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29 DAYS TO 2023 KICKOFF: Khalid Duke

In which BracketCat counts down the 29th day until the 2023 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State defensive end Khalid Duke.

#29 Khalid Duke
After an average-to-decent 2022 season at linebacker, senior Khalid Duke (29) is set to move back to his natural position of defensive end in 2023 to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via 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.

#29 Khalid Duke

Redshirt Senior | 6-4 | 246 lbs. | Atlanta, Georgia
Khalid Duke
Khalid Duke
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive End
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Khalid Malik Duke (b. Feb. 27, 2001) is a talented (and now underrated) hybrid defensive end/linebacker from Riverside Military Academy in Atlanta who is majoring in kinesiology.

With Felix Anudike-Uzomah gone to the NFL and Nate Matlack still bouncing back from injury, Duke will move back to weakside defensive end in 2023 after splitting time at both positions in 2022. (For more about his comeback experience, read this excellent piece!)

Duke saw action in seven games in 2019 — primarily as a third-down pass rushing specialist — and totaled seven tackles, three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

He had a season-best two tackles against Navy in the 2019 Liberty Bowl and Kansas, recording tackles for loss in both games. Duke’s sacks came against Kansas and West Virginia. He recovered a fumble against Bowling Green and broke up a pass against Navy.

Duke then played in nine games in 2020, with eight starts, the first starts of his career.

He totaled 26 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack on the season, and set a career high with nine tackles in his first career start at Oklahoma, helping the Wildcats to earn their first-ever road victory over a team ranked in the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Duke registered a career-best two tackles for loss at West Virginia, which included a sack.

He entered 2021 as a near-lock to start every game at weakside defensive end and probably was K-State’s best returning sack threat after the departure of pass rusher Wyatt Hubert.

However, fate had other plans for Duke. He played the first three games of 2021 and looked poised for a breakout before a knee injury cut his season short and he ended up redshirting, which opened the door for King Felix to have his two breakout seasons as an utter monster.

Despite this, Duke tallied sacks in each of the first two contests of 2021 and totaled four tackles against Stanford, while his sack against Southern Illinois went for a 10-yard loss.

He saw time in all 14 games during the 2022 Big 12 Championship season, with 13 starts, totaling 44 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks and a pass breakup.

Duke tallied a career-best three sacks against Texas Tech — tied for the fourth most in a game in school history — en route to Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.

In the process, he teamed with Felix Anudike-Uzomah to give K-State two players with three or more sacks in the same game for the first time in school history.

It also was the first time nationally that two teammates had three sacks in the same game since Oregon State against California in 2019, and the first in the Big 12 since at least 2007.

Duke also recorded a season-high eight tackles against the Red Raiders, while he had tackles for loss against both Baylor and Kansas, and he also batted down a pass against the Jayhawks and totaled six tackles at West Virginia. Not bad for a part-time linebacker/end!

Duke prepped under head coach Nicholas Garrett at Riverside and was rated the 83rd-best outside linebacker prospect in the Class of 2019, according to ESPN.

He earned first-team all-state honors from The Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2018, the school’s first all-state honor since 2013, after carding 142 tackles and 17 tackles for loss during his senior season in 2018.

Duke compiled 219 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, nine sacks and two interceptions in his career. He also starred on offense, carding 1,154 yards and 12 touchdowns on 66 career receptions, while he ran 46 times for 467 yards and four scores during his prep career.

Duke also played basketball in high school and was a state champion in the triple jump.

He picked K-State over offers from Air Force, Army, Charleston Southern, The Citadel, East Tennessee State, Gardner-Webb, Lafayette, Mercer, Navy, Samford and Western Carolina.

Duke’s primary recruiter was former K-State defensive coordinator Blake Seiler. Fun fact: He once served as a ball boy for the Atlanta Falcons!

Here’s what Chris Klieman had to say about Duke’s move back to full-time defensive end:

I think he can be one of the best pass rushers in college football. I think everybody saw that in 2020 during the pandemic year when he terrorized Oklahoma. They couldn’t block him. Even in 2021, I remember him coming off the edge, he hadn’t practiced the whole fall camp, and he came off the edge and sacked a guy here against Stanford. That was as good of a move as I’ve seen. We saw what he did last year moving him to linebacker, and now he’s (back to) defensive end full time, which is where he really belongs. Between him and Brendan Mott and having a Nate Matlack will help him, too. I like our bookend defensive ends.

Matlack echoed a lot of these same comments when asked about Duke’s move back:

Khalid is just Khalid. He’s explosive and smart and knows what he’s doing. He’s so experienced now. He’s definitely going to have a breakout season getting back to his home position at defensive end. We have a really good group of guys at defensive end with myself, Khalid, Brendan Mott, Cody Stufflebean, and we have a lot of other guys coming. Felix obviously made a lot of plays. I feel like we’ll be able to back it up. We have a lot of guys who’ve become better players.