Disclaimer: As the 2020 football season still is “technically” scheduled to proceed as planned in Manhattan, with the recent delay of our season opener until Sept. 12 against Arkansas State, we will reset and continue this Countdown for just a little bit longer...
True Sophomore | 5-10 | 181 lbs. | Tampa, Florida
- Position: Wide Receiver
- Previous College: None
- Projection: Starter
- Status: On Scholarship
Joshua Leo Youngblood (b. Jan. 26, 2001) is a talented wide receiver and special teams standout from Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Florida, who is majoring in business administration.
After just one season, Youngblood already has three career kickoff return touchdowns to rank fourth in K-State history, tie for seventh in Big 12 history and rank second among active players. He enters 2020 as our top kick and punt returner, and a likely starting slot receiver.
Youngblood played in all 13 games in 2019 as both a wide receiver, where he made three starts, and as one of the best kickoff returners in the country.
He returned a nation-leading three kickoff returns for touchdowns en route to being named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, earning All-America honors from ESPN, second-team All-American accolades from CBS Sports and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), and Freshman All-American honors from the FWAA and The Athletic.
Youngblood was the first true freshman in Big 12 Conference history to earn the league’s top honor on offense, defense or special teams and he also became the first K-State true freshman with first- or second-team All-American honors since Tyler Lockett in 2011.
He also picked up first-team All-Big 12 honors as a kick returner from the league’s coaches and as an all-purpose player from the Associated Press — the first true freshman Wildcat to be named to the Big 12 first team since the league’s inception in 1996.
Youngblood finished third in Big 12 history and fourth in K-State history with his three kickoff return scores, and was first in the Big 12 with a 35.9-yard average, a mark that would have led the nation and set a school record if he had two more attempts to meet the NCAA-required minimum.
He had his first kickoff return touchdown at Texas, a 98-yarder, and finished out the regular season with a 100-yard return at Texas Tech and a 93-yarder against Iowa State, the latter on the game’s opening kickoff, also earning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors following both contests.
Youngblood was the first Wildcat to return an opening kickoff for a touchdown since Morgan Burns in 2015 and he became the first true freshman in the nation with two kickoff returns of at least 98 yards since USC’s Adoree’ Jackson also went 98 and 100 yards in 2014.
He teamed with Malik Knowles to become the first pair of freshman teammates to have kickoff return touchdowns in the same season since 2016 (Memphis), and finished the year with nine receptions for 73 yards and 11 rushes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Youngblood had a season-high three catches for 14 yards in K-State’s win over No. 5 Oklahoma, a game that featured his 4-yard touchdown run on an end-around.
He also rushed three times for 26 yards against Iowa State.
A four-year letter-winner for the Buccaneers under head coach Dominick Ciao, Youngblood was regarded as the 75th-best athlete in the Class of 2019 by ESPN.
He was an honorable mention pick for The Tampa Bay Times’ All-Tampa Bay team, while the organization named him a second-team utility player among Hillsborough County preps.
Youngblood rushed for 2,221 yards and 26 touchdowns over his junior and senior seasons, to go along with 419 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns on 22 catches over his sophomore and senior campaigns.
He returned 16 kickoffs during his career for a 19.1-yard average and also played quarterback as a junior and senior, throwing for 1,056 yards and 13 touchdowns on 79-of-161 aim.
Youngblood led Berkeley Prep to the regional final of the state playoffs as a senior and also lettered two years in basketball, earning defensive player of the year honors.
He was the first prep player out of the state of Florida to sign with the Wildcats since 2009.
Youngblood picked K-State over a long list of offers from Air Force, Akron, Appalachian State, Army, Boston College, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Campbell, Central Arkansas, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, The Citadel, Connecticut, Cornell, Dartmouth, East Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, Elon, Florida Atlantic, Fordham, Furman, Gardner-Webb, Georgia Southern, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, Liberty, Marshall, Massachusetts, Mercer, Middle Tennessee State, Minnesota, Murray State, Navy, North Dakota State, Rhode Island, Samford, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Toledo, USF, Western Carolina, Western Kentucky and Wofford, as well as interest from Purdue, Rutgers and UCLA. He previously was committed to Temple.