K-State football loses three players to transfer portal after Big 12 championship

Brody Schmidt/AP

The Kansas State football team was not immune to player departures when transfer season began on Monday.

Even with the Wildcats fresh off a victory in the Big 12 championship and now gearing up for a game against Alabama at the Sugar Bowl, a few seldom-used players decided to continue their college careers elsewhere.

Three K-State football players were listed in the NCAA transfer portal as of Monday afternoon.

Jaren Lewis, a junior quarterback from Columbia, and T.J. Smith, a sophomore safety from Atlanta, both announced plans to leave the Wildcats and play elsewhere next season in the morning. Konner Fox, a junior tight end from San Antonio, also entered the transfer portal in the afternoon.

None of those departures are much of a surprise.

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Lewis did not see any action this season behind Adrian Martinez, Will Howard and Jake Rubley. With Maize star Avery Johnson joining the team next semester, Lewis did not have a realistic path to future playing time in a purple uniform.

But he did contribute sparingly as a sophomore when he completed 12 of 23 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown while playing in three games under coach Chris Klieman.

He will have two years of college eligibility remaining as a graduate transfer.

“Thank you to Coach Klieman and Kansas State for the opportunity to accomplish my athletic and academic goals over the past four years,” Lewis wrote on social media. “I have learned so many life lessons at K-State and I will cherish those forever.”

Smith appeared in eight games this season and finished the year with 19 tackles and one pass breakup. He had a larger role as a redshirt freshman, when he started seven games and recorded 39 tackles and two interceptions. He also made seven tackles the year before that — before he was lost to a season-ending injury after four games.

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“To all my brothers, the relationships and memories that we’ve built are priceless to me,” Smith wrote on social media. “Those are some times that I will always cherish and never forget, as those were some of the best times of my life. It was a pleasure playing and sharing the locker room with y’all boys. I wish you all the best.”

Fox is also on the move.

The 6-foot-5 tight end failed to record a statistic this season after catching two passes for nine yards during his first two years on campus.

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“I appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to play at K-State for the last four years,” Fox wrote on social media. “I want to say thank you to all my teammates over the years. you guys are my family for life.”