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77 DAYS TO 2021 KICKOFF: Carver Willis

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In which BracketCat counts down the 77th day until the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State offensive lineman Carver Willis.

#77 Nick Kaltmayer
Nick Kaltmayer’s (77) graduation opened the door for freshman offensive lineman Carver Willis, who played but redshirted in 2020, to inherit his No. 77 jersey.
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via 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.

#77 Carver Willis

Redshirt Freshman | 6-5 | 287 lbs. | Durango, Colorado
Carver Willis
Carver Willis
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Offensive Line
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Third-String
  • Status: On Scholarship

Carver Michael Willis (b. April 20, 2002) is a promising, athletic offensive lineman with good feet and technique who arrived early for spring camp, played, and redshirted in 2020.

Willis, who is majoring in business, saw action in four games last season as a reserve offensive lineman, playing left tackle against Texas Tech, TCU, Iowa State and Texas.

He was one of nine true freshmen to play for the Wildcats in 2020, but the only one along the offensive line.

Willis helped the Wildcats to tie for first in the Big 12 and 27th nationally in sacks allowed (14), while K-State led the Big 12 and ranked fourth in the nation in red zone offense (93.9%).

“We saw the physicality in film, and we wanted to see the athleticism,” head coach Chris Klieman said of Willis. “The athleticism was there in camp and that was the big thing that we needed to see — the ability to take his steps and the ability to move his feet. You could tell he was a technician. Once we saw him do those things, we felt pretty comfortable.”

Willis played under head coach David Vogt at Durango High School, where he was rated the 86th-best offensive tackle in the nation and the seventh-best player in the state of Colorado in the Class of 2020 by 247Sports.

He earned honorable mention all-state honors as a junior in 2018 for the Demons before picking up first-team honors as a senior after helping Durango to earn an 8-4 record and a trip to the state quarterfinals as a senior, and he also lettered in basketball.

Willis chose the Wildcats over offers from Colorado State, Kansas, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado and Wyoming, as well as interest from Baylor, Indiana and Texas Tech.

His primary recruiters were offensive line coach Conor Riley and quarterbacks coach (and fellow Colorado native) Collin Klein.