The Collegian’s countdown to kickoff series continues with No. 77 Carver Willis. The Kansas State football team is 77 days away from kicking off their season against Stanford in Arlington, Texas.
Carver Willis is a 6 foot 5 inches, 287-pound redshirt freshman offensive lineman hailing from Durango, Colorado.
Willis was part of a small but talented group of nine true freshmen to see game action last year. He saw time against Texas Tech, TCU, Iowa State and Texas as a reserve offensive lineman at the left tackle position.
Offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham said in a K-State athletics press release that the coaching staff essentially “forced him into playing last year.” Willis has the “reserve” tag before his position because the already rebuilding offensive line had to deal with COVID-19 and injury issues during the 2020 season.
The Wildcats were 2-2 in the four games Willis played. He elected to redshirt, with NCAA rules allowing players to play in up to four games and still maintain redshirt status.
Recruited out of Durango High School, Willis was 247Sports eighth-best player in Colorado’s 2020 class and 247Sports 83rd-best offensive tackle in the nation. Aside from picking up first-team all-state honors as a senior, Willis was also a letterman with the Demon basketball team.
Willis received offers from Colorado State, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado and Wyoming before committing to K-State on July 1, 2019. He joined the 22 other players in the early signing class on Dec. 18, 2019.
During spring practice, Willis was in competition with two other Wildcats for the left tackle position on the offensive line.
“Right now we have a combination of Cooper Beebe, Carver Willis and Kaitori Leveston working over there,” offensive line coach Conor Riley said in a spring press conference in April. “That’s where the competition is coming into play. Cooper Beebe, right now, is the guy.”
For Riley, Willis is a superb offensive lineman in terms of pure ability and athleticism. However, he has issues with consistency and belief in himself.
“He plays extremely hard, is extremely athletic,” Riley said. “It’s just the fine details of the game that he knows he needs to continue to work on and focus on … He has a lot of work to do. But, one thing with Carver is you know he’s going to get the work done.”
Riley’s comment about Beebe being the guy for the left tackle position is the last update discussed to the media about that position battle. As of now, it seems Willis will continue as a backup going into the 2021 season.
More information about the position will come to light as the 2021 college football season gets closer.