Kansas State football players require only two words to describe Will Geary — the freak.
That’s what they all call him. It’s a term of endearment for the sophomore defensive tackle from Topeka, a modern phrase for strongman. The nickname is meant to compliment his head-turning strength in the weight room.
Geary puts on quite the show. When he lifts, teammates stop and watch. He has been known to squat 660 pounds, bench press 425 pounds and clean 390 pounds, continually pushing his 6-foot, 297-pound body to its limit.
“The freak … he has this attitude about him,” senior defensive tackle Travis Britz said, “where he doesn’t care how much weight is on the bar or how much weight is on his back, he is going to lift it.”
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K-State coaches instructed Geary to take it easy earlier this week and restricted his lifts to 60 percent of his personal records, but that didn’t stop Britz from marveling at the weight Geary added to each end of the bar.
“He was over there squatting 400-something, and I’m doing 200-something,” Britz said. “He just has a knack for weight lifting. His body is explosive.”
Geary’s reputation is spreading beyond K-State’s locker room.
Last month, Fox Sports college football writer Bruce Feldman included Geary in his annual top 25 list of weight-room freaks. The list was made up of players from all across the nation, and Geary checked in at No. 24.
Not bad notoriety for a player who joined K-State as a walk-on two years ago.
“We have a great strength staff, and the work they put us through obviously prepared me to get on that list,” Geary said Tuesday. “But it means nothing until you hit the field. It’s just a list.”
That attitude is among the chief reasons why K-State football coach Bill Snyder expects Geary to deliver on the field as well as the weight room this season. Geary, now on scholarship, will start the season alongside Britz in the middle of K-State’s defensive line.
Of course, topping the depth chart was hardly a surprise. Geary earned playing time in 13 games as a redshirt freshman and started five of them. He led all defensive tackles with 30 stops and made two sacks. His strength was noticeable.
“If you take two guys that play with the same technique and one is stronger, that is the player who is going to be more productive,” Geary said. “That’s why I push myself in the weight room. But I also know there is so much more that goes into it. There is still a lot more that needs to be done, so I’m going to keep working.”
Defensive coordinator Tom Hayes didn’t expect that kind of early production from Geary when he entered the program and promptly sat out a season with a redshirt, but a year on the scout team changed that perception. He created problems for decorated center B.J. Finney, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and won the team’s Overachiever Award for his work in the weight room.
“No one could stop him,” Hayes said last month at K-State’s media day. “He showed talent right away, and he has only gotten better.”
Geary should help anchor K-State’s defensive line from the get-go this season. Coaches expect he and Britz to stuff the run as well as any duo in the Big 12.
He is ready for that responsibility.
The freak wouldn’t want it any other way.