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0 DAYS TO 2021 KICKOFF: Daniel Imatorbhebhe

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In which BracketCat counts down to the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe.

#88 Daniel Imatorbhebhe
While tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe (88) played most recently at Illinois, his heyday came back at USC when he was playing with the likes of Sam Darnold, Michael Pittman Jr. and Ronald Jones II. Here’s hoping today’s game will end like the 2017 Pac-12 Championship pictured here: Stanford lost.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/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.

KICKOFF. Fighting, ever fighting, for a Wildcat Victory! Go State!

#0 Daniel Imatorbhebhe

Redshirt Super Senior (x2) | 6-4 | 240 lbs. | Suwanee, Georgia
Daniel Imatorbhebhe
Daniel Imatorbhebhe
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Tight End
  • Previous Colleges: University of Florida; University of Southern California; University of Illinois
  • Projection: Co-Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Daniel Imatorbhebhe (b. Dec. 9, 1996) is a transfer tight end who’s trying to amass playing time in as many Power 5 conferences as possible. When he suits up today against Stanford, he will add the Big 12 to his collection — SEC (Florida), Pac-12 (USC) and Big Ten (Illinois).

Imatorbhebhe spent the 2020 pandemic season as a graduate transfer at Illinois, playing in five games. Prior to that, he played at USC from 2016 to 2019 following his transfer there after spending 2015 spring practices at Florida. Between USC and Illinois, Imatorbhebhe has played in 29 career games. What’s crazy is that it took him six full seasons to do so.

He originally signed with Florida out of high school and went through spring practices with the Gators prior to transferring to USC in the fall of 2015 and sitting out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Imatorbhebhe played in all 13 games with five starts in his first active collegiate season. He tallied 17 catches for 250 yards and four touchdowns en route to earning second-team Freshman All-American honors from Campus Insiders and honorable mention All-Pac-12 accolades.

Imatorbhebhe set career highs in catches (5) and yards (78) at Washington, which included an 8-yard touchdown. He had two grabs for 45 yards — including a 32-yard score — against Colorado, and also tallied touchdown receptions against Arizona and California.

Imatorbhebhe played in nine games in 2017 with four starts after battling through an early-season injury. His four starts came in the final four games of the season against Colorado, UCLA, Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship and Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

He tallied eight receptions for 144 yards, had a season-high two catches on three occasions, hauled in a career-long reception of 48 yards to help the Trojans to win the Pac-12 Championship and brought in a 14-yard catch in the red zone that led to a USC touchdown in the Cotton Bowl against Ohio State. Alas, that might have been his peak.

Imatorbhebhe sat out the 2018 season with a leg injury, but won USC’s Community Service Award. He then sat out the 2019 season while continuing to recover from that leg injury.

After receiving a medical hardship that gave him back one season, Imatorbhebhe joined his brother, Josh, as a graduate transfer at Illinois after they both transferred from USC.

He played in seven games, hauling in three receptions for 54 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown reception against Purdue. But the pandemic reset his eligibility one more time.

Imatorbhebhe is currently locked in a fierce three-way battle with returning part-time starter Nick Lenners and Sammy Wheeler for the starting nod at tight end today, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter—all three will see lots of playing time in multiple tight end sets in 2021.

Prior to his collegiate sojourn, he played under head coach Bob Sphire at North Gwinnett (Georgia) High School, where he totaled 855 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 63 catches during his prep career.

Imatorbhebhe had a great senior campaign when he had 487 yards and eight scores, picked up all-district honors as a senior, and helped to lead the Bulldogs to the Class AAAAAA state championship game. He also played basketball in high school.

His brother, Josh, was teammates with Daniel at both USC and Illinois, then signed a rookie free agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars prior to the 2021 season.

Imatorbhebhe earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, majoring in economics, in the summer of 2018 from USC. He must be well on his way toward a graduate degree by now.