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2 DAYS TO 2021 KICKOFF: Russ Yeast

In which BracketCat counts down the second day until the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State defensive back Russ Yeast.

#6 Russ Yeast
“Super senior” defensive back Russ Yeast (6) saw playing time in 45 games at Louisville with 29 starts, including 11 starts in each of his final two years for the Cardinals. Here’s to 15 more in ’21!
Photo by Andy Lyons/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. 2: UNSELFISHNESS. There is no “I” in TEAM.

#2 Russ Yeast

True Super Senior | 5-10 | 195 lbs. | Danville, Kentucky
Russ Yeast
Russ Yeast
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Previous College: University of Louisville
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Craig Russell Yeast II (b. May 8, 1999) is a veteran transfer defensive back who saw playing time in 45 games at Louisville with 29 starts, including 11 starts in each of his final two years for the Cardinals. He is slated to make his first start at cornerback for K-State on Saturday.

Yeast played in 12 games with seven starts as a true freshman in 2017, and he registered a season-high five tackles at both NC State and Wake Forest. He totaled three tackles and a pass breakup as a starter in the TaxSlayer Bowl against Mississippi State.

Yeast also broke up a pass against Boston College and returned punts in five different games, including the Murray State contest, in which he totaled 24 return yards.

He saw action in 11 games at cornerback in 2018 and also returned kickoffs in a pair of games, set career highs with 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack against Kentucky, and returned two kickoffs for 45 yards against North Carolina State.

Yeast started the first 11 games of the 2019 season before an injury forced him to miss the final two games, but he still came away with a career-high 11 tackles against Boston College a week prior to setting another career high with two pass breakups at Wake Forest.

He also recorded his first career interception against Clemson, had a tackle for loss and pass breakup against Eastern Kentucky, tallied eight tackles at Florida State and seven stops in the season opener against Notre Dame, and forced a pair of fumbles at NC State.

Yeast again started all 11 games in 2020, primarily at safety, and came away with a season-high seven tackles at Pittsburgh and against Virginia Tech, the latter in which he also tallied half a tackle for loss. He broke up passes against Notre Dame, Florida State and Syracuse.

Yeast also forced and recovered a fumble in the season opener against Western Kentucky, while he had another fumble recovery at Boston College. Because of COVID-19, this season did not “count” against his eligibility and he transferred to K-State without having to sit out.

This makes Yeast that rarest form of “super senior” who did not ever redshirt or sustain a significant season-ending injury. He definitely will bring a veteran presence this season.

Yeast prepped under head coach Eric Moore at Center Grove High School in Indiana, where he was rated the third-best player in the state of Indiana for the Class of 2017 by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. He was viewed as one of the top 250 prospects nationally in the Class of 2017 by Rivals, while the organization rated him the 21st-best athlete in the class.

Yeast played in and was selected as a captain for the 2017 Under Armour Game, a contest in which he totaled two tackles; was named the IndyScout Player of the Year; and earned first-team all-state accolades and was named Indiana Player of the Year by USA TODAY Sports.

He also was named the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year, an all-state performer according to the Indiana Associated Press and a runner-up for Indiana’s Mr. Football award.

Yeast rushed for 1,525 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior, in addition to hauling in 32 catches for 602 yards and eight scores. He also tallied 251 kickoff-return yards and 175 punt-return yards, and led the Trojans to a 12-2 mark and a trip to the state championship.

Yeast played his sophomore and junior seasons for his father, Craig, at Fremont Ross (Ohio) High School, while he played at Columbian (Ohio) High School as a freshman.

Yeast’s father, Craig, is the head football coach at Kentucky Wesleyan University and his mother, Tori (Tillman) Yeast, was a women’s basketball player at the University of Kentucky.

Craig Yeast Sr. also played collegiately at Kentucky, leaving with a Southeastern Conference-record 208 receptions with 2,899 yards and 28 touchdowns.

He was a fourth-round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and played nine seasons in the National Football League (Bengals, New York Jets), Canadian Football League (Hamilton, Saskatchewan) and AF2 (arena league).