Kansas St Oklahoma Football

In this file photo, then-Kansas State running back Keyon Mozee (6) catches a pass during a game in Norman, Okla., on Sept. 26. A K-State spokesman confirmed to The Mercury on Thursday that Mozee had entered the transfer portal.

A player primed to be a key piece of Kansas State’s backfield in the years to come is transferring. Keyon Mozee, who appeared in nine of the Wildcats’ 10 games during his freshman season in 2020, entered the transfer portal Thursday, a K-State spokesman confirmed to The Mercury.

Mozee, part of the same recruiting class as fellow running back sensation Deuce Vaughn, was one of just nine true freshman to play last season.

He carried 11 times for 39 yards and hauled in two passes for 83 yards in a reserve role. Mozee also returned one kickoff for seven yards.

He made his college debut in K-State’s comeback win at then-No. 3 Oklahoma in the Big 12 opener for both teams. Mozee had one of the game’s key plays, coming up with a 78-yard reception in the third quarter that led to a 2-yard touchdown run from Skylar Thompson one play later. Mozee’s 78-yard catch was the 15th-longest pass play in K-State history, and the second-longest reception by a true freshman.

Vaughn had a 77-yard catch of his own against the Sooners; with that, he and Mozee became the first teammates in program history to each have a reception of 77 or more yards in the same contest.

Mozee’s season-best effort on the ground came in the Sunflower Showdown, when he tallied 27 yards on three carries in K-State’s 55-14 win at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

He was a consensus three-star prospect coming out of high school. In the 247Sports Composite, where he was listed as an athlete instead of running back, Mozee was ranked No. 104 nationally at his position and No. 26 in Missouri.

Mozee starred at Lee’s Summit North High in Lee’s Summit, Mo.

The Missouri Football Coaches Association named him first-team all-district and second-team all-state during his senior season, when he ran for 1,049 yards and 10 touchdowns. He totaled 2,127 yards and 27 TDs on the ground and caught 42 passes for 310 yards and three more scores during his high school career. Mozee also contributed on special teams, tallying 410 yards on kickoff returns.

During a press conference April 6 three days after the end of the Wildcats’ spring practices, head coach Chris Klieman said Mozee “did some really good things” during the 15 sessions.

Running backs coach Brian Anderson said that he didn’t want Mozee to feel the need to “compete against the other guys in the room.” Instead, Anderson wanted Mozee to focus on what he does best.

“For Mozee, for instance, he’s fast. He’s a 10.6 100-meter guy,” Anderson said April 1. “We need to find roles for him to use his speed. It’s not about him just running between the tackles like a Deuce or catching balls out of the backfield like Deuce. We have to use his skillset to our advantage, and his skillset is speed. So it’s our job to find ways to get him in those situations.”

Throughout the spring, Anderson said he’d started to see Mozee progress in that area.

“He’s done a better job of that: of using his speed, because now he’s not thinking as much,” Anderson said. “So we just have to continue to grow, get him going in the right direction and utilize his skill set.”