Now at the halfway point on the countdown to kickoff, the Collegian looks at a pair of players, starting with Cooper Beebe, a sophomore offensive lineman out of Kansas City, Kansas.
Playing under head coach Rick Pollard at Piper High School, Beebe spent most of his career as a defensive tackle. He totaled 128 tackles, including 34 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and five forced fumbles throughout his career, earning accolades across the state and country.
Beebe earned first-team all-state honors from the Topeka Capital-Journal and Wichita Eagle as a junior and was an honorable mention pick by both outlets as a freshman, sophomore and senior. He was also awarded First-Team All-State honors from the Kansas Football Coaches Association (KFBCA) as an offensive lineman in 2018.
His efforts in high school allowed him to play for Team USA U17 in the 2017 International Bowl against Team Japan, Team USA U19 in the 2018 World Championships and the 2019 Kansas Shrine Bowl.
At the end of his high school career, Beebe was rated as the 79th best defensive tackle in the class of 2019 by ESPN. He signed to play at Kansas State in December 2018.
✍️ Cooper Beebe from Piper HS (Kansas)
— K-State Football (@KStateFB) December 19, 2018
Since arriving on campus, Beebe transitioned to offensive lineman and has rapidly risen among the ranks. Beebe redshirted in 2019 but saw action against Bowling Green and Kansas as a reserve offensive lineman.
Beebe played in nine games in 2020 and started in eight of them, helping protect quarterbacks Skylar Thompson and Will Howard by only allowing 14 sacks all season, ranking the Wildcats first in the Big 12 and 27th nationally.
Going into the 2021 season, Beebe will take his place as a starter alongside Noah Johnson, Josh Rivas, Ben Adler and Dawson Delforge.
Tyrone Taleni is a 6 foot 2 inch, 275-pound junior defensive tackle from Savai’i, Samoa. He played at Mt. San Antonio College under head coach Bob Jastrab in 2019, recording 26 tackles, including six tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
His season-high of five tackles came against Long Beach City College, and he had a season-best two tackles for loss against Chaffey College.
Taleni committed to K-State in February 2020, choosing the Wildcats over Hawaii and UTEP.
Blessed to be a part of the Kansas State family. Trust me, I’m going to give you my all!! Ready to Work!@mtsacfootball #SacDawgs@KStateFB #EMAW #KStateFB⚒ #NSD20 #JucoProduct#JustABoyFromSamoa pic.twitter.com/P8QAisALn0
— Tyrone Taleni 🇼🇸 (@TyroneTaleni) February 6, 2020
During the 2020 season, Taleni played in three games against Kansas, Oklahoma and Baylor. He recorded one sack against Kansas for a six-yard loss.
Taleni might see more playing time this season as he becomes more familiar with the systems in place. However, with players Eli Huggins, Timmy Horne and Cartez Crook-Jones lined up to start, playing time might be hard to find this year.