Countdown to Kickoff: 29 days away with defensive end Khalid Duke, fullback Jax Dineen

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 kicks off in less than a month as the countdown to kickoff continues with junior defensive end Khalid Duke and junior fullback Jax Dineen.

Duke, a 6 foot 4 inch, 244-pound end out of Atlanta, Georgia, played at Riverside Military Academy under head coach Nicholas Garrett, playing both offense and defense.

As a receiver, Duke tallied 1,154 yards on 66 career receptions for 12 touchdowns and ran 46 times for 467 yards and four touchdowns as a running back. On defense, Duke recorded 219 tackles with 21 for loss, nine sacks and two interceptions during his career.

As a senior, Duke carded 142 tackles and 17 tackles for loss, earning himself Riverside’s first all-state honor since 2013 from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2018. He was also rated as the 83rd best outside linebacker in the class of 2019 by ESPN.

After receiving offers from the Air Force, Army, Citadel and Charleston Southern, Duke committed to play at K-State on Dec. 6, 2018.

Since then, Duke has seen action in both years of his college career. He mainly played as a third-down rushing specialist his freshman year, totaling seven tackles and three for loss, including two sacks in seven games.

Duke played nine games as a sophomore, starting in eight and recording 26 tackles, including three for loss and a sack. Duke had a monster game against Oklahoma, setting a career-high with nine tackles to help K-State earn their first road victory over a team in the top five of the Associated Press Top 25.

Alongside Bronson Massie and Kirmari Gainous, Duke will likely be one of the starting defensive ends heading into the 2021 season for the Wildcats.

Jax Dineen grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, surrounded by KU. His great-grandfather played basketball for KU, and his grandfather played running back for the Jayhawks in the ’60s. His mother was a volleyball player, and both of his brothers have played linebacker for the school. Jax, however, decided to come to K-State in 2018 after a record-setting career at Lawrence Free State.

Playing under head coach Bob Lisher, Dineen played both sides of the ball as a running back and a linebacker. As a linebacker, Dineen was voted to the first-team all-state in 2017 and 2018 by the Wichita Eagle and a first-team selection in 2018 and an honorable mention pick in 2017 by the Topeka Capital-Journal.

As a running back, Dineen set the Sunflower League on fire with 3,592 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns during his career, setting school records with both.

Dineen was rated as the top fullback nationally in the class of 2019 by Rivals and ESPN and No. 3 by 247Sports. Dineen was a finalist for the 2018 Simone Award as the top prep player in the Kansas City area and was named to the 2017 Kansas City Star All-Metro team.

After receiving offers from 12 schools, including Kansas, North Dakota State and Illinois State, Dineen ultimately chose to set his own path by committing to K-State on Dec. 19, 2018.

Dineen saw action in 12 games his freshman year, including a start against Kansas. He caught three passes for 24 total yards and helped the Wildcats rush for 178 yards per game in 2019.

As a sophomore, Dineen started three games against Arkansas State, Kansas and Oklahoma State, seeing action in nine games and totaling seven catches for 78 yards. His four receptions against Oklahoma State were the most by a K-State fullback since Rock Cartwright had six against Texas Tech in 2001.

With K-State loaded on running backs, Dineen will likely play the running game as a blocker and as an occasional receiver again.