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4 DAYS TO 2021 KICKOFF: Malik Knowles

In which BracketCat counts down the fourth day until the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State wide receiver Malik Knowles.

#4 Malik Knowles
An up-and-down sophomore season culminated in Malik Knowles (4) turning on the jets with his best two performances in the final two games of 2020. All K-State fans surely hope he will maintain and build on that momentum entering 2021.
Photo by Peter 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.

Goal No. 4: IMPROVE. Every day... as a player, person and student.

#4 Malik Knowles

Redshirt Junior | 6-3 | 195 lbs. | Mansfield, Texas
Malik Knowles
Malik Knowles
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Malik Jarnell Knowles (b. Aug. 17, 2000) is an athletic, dynamic wide receiver who is just the second player in K-State history with touchdowns of at least 70 yards on a run (2020 at Baylor — 75 yards), catch (2020 at Texas — 70 yards) and kickoff return (2020 at Mississippi State — 100 yards) in a career, joining Brandon Banks (2008-09).

Knowles saw time in four games in 2018, with a start against Texas Tech, but still was able to preserve his redshirt. All in all, he hauled in 10 catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

Knowles’ 10 catches were the most by a K-State true freshman since Tyler Lockett in 2011.

His first career touchdown was a 21-yarder at TCU, while he hauled in an 8-yarder against Texas Tech. The game against the Red Raiders also featured career highs in receptions (5) and yards (56).

Knowles’ score at TCU was a career-long catch, while he also returned a kickoff for 12 yards against the Horned Frogs. This, as it turns out, would be a harbinger of things to come...

Despite battling nagging injuries all year and adapting to a new coaching staff, Knowles played in 11 games in 2019 with eight starts, hauling in 27 receptions for 397 yards and three touchdowns to rank second on the team in each category.

He earned votes for Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors from the league’s coaches and finished third in school history in receiving yards among freshmen, while he was tied for fourth in catches.

Knowles hauled in a 70-yard touchdown reception at Texas — the longest by a Wildcat in Big 12 Conference play in two years — as part of a 94-yard receiving day.

He set career highs with 99 yards and two touchdowns against Bowling Green.

Knowles, who is majoring in social sciences, returned six kickoffs for 222 yards and a touchdown in 2019, highlighted by his return of a fourth-quarter kickoff 100 yards for a score at Mississippi State en route to Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

Knowles returned a kickoff 52 yards in the 2019 Liberty Bowl, the longest kickoff return in K-State bowl history, and also rushed seven times for 70 yards on the year.

He entered the 2020 season as a member of the watch list for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, which is given annually to the top collegiate player with Texas ties.

Knowles started nine games in 2020 and shined over the final two contests, including when he set a career high with six catches against Texas, while he tied his career high with a pair of receiving touchdowns in the same game.

He hauled in 13 receptions for 204 yards and three touchdowns on the season, while he rushed six times for 100 yards and one score.

Knowles also returned 11 kickoffs for 203 yards, finished sixth in the Big 12 in kickoff-return average and took a jet sweep 75 yards for a touchdown at Baylor, which was tied for the 11th-longest run in school history and which also was the second longest by a wide receiver.

He also scored on a 35-yard reception just before halftime at West Virginia.

Knowles prepped under head coach Kirk Thor at Lake Ridge (Texas) High School, where he collected 40 receptions for 846 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior en route to first-team All-District 10-5A accolades, and also participated in track and field in high school.

He helped the Eagles to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2017 Texas Class 5A D1 state playoffs, including a 113-yard, three-touchdown performance in his final high school game.