For our next installment of the 100 day countdown to kickoff against North Dakota State University, the number 95 represents the number worn by Travis Britz, a defensive lineman expected to step up for the Wildcats this fall the subject of today’s player spotlight.
There’s significant trepidation concerning K-State’s defensive line in 2013, as this unit will feature the least known and least proven players on the team. However, that doesn’t mean it should be considered a liability. Among the new faces will be Britz, a 6’4″, 287 lb. sophomore-to-be out of Harrisonville, MO. He is among a shortlist of players to anchor the first line of defense against a host of running backs including Lache Seastrunk, Malcolm Smith, and James Sims that could make the Big 12 the most dangerous running conference in the nation.
Britz looked good during spring football training, playing for a spot on a line that coach Bill Snyder has commended for its rapid development despite the lack of veteran presence. He was also one of the most important signees of last year’s recruiting class. Britz was the number 16 player to come out of Missouri in 2012 according to 247 Sports and recorded 70 tackles to go along with three sacks as a senior. This built upon the 99 tackle, three sack season he compiled as a junior. He also placed fourth as a wrestler in Missouri in the heavyweight class his senior year.
That production naturally carried multiple accolades. Britz was the state’s class four defensive MVP and recognized as a MaxPrep Second Team All-American. In addition, he was a 2011 first team all-state pick by the Missouri Coaches Association and Missouri Sports Writers Association. 247 Sports rated him No. 117 defensive tackle in the nation. He was originally projected to redshirt his freshman year due to the talent K-State already along the defensive line, but saw playing time last year as a reserve for seniors Vai Lutui and John Sua. He recorded six tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage, while demonstrating the ability to be a mauler as a true freshman.
The defensive tackle position is never a glamorous one, and K-State’s DTs were expected to play major cogs while ends Meshak Williams and Adam Davis racked up statistics last year. Yet Britz succeeded in dominating opposing guards in high school and looks to continue this mastery on the next level. Scout.com identified him as the team’s “unsung star on the rise,” and the team’s #3 all-star candidate behind Ty Zimmerman and Tre Walker. He is still young and there’s no guarantee of success, but the player that garnered the interest of Iowa State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Pittsburgh appears primed to step up for the Wildcats this fall.
To work backward in the countdown, visit 96 days, where we examine one of the most pivotal yet overlooked plays in 2012 in Tyler Lockett’s 96 yard touchdown kick return against North Texas.