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.
#69 Taylor Poitier
Redshirt Senior | 6-3 | 291 lbs. | Kansas City, Kansas
- Position: Offensive Line
- Previous College: None
- Projection: Second-String
- Status: On Scholarship
Taylor Alexzander Poitier (b. Jan. 7, 2001) is an offensive lineman from Bishop Miege High School in Shawnee who unfortunately has been plagued by injuries during his KSU career.
Poitier, who is majoring in communication studies, redshirted and did not play in 2019.
He played in four games in 2020, including starts at right guard in each of the final two contests. K-State had its two best rushing games during his starts, totaling 256 yards and three touchdowns at Baylor in addition to 274 yards and two touchdowns against Texas.
He helped K-State to tie for first in the Big 12 and 27th nationally in sacks allowed (14), while the Wildcats led the Big 12 and ranked fourth in the nation in red zone offense (93.9%).
Unfortunately, Poitier suffered a season-ending anterior-cruciate ligament injury during fall camp and missed the entire 2021 season. This is doubly unfortunate as he was on track to be a starter, with coach Chris Klieman saying he “might’ve been our best offensive lineman.”
“(Klieman’s comments) make me feel good and also a bit nervous because I have a reputation to live up to,” Poitier says, “but I’m prepared and ready for it. Coach Klieman, he’s always there. I’m never going to quit on him. I’ll be there for him.”
After his grueling rehabilitation, Poitier came back to start the 2022 season opener against South Dakota at right guard, but suffered another knee injury and missed the remainder of the season again. This opened a door for Hadley Panzer to take over that position for good.
“It’s a cruel thing, man,” Klieman said. “He tore a knee again and he’ll be out for the season. It’s awful. Sometimes the cruelest things happen to the best kids. It was confirmed with us on Sunday afternoon that that was the case. He’ll be lost for the season. My heart goes out for him because of all he did to get himself back. He’ll get surgery once the swelling goes down.”
“To see him go down and to see the magnitude of the injury, I’m heartbroken, I’m sick,” said Deuce Vaughn. “It’s something you hate but because of the game that we play it happens. He’s someone we’re battling for the entire year, definitely. To have this happen two years in a row, no young man deserves that.”
“We love Taylor,” said center Hayden Gillum. “We’re playing for him. Everyone is upset because Taylor is our friend and he’s someone you see him put in a lot of work. We have to step up and do more and play for Taylor and do what we can. We have to step up.”
This man is a testament to tough persistence, though, and Poitier is back to try again for a third straight season. While reclaiming his starting position (barring another player injury) seems far-fetched, given he has missed basically two straight seasons, I look for him to at least hopefully be back in the two-deep, perhaps by backing up Cooper Beebe at left guard.
Poitier has at least one year of eligibility remaining, plus an additional COVID year if he wants it, and he conceivably may be eligible for at least one medical hardship waiver to get back his 2021 season (and maybe 2022 as well?), meaning he possibly could stick around for three to four more seasons and earn at least one graduate degree, if he so chooses.
That’s assuming he can make it back on the field and avoid any further injuries, of course...
Poitier prepped under head coach John Holmes at Bishop Miege, where he helped the Stags to earn their fifth-straight Kansas Class 5A state championship in 2018, while they also earned a collective 44-4 record during his four seasons there.
He was named to the Kansas Football Coaches Association (KFBCA) Top-11 team among all classes, while he was an all-state selection at the Class 4A level by the organization.
Poitier also picked up first-team all-state honors from The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle as a senior, and was named to the 2018 All-Simone Team as one of the top prep players in the Kansas City area.
He picked K-State over an offer from Wyoming and interest from SMU. Poitier’s primary recruiter was his current offensive line coach, Conor Riley.
You can read more about his first injury and comeback in this great D. Scott Fritchen piece:
“(Poitier) is a competitive young man,” offensive coordinator Collin Klein says. “He’s extremely twitchy and very strong. When he gets on a double team, it moves. He works at it. He’s competitive. He’s incredibly strong and has a lot of snaps. We have to keep him healthy. It’s huge to have him back. He gives you a lot of flexibility in how you put the pieces together inside with the guard spot and figuring out the center spot. It’ll be good.”