MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Callen Barta’s journey to ending up a K-State football commit has been a wild one.
Barta, a senior at Seaman High School in Topeka, announced his commitment to K-State on Sunday.
Less than a month prior to his commitment, Barta was making some cash on Saturday’s by working in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. He was serving pulled pork in the east side club suites every fall since he began eighth grade. In fact, even in K-State’s home game against UCF on Sept. 23 he was working away at ‘The Bill.’
“I’d be watching the game, I’d have to step out of the door just to peak my head out and watch the game,” Barta said. “Over warmups [I would] have popcorn over my shoulder and I’d look out at warmups.”
He says throughout his time working in the east side club level he dreamt about taking the field in an atmosphere like that.
“I would just be like ‘It’d be pretty sweet to get to this point.’ Just to see DI athletes warming up and all that support around the, I was thinking that’d be pretty cool,” Barta said.
However, it wasn’t as simple as working at the stadium and committing to K-State. Barta is previously a Nebraska football commit. He announced his plans to play for Matt Rhule and the Huskers in June.
“When I committed to Nebraska, [K-State] was still keeping in touch with me,” Barta said. “They’ve always kept in touch with me and I’ve always been replying back to them.”
In mid-October K-State extended an offer. On Saturday, Barta took an official visit and watched K-State demolish TCU in a 41-3 win. He fell in love with Kansas State and everything it stood for.
“Hanging out with the other recruits and seeing how much like connections and ties we had being in-state guys and all the other- coaching staff, people just meeting me in meetings knowing me,” he said. “It meant a lot of having people actually know me and talking to the coaching staff I felt really comfortable around them.”
Barta says his host for the weekend was K-State freshman, and Wichita native, Wesley Fair. He also got to spend some time with Avery Johnson and RJ Garcia. Perhaps most importantly, the meetings with head coach Chris Klieman and defensive coordinator Joe Klanderman went well.
“[Klanderman] really loves my athleticism,” Barta said. “He really believes I will be the most athletic in the safety room. I’m ready to go down and play.”
K-State uses three different roles for its safeties. Barta says he’s confident in his ability to play all three.
The newest Wildcat commit is familiar with, but not related to, K-State football legend and Holton High School head football coach Brooks Barta. There is still a connection there. Callen’s dad, Jerry Barta, played high school football with Brooks Barta and Mark Simoneau at Smith Center.
Barta is a three-star prospect, according to 247 Sports. He’s the No. 10 player in Kansas for the class of 2024. He is also the eighth commitment for K-State in that class.