Countdown to Kickoff: 21 days away with linebacker Eric Munoz, wide receiver Shane Porter

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)

With 21 days left until Kansas State kicks off against Stanford, the Collegian looks at the two players on the team wearing No. 21.

The first player highlighted in today’s article is senior transfer linebacker, Eric Munoz. Munoz comes to K-State as a 6 foot, 229-pound linebacker from Belvidere, Illinois.

Before college, Munoz played at Belvidere High School under head coach Chuck Leonard. He earned Northern Illinois All-Conference honors as a senior while also playing basketball for the Bucs.

Munoz spent his freshman year of college playing for Upper Iowa University. During his initial season at Upper Iowa in 2016, Munoz totaled 32 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss (TFL), a sack and one interception.

His biggest game came against Concordia-St. Paul, where he tallied 12 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, one sack and an interception. His efforts earned him Northern Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.

From there, Munoz transferred to his second school, Mesa College. He played his 2017 season for the Olympians, earning California Community College Athletics Association All-Conference honors in the Southern California Football Association.

He totaled 69 tackles, 7.5 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks, along with an interception, fumble recovery, blocked punt and pass breakup. He finished with a season-high 11 tackles against Desert JC and added 10 stops, including 2.5 TFLs and a sack.

Munoz finished the 2017 season by helping lead Mesa to the Southern California Bowl Championship.

Munoz transferred to his third school — Utah State — in 2018, where he saw time in four games while still preserving his redshirt status.

He came away with five tackles and a half tackle for loss against Tennessee Tech while recording one stop against San Jose State that season. He also saw time against Colorado State and North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl.

Munoz shined in 2019, recording his first-ever career start for the Aggies in a game against Wyoming. He recorded a career-high 13 tackles, a half tackle for loss, a pass breakup and two interceptions in that game. His second interception was the game-winner to hold off a game-winning drive from Wyoming in the fourth quarter.

After the game, Munoz’s teammates were anxiously waiting for him to return to the locker room for the celebration of a lifetime.

In the following press conference, Munoz became emotional talking about his journey getting to that moment, and how much the team meant to him.

Before that game, Munoz had only played eight games over his two years with the Aggies. His efforts and defensive heroics earned him the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week. The party wasn’t over for Munoz, however. A week after playing the best game of his career, Utah State put him on scholarship.

Munoz took a step back in 2020, only playing in one of the Aggie’s six games during the shortened COVID season. He made a start against New Mexico, tallying four tackles.

Despite finding success at Utah State, Munoz decided to enter the transfer portal ahead of the 2021 season. Munoz ultimately made his decision official and announced his commitment to K-State through Twitter on Dec. 21, 2020.

Although Munoz hasn’t seen the field in a game yet, his presence is being felt, receiving Core Value of the Week honors not once, not twice, but three times throughout spring and summer camp.

Munoz could make a big impact with the Wildcats this season, helping the linebacker core of Cody Fletcher, Daniel Green and Wayne Jones as the season progresses.

The second player in today’s countdown to kickoff installment is Shane Porter, a 5 foot 10 inch, 173-pound freshman wide receiver from Friendswood, Texas.

Shane is no stranger to K-State football, as his brother Seth is a junior wide receiver for the Wildcats.

Throughout his career at Clear Brook High School, Porter had success in many different positions. As a senior, he tallied 29 receptions for 560 yards and eight touchdowns at wide receiver.

He played quarterback in his final two seasons, throwing for 1,565 yards and eight scores during his last two seasons with the Wolverines. Porter also rushed for 300 yards on 63 carries during his junior and senior seasons.

His efforts earned him first-team all-district honors as a wide receiver his junior year, where he was also named the team’s offensive MVP. Porter also participated in basketball and track and field at Clear Brook.

Out of high school, Porter received interest from K-State, Texas State and Tulsa.

While Porter hasn’t seen the field yet, he has made an impact in other ways, including over TikTok and Twitter.

Not all bad things have come from the publicity of the short video. Porter has turned his social media fame into an opportunity to become involved with endorsements with new regulations in deals with name, image and likeness.

With all of his attention off the field, Porter is still making the most of his time on the field, gaining attention from the coaching staff and earning the “Tough” Core Value of the Week award.

It might take some time before Porter sees the field with other receivers like Malik Knowles, Phillip Brooks and transfer Tyrone Howell on the team.