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35 MINUS 1 DAYS TO 2021 KICKOFF: Taiten Winkel

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In which BracketCat counts down the 35th day until the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State kicker/punter Taiten Winkel.

#35 Blake Richmeier
Another “35 days to go” post amid a lack of suitable photos, another shot of former K-State linebacker Blake Richmeier (35) tackling a fool...
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

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.

#35 Taiten Winkel

Redshirt Junior | 6-1 | 191 lbs. | Halstead, Kansas
Taiten Winkel
Taiten Winkel
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Kicker/Punter
  • Previous College: Butler Community College
  • Projection: Co-Starter
  • Status: Preferred Walk-On

Taiten Lee Winkel (b. June 21, 1999) is a walk-on defensive back who transferred from Butler Community College to K-State in the spring of 2020. He has three years left to play three.

Winkel redshirted and did not see any game action in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but thanks to the COVID-19 eligibility change, he basically gained back the season.

A two-year letter-winner at Halstead High School, the final year under head coach Jason Grider, he holds the record for the longest field goal made in school history, while he averaged 42 yards per punt for the Dragons, and also lettered in soccer and basketball.

Winkel then played two seasons under head coach Tim Shaffner at Butler, where he punted 49 times for a 38.7-yard average as a sophomore en route to second-team all-conference honors. He saw 15 of his 49 punts land inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and 11 fair caught.

Winkel helped the Grizzlies to earn a 10-3 record and a victory in the Midwest Classic Bowl.

He had a season-best 57.8-yard average on five attempts at Iowa Western, which featured a 76-yard punt, and also a 51.0-yard average against Highland thanks in part to a 74-yard punt.

Winkel also was true on a 30-yard field goal against Snow College and punted in one game in 2018. His two longest punts ranked second and longest in school history, respectively.

Winkel played at Butler with fellow current Wildcats Hillard Cozine, Dawson Delforge and Ty Zentner, as well as former K-Staters Parker Bruce and the late Derick Newton.

He is majoring in kinesiology and enters the 2021 season vying with Zentner for both field-goal kicking and kickoff duties (I predict they will split difference), while also being in contention with returning starters Zentner and Jack Blumer for the main punting position.