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. 8: ENTHUSIASM.
#8 Ty Zentner
Redshirt Super Senior | 6-2 | 200 lbs. | Topeka, Kansas
- Position: Punter/Kicker
- Previous College: Butler Community College
- Projection: Starter
- Status: On Scholarship
Tyler Jeffrey Zentner (b. June 7, 1998) is a triple threat of a punter, place-kicker and kickoff specialist who transferred in from Butler Community College and obtained his bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from K-State in May. (He’s now a graduate student.)
“Legatron” enters the 2022 season on the Ray Guy Award watch list with a 42.5-yard punting average, which would rank fourth in school history if he had seven more attempts to reach the required minimum. It seems like a near certainty that he will attain that mark this year if he continues on his current course, as you will see from the stats below.
Zentner served as a kickoff specialist in four games in 2019 as he retained his redshirt year.
He held a 60.3-yard average, had 14 touchbacks on 18 kickoffs and set a career high with a 63-yard average against TCU with four touchbacks, the latter being a mark he tied at Texas.
Zentner then served as the primary kickoff man in 2020 and split punting duties with Jack Blumer throughout all 10 games, earning first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors following the COVID-plagued season. He punted 28 times for a 40.8-yard average, with 14 punts landing inside the opponents’ 20-yard line and none of his attempts going for touchbacks.
Zentner ranked third in the Big 12 in punting average, kicked off 47 times for a 60.1-yard average and 29 touchbacks, and had a season-high average of 49.5 yards against Texas.
He boomed a season-long punt of 65 yards at TCU, a game in which he also had a season-high three punts land inside the Horned Frogs’ 20-yard line, and had a career-high six touchbacks on kickoffs against both Oklahoma and Kansas.
Zentner served as the primary punter and kickoff specialist for all 13 games in 2021 en route to honorable mention All-Big 12 accolades. He finished the year with a 43.7-yard punting average to tie for fifth in school history and his average would have ranked second in the Big 12 Conference had he punted eight more times to reach the required minimum.
Zentner’s average was buoyed by 16 punts that traveled for 50 or more yards after tallying just five in 2020, while he only had four touchbacks. A career-high five of those 50-plus yard punts came at Oklahoma State in, sadly, a losing effort.
Zentner tallied a career-best average of 55.7 yards a punt at Texas Tech, which was the 12th-best average in the nation and fourth in the Big 12 in a single 3+ punt game during the year.
One of his punts against the Red Raiders was 63 yards — the second longest of his career — which immediately preceded a K-State safety that swung the game in the Wildcats’ favor.
A second-team Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Zentner also landed a career-high four punts inside the 20-yard line at Texas and filled in as a place kicker for the injured Chris Tennant in K-State’s win over LSU in the Texas Bowl, connecting on all six extra-point attempts.
He totaled 36 touchbacks on his 67 kickoffs (53.7 percent) in 2021, the most by a Wildcat since 2004, and tied his career high with six touchbacks against Southern Illinois.
Prior to arriving at K-State, Zentner played two seasons under head coach Tim Schaffner at Butler, where he was rated the best junior college kicker in the Class of 2019 by ESPN, while he was ranked second according to 247Sports.
He earned first-team all-conference honors as a punter in 2018, helping the Grizzlies to earn a 8-4 record that included a win in the Midwest Classic Bowl, and held a 39.5-yard average on 64 punts as a true sophomore, landing 28 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Zentner had a season-best 48.3-yard average against Ellsworth, which included a 70-yarder that came on the heels of a 45-yard average at Fort Scott.
He also was 9 of 16 on field-goal attempts and 31 of 37 on extra-point attempts in 2018.
Zentner connected on all four field goals in a three-point win at Dodge City.
He punted 14 times and was 1 of 3 on field-goal attempts as a true freshman in 2017, during which he was a teammate of former Wildcats Parker Bruce, Chris Dugan, Justin Eichman, Noah Johnson and Taiten Winkel, plus current KSU teammate Dawson Delforge.
Zentner played prep football during his senior season under head coach Jason Swift at Shawnee Heights High School, where he earned honorable mention all-state honors from The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle as a senior in 2016.
He also lettered three years in soccer (he was a soccer goalkeeper for the Thunderbirds, earning two all-state honors) and two years in basketball (he was a starter on the basketball team that captured the Class 5A state championship his senior year, when he was named to the all-state tournament team), and also prepped with former defensive end Wyatt Hubert.
Zentner picked K-State over interest from Michigan State. His primary recruiter was former special teams coordinator Sean Snyder.