Countdown to Kickoff: 36 days away with fullback Mason Barta, defensive back Hunter Henry

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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)

Kansas State football finally returns on Sept. 4 against Stanford at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. With that said, the Collegian looks at the two players wearing No. 36 on the team, Mason Barta and Hunter Henry.

Senior Mason Barta is a 6 foot 1 inch, 234-pound fullback out of Holton, Kan., a small town just over an hour northeast of Manhattan. The Barta name is a popular one when it comes to football in the state of Kansas.

Mason’s father, Brooks, was a First Team All-Big Eight linebacker with the Wildcats from 1989-92, ranking second in career tackles in school history with 436. Mason’s grandfather, Roger, is a high school football legend in Kansas, coaching the Smith Center Redmen for 35 years, finishing with eight state titles and a record of 323-68.

Redshirting in 2017, Mason Barta has played in 10+ games every year since his redshirt year. With a combined 35 played games and five starts, Barta has played a big part in K-State’s rushing attack.

Barta made plenty of key blocks to help K-State rank in the top four in rushing yards per game in the Big 12 in 2018 and 2019. He also made plenty of big plays in 2020, including crucial blocks in K-State’s upset victory over No. 3 Oklahoma.

Barta was awarded Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2019 and 2020. Graduating in 2019 with a degree in business management, Barta is now working on his master’s in data analytics at K-State.

Barta was a first-team all-state player in high school, rushing for 1,718 yards and 21 touchdowns in his career and recording 285 tackles. During his recruitment in 2016, Barta was tabbed as the top outside linebacker in Kansas by Scout.

Barta made the decision to follow in his father’s footsteps and sign with K-State in 2017.

The other No. 36 on the team is 6 foot 1 inch, 198-pound sophomore defensive back Hunter Henry. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Henry originally played football at Rice in 2019 before transferring to K-State as a walk-on.

Playing in three games for Rice in 2019, Henry was able to preserve redshirt status.

Henry made his presence felt his first year with K-State in 2020, playing in eight games and recording seven tackles throughout that eight-game span. Henry had his best performances against Kansas, Baylor and Texas, recording two tackles in each game.

Henry played for two schools in high school — Lake Travis and Cedar Park — winning a state championship with the latter. While in high school, Henry recorded 143 tackles, 14 pass breakups, three interceptions and one touchdown off of an interception.

While Barta’s father was a football player, Henry’s mother, Anita, was an All-American swimmer at Alabama. Henry is currently working towards graduating with a kinesiology degree at K-State.

Stay on the lookout for both of these players to play a significant role as K-State takes the field against Stanford on Sept. 4.

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Hey! I’m Cameron Bradley and I am the sports editor for the Collegian! I am a junior from Wichita, Kansas, and I am majoring in journalism. When I’m not working for the Collegian, I’m creating content and putting on broadcasts with K-StateHD.TV. I am also currently a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. I love sports, spending time with friends, family and doing everything that I do for the glory of God!