Kenyon Reed is gone before ever playing a down for Kansas State’s football team.
Reed, a true freshman defensive back, entered his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal. He’s no longer listed on the Wildcats’ official roster on the athletics department website, either. News of his departure was first reported by GoPowercat.com.
In an interview with reporters Thursday, K-State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton confirmed Reed had left the team. But Hazelton also noted he was caught by surprise.
“You know, that was a weird one. I don’t know,” Hazelton said. “It was one of those things that I just heard yesterday after the locker room. So I don’t know all the details yet. (That) may be a ‘boss man’ (head coach Chris Klieman) question, I don’t know.”
Reed was a member of K-State’s 2019 recruiting class. Landing him back in February was, at the time, a coup for Klieman and his first-year coaching staff. A native of Long Beach, California, Reed picked K-State over UCLA, just 30 miles away from his hometown.
Reed earned all-league honors as a senior, helping his Long Beach Poly club go 8-3 overall and advance to the state playoffs. Primarily playing on offense, Reed caught 17 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He also chipped in on special teams, returning eight kickoffs (averaging 27.8 yards per return) and four punts (17 ypr).
On signing day, Klieman praised Reed’s speed — he was a member of a relay team at Long Beach Poly High that finished fourth in the state in the 4x100-meter last year — and noted that the 6-foot defensive back likely would clock a “sub-10.6” time in the 100-meter dash.
Reed, Klieman said, “can flat fly,” an important attribute at the corner spot where the Wildcats planned to play him in the future.
“We see him as a corner. He played a ton of wide receiver in high school, and I think a lot of people were recruiting him only as a wide receiver, but we needed corners, and we needed corners that could really run,” Klieman said. “That’s what excited him, and that’s what enabled us to get him to come on the visit late. He had some really good offers, and we said we see him as a defensive player and that excited him and his folks. When you have the ability to run, one thing hard to change is speed, and he has a great ability to run. And in this league, we need kids who can run to play corner.”
Reed’s signing also highlighted another aspect of the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts Klieman views as important: emphasizing the West Coast. Along with Reed, K-State also signed Matthew Pola-Mao, a defensive tackle from Chandler, Arizona. With the addition of defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo — who hails from Carson, California, and has spent the vast majority of his three-decade coaching career on the West Coast — Klieman said recruiting that part of the country “will be a part” of what K-State does every year.
With Tuiasosopo leading the way, the Wildcats will continually gaze westward.
“I think ‘Coach Tui’ has as good a name as there is in college football,” Klieman said. “When we interviewed him at the convention, he was a great football coach. We have a lot of great football coaches, but what I saw in Tui was a guy that could build relationships and had a ton of relationships on the West Coast. He was able to get in on some players that maybe we either did not have the opportunity or had not been in those specific schools’ locations. We told him, ‘Tui, hit the ground running.’ I do not know if there is a better recruiter out on the West Coast than Tui, and he was able to get a couple great ones.”
One of them is now gone.