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17 DAYS TO 2023 KICKOFF: Chris Tennant

In which BracketCat counts down the 17th day until the 2023 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State kicker Chris Tennant.

#17 Chris Tennant
After a season and a half of inconsistency and struggles, Chris Tennant (17) was finally benched in favor of do-everything Big 12 Championship hero Ty Zentner. How Tennant responds to this in 2023 will be one of the top stories of this season.
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

#17 Chris Tennant

True Junior | 6-5 | 222 lbs. | Shawnee, Kansas
Chris Tennant
Chris Tennant
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Place Kicker
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: Preferred Walk-On

Christopher Tennant (b. May 7, 2003) is a preferred walk-on place kicker from Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kansas, who is majoring in finance.

A true freshman who took over kicking duties during the final five regular-season games in 2021, Tennant made 5 of 8 field goal attempts and all 16 extra point attempts.

He was the first true freshman at K-State to make a field goal since Joe Rheem in 2001.

Tennant connected on a 51-yard field goal at Texas, which tied for the longest by a true freshman in school history (also kicked by Jamie Rheem in 1996 against Nebraska). It also was tied for the seventh-longest field goal by a true freshman during the 2021 season.

However, Tennant suffered a classic sophomore slump during the Big 12 title season in 2022. Despite entering the season as the clear-cut starter, he ended it on the sidelines.

Before his consistency issues became too much to overcome, prompting the switch to Ty Zentner, Tennant had served as the primary place kicker through the first seven games of the season, going 9 of 14 on field-goal attempts and 23 of 25 on extra-point attempts.

He was true on a career-high three field goals against Texas Tech, tied his career high with five extra points at Oklahoma, and also had two field goals against Missouri — including a season-long 37-yarder — and Oklahoma.

A first-team Academic All-Big 12 performer in 2022 who was nominated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, Tennant has a chance at redemption in 2023 now that Zentner has graduated and joined the Philadelphia Eagles (primarily as a punter).

He prepped under head coach Joel Applebee at Mill Valley, where he was viewed as the 12th-best punter and the 50th-best kicker in the nation — and the tops in the state of Kansas in both categories — for the Class of 2021 by Kohl’s Kicking.

Tennant earned first-team all-state honors as both a junior and senior from The Topeka Capital-Journal, and he also was a first-team all-state member as a senior from The Wichita Eagle and an honorable mention pick by the organization as a junior.

He was true on 26 of 36 field-goal attempts during his three-year career for the Jaguars, including a 14-of-17 mark (82.4%) as a junior, and his career long was a 48-yarder as a senior.

Tennant connected on 109 of 112 extra-point attempts during his prep career and he also averaged 34.8 yards per punt on 58 attempts during his three seasons, including a long of 54 yards during his junior season and a long of 53 yards during his senior campaign.

He also kicked off 167 times in high school for a 58.9-yard average with 112 touchbacks.

Tennant helped Mill Valley to earn consecutive state titles during his final two years, and he prepped with K-State offensive lineman Sam Hecht and new walk-on safety Mikey Bergeron.

K-State still got a really good one to walk on, tweeted (xeeted?) the Boscoe’s Boys account:

Big time pick up for the future of special teams at K-State. Tennant who is kicking and punting for Mill Valley has the best leg in the KC Metro, state of Kansas, and one of the best legs nationally in the 2021 class. Wildcat fans will want to store this name away for the future.

And no matter what happens on the field this season or next, Tennant is a winner who has already made the biggest impact of his career by selflessly saving a life:

Already out of the 100 K-State football players to participate in the registry, place kicker Chris Tennant has found a match, and will save a life.

“Obviously, Chris got picked and he’ll be doing a transplant with somebody to save their life, and all I did was convince people to swab their mouth for one second,” (Will) Howard says. “The fact that I can do something as little as that and have that big of an impact, it was a no-brainer for me. It’s such a good cause and it takes such little effort. It’s life-changing stuff. It’s way more meaningful than anything I could do on a football field.”