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97 DAYS TO 2021 KICKOFF: Nate Matlack

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In which BracketCat counts down the 97th day until the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State defensive end Nate Matlack.

#97 Adam Davis
Redshirt freshman Nate Matlack will follow in the footsteps of other athletic defensive ends who have worn numbers in the 90s, such as Adam Davis (97) before he switched to No. 50.
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

NOTE: Kansas State has elected to advance players’ classification even though the 2020 season did not affect eligibility. Those who wish to take advantage of this extra year will be listed as a (“super”) senior again after their original eligibility would have been exhausted.

#97 Nate Matlack

Redshirt Freshman | 6-4 | 238 lbs. | Olathe, Kansas
Nate Matlack
Nate Matlack
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive End
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Scout Team
  • Status: On Scholarship

Nate Matlack (b. March 12, 2002) is a promising young defensive end who some recruiting services indicated was the most talented and athletic prospect in K-State’s Class of 2020.

He redshirted and did not see any game action in 2020. With a deep defensive end pool ahead of him on the depth chart (Felix Anudike, Bronson Massie, Reed Godinet, Spencer Trussell, Khalid Duke, Kirmari Gainous and more), that situation also could repeat in 2021.

(Although Matlack did deliver what probably was the defensive highlight of the 2021 spring game when he dropped into coverage and picked off QB Will Howard in the scrimmage.)

Matlack picked K-State over offers from Air Force, Boise State, Illinois State, Kansas, Northern Illinois, Syracuse, TCU and Texas Tech, as well as interest from Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Rutgers, Southern Illinois, UCLA and Wisconsin. His primary recruiter was defensive ends coach Buddy Wyatt, with help from former defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton and quarterbacks coach Collin Klein.

Matlack, who played for Olathe High School East under head coach Jesse Owen, was rated the 30th-best weakside defensive end in the Class of 2020 by 247Sports, while he was viewed as the fifth-best prospect in the state of Kansas by ESPN and No. 6 by Rivals.

According to 247Sports, he is the third-highest-rated defensive end the Wildcats have ever signed. Sports in Kansas described Matlack, who has 4.6 to 4.7 speed with a 41-inch vertical jump, as “one of the biggest freak athletes in high school football in Kansas.”

A first-team senior all-state performer by The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle, Matlack helped to lead the Hawks to a 7-3 record and a trip to the state playoffs in 2019.

He prepped with current K-State tight end Andrew Sonner and signed with the Wildcats during the early signing period in December 2019.

Asked about the impact of Matlack’s joining the 2020 class early, K-State head coach Chris Klieman said it was “huge. Nate has been a catalyst for Taylor Braet and continuing to bring in other guys in the fold and communicating with them through social media.”

Klieman also had high praise for the Matlacks: “Nate’s a tremendous football player, a better kid from a great family. They love K-State and want to be a part of K-State. We need guys from the state of Kansas, from Kansas City specifically. We need guys that want to be a part of K-State football because there are such great players in that region, as well as the state.”