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20 DAYS TO 2023 KICKOFF: Colby McCalister

In which BracketCat counts down the 20th day until the 2023 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State safety Colby McCalister.

#20 Denzel Goolsby
K-State hasn’t had a prominent defensive back wear No. 20 since former safety and future bar owner Denzel Goolsby (20) donned the jersey. Redshirt freshman safety Colby McCalister holds the promise that he could be the next such star.
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

#20 Colby McCalister

Redshirt Freshman | 5-10 | 193 lbs. | Houston, Texas
Colby McCalister
Colby McCalister
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Safety
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Third-String
  • Status: On Scholarship

Colby McCalister (b. March 7, 2004) is an instinctive young defensive back from Clear Brook High School in Houston, Texas, who is majoring in business administration.

He redshirted and did not see playing time during the 2022 Big 12 Championship season.

But the coaches have been saying his name a lot this offseason and I like his chances to play in 2023 as a reserve, at least. He also could see some playing time on special teams.

McCalister was a three-year starter under head coach John Towels at Clear Brook, where he was regarded as the 87th-best cornerback in the Class of 2022 by ESPN.

A three-time all-district selection who earned 2021 academic all-state honors, he totaled 63 tackles and two interceptions for the Wolverines over his three-year prep career.

McCalister was a high school teammate of current K-State wide receiver Shane Porter. He also completed in baseball and at track and field as a prep.

McCalister chose K-State over a scholarship offer from Alabama State, as well as interest from Army (which possibly offered as well) and Colorado. His primary recruiter was assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and cornerbacks coach Van Malone.

Here’s what head coach Chris Klieman had to say about this cornerback-turned-safety:

Colby has been a three-year starter. A really physical corner, he knows the game really well and has tremendous speed. We look for him to be a leader already in the secondary, just a really mature kid and excited to have Colby joining us as well.

McCalister’s new position coach and defensive coordinator, Joe Klanderman, agrees:

You’d love to have nine guys you feel comfortable with. Right now, I’m really pleased with Colby McCalister. He’s a guy who we weren’t sure what to expect in the spring and he’s far exceeded expectations.