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19 DAYS TO 2021 KICKOFF: Ross Elder

In which BracketCat counts down the 19th day until the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State defensive back Ross Elder.

#19 Ross Elder
Injuries and COVID protocols forced walk-on defensive back Ross Elder (19) into an unexpected starting safety position in 2020, but he is not currently projected to retain that spot due to the talented transfers brought in this last offseason.
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.

#19 Ross Elder

Redshirt Senior | 6-1 | 192 lbs. | Kansas City, Missouri
Ross Elder
Ross Elder
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Third-String
  • Status: On Scholarship

Ross Everett Elder (b. March 31, 1999) is a former walk-on defensive back who featured on multiple special teams units over his first two years and broke through as a starter in 2021.

Elder redshirted in 2017 and played in 11 games in 2018, tying for fourth on the team with four special teams tackles. Three of his tackles came on kickoff coverage.

Elder also played in a reserve role on defense against UTSA, when he broke up a pass.

He played in all 13 games in 2019 as a regular member of the special teams, making tackles on kickoff coverage against TCU and Kansas.

Elder saw action in nine games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with seven starts at safety, the first starts of his career.

He totaled 41 tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup during last season.

Elder registered a career-high six tackles in four different games, including the Baylor contest in which he tallied his first career tackle for loss.

He also had five stops against Texas Tech and carded his first career pass breakup at TCU.

Elder earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2018, 2019 and 2020. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from K-State in May 2021 and now is pursuing his master’s degree in business administration.

Elder lettered two seasons under head coach and former Wildcat Tony Severino at Rockhurst High School, including his senior year in 2016, when the Hawklets went 9-3 and reached the state semifinals.

He totaled 90 tackles, five blocked kicks and two interception-return touchdowns during his prep career.

Elder also earned first-team all-state honors as a senior, in addition to being named to The Kansas City Star All-Metro team, and lettered two years in track and field, picking up all-state honors in the 4x100 and 4x200, and two years in basketball.

His father, Todd, was a wide receiver for the Wildcats from 1984 to 1986, while Elder’s uncle, Eddie, played basketball at K-State from 1983 to 1985 and ranks highly in school history in several statistical categories.