Countdown to Kickoff: 92 days away with defensive tackle Eli Huggins

Leading up to the start of K-State's 2021 football season, the Collegian takes a look at what to expect and highlights every player on the roster. (Archive photo by Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Continuing the countdown is 2020 First-Team Academic All-American senior defensive tackle Eli Huggins.

Standing at 6 foot 4 inches and weighing 295 pounds, Huggins looks to hold down the middle of the defensive line going into his senior year this season.

A four-year letter winner at West Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia, Huggins was named the 21st best strong-side defensive end in the 2017 national recruiting class by 24/7 Sports.

Huggins received all-state honors from the Georgia Sportswriters Association as a junior in 2015 while also earning first-team all-county and all-region recognition.

Huggins totaled 217 tackles, 31 tackles-for-loss and 20 sacks in his career with the Wolverines, assisting the team with third and fourth-place finishes in the 2013 and 2014 state championship tournaments.

Huggins redshirted in 2017, only playing one game in 2018 to record one tackle in Kansas State’s matchup against the University of Texas at San Antonio.

He started seeing more field time in 2019, playing in six games as a rotation defensive tackle. He recorded five tackles and one tackle for loss and a career-high two tackles against Bowling Green and Oklahoma.

Huggins received Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 honors at the end of the 2019 season.

2020 was Huggins’ breakout season, starting in eight games and receiving First-Team Academic All-Big 12 honors during his junior campaign.

He recorded 22 tackles, 6 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks during his junior season, with a career-high 2 tackles-for-loss in K-State’s 38-35 comeback victory against No. 3 Oklahoma.

During a spring football press conference with K-State Sports, Huggins commented on the football team’s increased motivation going into the 2021 season.

“You can feel it,” Huggins said. “Something is just different out there this year. When you’re out there at practice, it’s just way more competitive. There’s way more energy, and people are just wanting to be out there really bad. It’s just something you have to be there to feel. People are way more motivated, and people are just way more bought in.”

Huggins will likely be K-State’s starting defensive tackle in rotation with junior Jaylen Pickle and senior transfer Timmy Horne for the upcoming 2021 season.