Countdown to Kickoff: 8 days away with punter/kicker Ty Zentner, defensive back Tee Denson

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)

As the Kansas State football season draws closer, the Collegian looks at two players hoping to make an impact for the Wildcats this season — senior Ty Zentner and sophomore Tee Denson.

Ty Zentner is a punter/kicker out of Topeka. The 6 foot 2 inch, 200-pound athlete played at Shawnee Heights High School under head coach Jason Swift. He earned honorable mention all-state honors from the Topeka Capital-Journal and Wichita Eagle as a senior in 2016.

However, Zentner didn’t limit himself to football. He also played soccer and basketball for Shawnee Heights, lettering in both sports. In soccer, Zentner was a two-time all-state honoree as a goalkeeper and a starter on the basketball team that won the 5A state championship his senior year.

Out of high school, Zentner was rated the No. 2 kicker in the nation by 247Sports and the 78th best player in Kansas.

Zentner later played at Butler Community College under head coach Time Schaffner. He helped the Grizzlies go 8-4 in 2018, including a win in the Midwest Classic Bowl. Zentner earned first-team all-conference honors as a punter and was rated the best junior college kicker in the Class of 2019 by ESPN.

In 2019, Zentner transferred to K-State, serving as a kickoff specialist while maintaining his redshirt status. He averaged 60.3 yards on 18 kickoffs.

During the 2020 season, Zentner was the primary kickoff man, splitting punting duties with Jack Blumer. He punted 28 times over 10 games and averaged 40.8 yards per punt — good for third in the Big 12 — with half of them landing inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. He had a career day against TCU, setting a personal record with a 65-yard punt and landing three punts inside the TCU 20-yard line.

Zentner will do everything he can to help the Wildcats this season — whether it be dropping dimes inside the opponent’s territory, destroying kickoffs or crushing the ball through the uprights.

Tee Denson is a 6 foot, 190-pound defensive back from Atlanta, Georgia. He played at Cedar Grove High School under head coach Miguel Patrick.

Denson helped the Saints record back-to-back Class AAA State Championships in 2018 and 2019. His performances earned him first-team all-state honors from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association as a junior and all-state honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and All-Region 5-AAA honors as a senior.

Listed as a 3-star recruit and ranked the No. 69 best cornerback in the 2020 class by 247Sports, Denson received offers from Virginia Tech, Purdue and Pittsburgh before committing to K-State on Dec 16, 2019.

Since then, Denson has seen action in seven games, including a start against Texas on Dec. 5, 2020. The game against Texas marked Denson’s current collegiate best, recording five solo tackles, including one tackle for loss.

Denson could see more playing time this season alongside Jahron McPherson, Ekow Boye-Doe and Ross Elder.