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19 DAYS TO 2022 KICKOFF: Sammy Wheeler

In which BracketCat counts down the 19th day until the 2022 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State tight end Sammy Wheeler.

#19 Sammy Wheeler
Sammy Wheeler (19) continued his transition from quarterback to tight end in 2020 with decent success, netting his first start and his first career touchdown. 2021 represented another big step forward for him, but to become elite in 2022, he needs to eliminate crucial drops such as the catch he should have had in the end zone against Baylor.
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.

#19 Sammy Wheeler

Redshirt Senior | 6-5 | 241 lbs. | Lenexa, Kansas
Sammy Wheeler
Sammy Wheeler
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Tight End
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Samuel Joseph “Sammy” Wheeler (b. May 18, 1999) was a young QB who originally signed with K-State as part of the 2017 class, but deferred his enrollment until the spring of 2018.

A prototypical dual-threat quarterback, Wheeler redshirted in 2018 and was a co-winner of the team’s Red Raider Award as the top contributor on the scout squad as a quarterback.

But that was then (Snyder 2.0) and this is now (Klieman). The new coaching staff moved Wheeler to tight end during spring practices in 2019 and he saw time in seven games before an injury cut his season short, finishing with four catches for 78 yards on the season.

Wheeler registered a career-high two catches at Oklahoma, while he had a 39-yard reception on the first play after a weather delay at Oklahoma State. He also earned second-team Academic All-Big 12 honors.

Wheeler played in seven games during the pandemic-shortened 2021 season, including his first career start in K-State’s win at No. 3 Oklahoma.

He hauled in seven receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown on the year, and set a career high with three receptions at West Virginia, while he had a career-long catch of 58 yards against Oklahoma State.

Wheeler, who scored his first career touchdown on a 16-yard catch against Kansas, finished the season as a first-team Academic All-Big 12 performer and then earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from K-State in May 2021. (He’s currently working on his MBA now.)

He entered the 2021 season firmly ensconced in a three-man situational mix at the tight end position with Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Nick Lenners but soon emerged as a primary threat.

Wheeler saw time in all 13 games last season, with starts against TCU and Kansas, and set new career highs in both catches (15) and yards (151).

He tallied three catches against West Virginia to tie his career high, which included a 35-yard reception on 4th and 8 to help to seal the win, while his game against the Mountaineers featured his second career touchdown catch on a 4-yard pass.

Wheeler also had three receptions the next week against Baylor (although he dropped a sure touchdown in the end zone that would have been a huge boost) and again earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 accolades following the season.

He projects as the top returning tight end but will have to vie with Ben Sinnott for catches.

Wheeler prepped under head coach Tom Radke at St. James Academy in Lenexa, where he was rated the nation’s 39th-best dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2017 by ESPN and the sixth-best player in the state of Kansas by Scout.

He completed his career by throwing for 1,596 yards and 16 touchdowns on 121-of-274 aim, and he had a great senior season in which he tossed 13 touchdowns and threw for 1,187 yards en route to honorable mention all-league honors.

Wheeler also rushed for 634 career yards and five touchdowns, and was a member of the track and field team, participating in the high jump. He picked the Wildcats over an offer from Missouri Southern State and interest from Wyoming.

Worth noting: Wheeler’s father, Sean, and uncle, Mike, both were wide receivers on Bill Snyder’s first K-State team in 1989.