transfer back home, but this didn’t 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 KFCA’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 high school 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.