Will Geary plays close to the ground as anchor of KSU defense

At 6-feet, 290 pounds, Will Geary looks like a college defensive tackle straight out of central casting.

Long-known as the strongest Kansas State player, Geary defers, claiming back-up tackle Raymond Price should get that label. But he will give in a little, saying, “Okay, maybe on some lists (I am).”

His weight-room numbers are staggering. He says his best bench press is “about 410 right now.” His best squat is about 630 pounds, and his best clean is 395.

The burly senior anchors the middle of the defensive line and pretty much goes unnoticed. He’s fine with that. Some of it comes with the territory of being a defensive tackle, and some of it is the low-key personality of Geary.

“I’ve lived with it all my life,” said the senior out of Topeka High. “Linemen don’t get too much glory. Guys who watch the game know what’s going on. I don’t worry about it. I just like to win and help the team.”

Defensive tackles have to be massive and/or destructive to garner much attention, and that’s true throughout college football. Guys like Warren Sapp are freakishly talented, but it’s hard to get noticed at the position.

The last defensive tackle taken first overall in the NFL draft was Dan Wilkinson from Ohio State, who was in 1994 by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Since Bill Snyder’s first year in 1989, the Wildcats have had 60 players taken in the NFL draft. Of those, exactly one—Mario Fatafehi in the fifth round of the 2001 draft—was a defensive tackle. Defensive ends (four) and linebackers (11) are far more prolific.

But without the space-eaters in the middle of the defensive line, defensive ends like Jordan Willis, who was selected in the third round, and linebackers like Elijah Lee (2017), Arthur Brown (2013), Terry Pierce (2003) and Ben Leber (2002) to name a few, would not have had the collegiate success they had.

Will Geary is definitely down-to-earth, and we’re not talking about physique, though the 6-feet is generous and the 290 pounds is probably not taking into consideration the fact that he has two legs, not just one.

Dude doesn’t even have a nickname.

But that doesn’t mean that he’s not getting noticed.

Pro Football Focusrates Will Geary as the top interior defensive lineman in the Big 12 with a midseason grade of 90.0. That number rates higher than all but two players in the Big 12 (Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with a 92.9 and Texas Tech linebacker Dakota Allen with a 90.4).

“My girlfriend showed me that,” he said. “It’s good encouragement. I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing and keep everybody watching.”

What Will Geary has done is unprecedented at Kansas State. He is the only defensive tackle in school history to earn first team all-conference honors in back-to-back years (2015 and 2016). It’s likely that he’ll three-peat this year.

Mostly a run-stopper in the early years of his career, he’s added pass rushing to his repertoire. He leads the Wildcats defense with three sacks.

“That was one thing I definitely wanted to work on last off-season, transitioning from run defense to pass defense,” he said. “We’ve had good coverage, and I’ve gotten a couple of hurries, and that’s led to a few sacks.

“There were times last year where I could get a good rush, but I’m more consistent this year. I just watched a lot of film. The game gets slower as you get older. You work on your reaction time.

“There are things I could have done better (in the first six games), but the last go-round I’ve been trying to give it my all in practice each day and in every game.”

As a freshman, he totaled 30 tackles, 2.5 for loss. The next two years he had 45 tackles each year, with 6.5 and 7 TFLs. This year,he’s on pace for 40 tackles, 11 for loss and five sacks through seven games.

Will Geary is uncomfortable talking about himself. But he’s downright loquacious when the subject is team success. After a loss to TCU, he barely acknowledged the frustration level of the team.

“We’ve just got to come in prepared on Monday,” he said. “Coach Snyder said, ‘I’m going to do my best to get you guys ready for next week. I’m going to need you to buy in, to go along with it and give me your all.’ It was a quiet locker room, but we know what we’ve got to do. We have to see where coach Snyder can take us.

“(Our rush defense) was good (against TCU). We could have gotten a better pass rush though, to help our DBs out. At one point, they were covering their receivers for seven seconds or so. They weren’t very happy about that. That’s something we have to work on.”

Geary is a little melancholy about having only a few games remaining in his Kansas State career.

“I think it’s pretty natural on the last go-round,” he said. “Everybody wishes they would have felt it before, but you’ve got to help the rest of the team get going and feel that sense of urgency.

“You never lose these memories of hanging out every single day of the week. I guess we have NCAA time restrictions, but it’s nice to be with them.”

As far as NFL hopes, he’s heard there’s some interest, but he doesn’t think too much about it.

“I can only take it one day at a time,” he said. “We’ll see what they see. I’ll put it out there and give it a shot.”

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Article by David Smale

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