Faces in KS: Denzel Goolsby

KSU commit, Denzel Goolsby, of Carroll looks to lead his squad to 5A title. (courtesy photo).
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Sep 25, 2014

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One of the biggest recruits in Kansas is finally getting his time to shine for the 5A number one ranked, Bishop Carroll Eagles. Not only is senior athlete, Denzel Goolsby, one of the top players in Kansas, he’s also an outstanding leader in his school.

“As a person he’s a very special kid, he’s been on our leadership team at our school since he’s been a sophomore, which is very rare here at Bishop Carroll,” head football coach Alan Schuckman said.  “He does all the things off the field right and you can tell that when he comes on the field. He’s not just our best player, he’s also our hardest worker.”

Goolsby, a 5-foot-11 195 pound senior all-purpose back, features several tools that a college coach drools over.  He has 4.48 speed, a bench press of 330 pounds, and a 33-inch vertical. Ultimately what led Kansas State coaches in offering him on June 23rd of this summer. Goolsby was all K-State as he pulled the trigger quick by committing to the Wildcats on June 25th.

“It was a pretty easy choice actually.  I feel like it's the best fit for me all around. I love the coaching staff and have developed a good relationship with them. K-State is close enough where family and friends can watch me play and also having the opportunity to represent my home state is such an honor and a blessing. I'm excited to play for a school with such a good tradition and incredible atmosphere.” Goolsby said.

Goolsby didn’t lead the state or rank near the top in any stats last season or receive any big time honors, probably because he did a little bit of everything for the Eagles who finished 10-1 in 2013. Carroll also had a loaded roster of athletes to get the ball over the last couple seasons. Despite limited touches, Goolsby had 505 yards rushing (12 TD) and added another 322 yards and three touchdowns receiving.  Now he is "the guy" and is off to a huge start with 470 rushing yards in three games, nearly passing his rushing total from 2013.

“He’s the go to guy this year, in years past he definitely had the ability but he waited his turn because we had other people to get the ball to,” Schuckman said. “We have to find a way to get the ball in his hands as many times as we can.”

Carroll is off to a 3-0 start in 2014 and currently the number one ranked team in the latest Kpreps poll. They have outscored opponents 148-to-21 in 2014, including a 49-7 victory over rival Kapaun Mt. Carmel last Friday.

“I am happy with that we are off to a good start, but I am not satisfied,” Goolsby said. “There is always room for improvement and we don’t dwell on past accomplishments or wins. We expect to win state championships, that is our goal”.

The Eagles are 26-1 over the past three football seasons with their only loss coming in the 5A playoffs last season against eventual state runner-up Salina South (21-19). Goolsby and company are ready for another state title after winning it all in 2012 with a perfect 13-0 record. Carroll has had 21 playoff appearances as a school with two state titles in the playoff era (1978, 2012). They are currently the favorite, by many, to add a third state title in 2014. But first, they have a huge match-up against city league opponent, Wichita Heights (3-0) on Friday, the number two 5A team in the state. We caught up with Denzel below…

Q&A w/ Goolsby

How did you get involved in athletics?

I started playing football for the Wichita Wolverines in 3rd grade

Talk about how last football season went for you and your team?

We won 10 straight games before losing to Salina South, 21-19, in the Class 5A quarterfinals. That loss ended a 23-game winning streak. Last season was a disappointment for us. Even though we had a good record, that's the standard we hold ourselves to at Bishop Carroll - We expect to win a state championship and that is always the goal.

Any goals for you this season?

Doing whatever I can to help my team win a state championship. 

What are the teams expectations in 2014?

Winning a State Championship

What will it take to make a run in 5A this season?

Coming ready to play every game. We know we have the talent to make a run in the playoffs, it's about going out and executing on Friday nights.

What do your opponents look like this season?

A lot of the teams that we go against have a lot of talent. Our schedule is harder than it was last year, but we like that. We aren't looking past anybody. We're just going to take it one week at a time and focus on getting better week in and week out.

What's it like to play in the Kapaun game?

Kapaun is always a special game. There's a lot of hype that surrounds it, we have always treated it the same way we would any other game and that's trying to improve with every game. 

How has the season went so far for you?

 I'm happy that we are off to a good start, but I'm not satisfied with what I've done or what we have done as a team. There is always room for improvement and we don't dwell on past accomplishments or wins

Talk about some of the key players for the Eagles? 

Colton Howell at quarterback can run the ball down the field or get it done through the air. He's not afraid of contact and that's always fun to see a QB lower his shoulder.  

Noah Johnson is the anchor of the offensive line. He's a very physical tackle and is the type of lineman a running back loves to run behind. 

Blake Newell at inside receiver helps the offense run smooth. He will catch passes, but is just as willing to go out and make great blocks. He's one of the toughest teammates I've ever played with. 

Mark Quaney at strong safety and Josh Hornback at free safety both fly around to the football and make plays. 

The entire defense is loaded with talent. Going against them everyday in practice makes the game on Friday seem a lot slower. 

 What do you use as motivation to become a better player?

 My desire and determination to be successful is what drives me. 

You chose KSU, who else recruited and what was the biggest factor in picking Wildcats?

Northern Illinois was my first offer back in April after them came Illinois State. KU, Iowa State, and K-State followed, all offering in the same week in June. Other schools such as Oklahoma State and Mizzou were recruiting me, but had yet to offer. I decided to end my recruiting early and make the decision to play for K-State. It was a pretty easy choice actually.  I feel like it's the best fit for me all around. I love the coaching staff and have developed a good relationship with them. K-State is close enough where family and friends can watch me play and also having the opportunity to represent my home state is such an honor and a blessing. I'm excited to play for a school with such a good tradition and incredible atmosphere. 

Favorite subject in school?


What is it like to grow up in Wichita?

 I love Wichita. It's big enough where you can do a lot of different things but small enough that you don't have to deal with the traffic and problems of big cities. 

How is it to play for Coach Shuckman?

Playing for Coach Schuckman is a blessing. Coach Schuckman is the definition of a role model. He genuinely cares about each player as a person first and then as a football player second. Not just Coach Schuckman, but all of the coaches stress values that are applied not just in football, but more importantly to life. From the minute you are apart of this program you are taught, discipline, leadership, hard work, respect, and what it means to be a teammate. 

Can you beat Nick Nolting (Carroll DL/state wrestling champ) in a wrestling match, or can anyone?

I was going to go out for wrestling this year, but then Nick told me that he wanted to go undefeated this year so I didn't want to ruin that for him in practice, so I'll stick to the weight room instead. Look for him to win state again this year.

Best opposing player you've faced in high school?

Kyle Wilson, linebacker from South High school who graduated last year and is now at Hutch. He brought it every single play. 

When you aren't playing sports, what do you do for fun?

I love to go fishing. I enjoy reading as well.  

One thing the average person wouldn't know about you?

I write poetry.

I have a game day good luck charm of putting toothpaste on my pre-tape before I get my ankles taped. It helps me relax. My teammates and trainers laugh at me, but I swear it works for me.