Before Justin Eichman played right tackle at Butler Community College, he was a Kansas State football fan living in Topeka.
He was at Bill Snyder Family Stadium when K-State upset Texas 45-42 in 2006 and rushed the field when it was over. Six years later, he celebrated the same way when the Wildcats clinched the 2012 Big 12 championship by beating the Longhorns in Manhattan.
Those are some of his favorite memories. So it is so surreal for him to think about what his next trip to K-State's football stadium will feel like when he runs onto the field as a member of Bill Snyder's team. Eichman used to be one of K-State's biggest fans. He will soon be its biggest offensive lineman.
"That will definitely be cool," Eichman said in a phone interview. "I have a lot of family up around there, and we have always talked about how great it would be to play football at Kansas State. It's always been a dream of mine, and it will be a cool opportunity."
K-State’s latest football commitment will be hard to miss when he suits up for the Wildcats next season.
Eichman, a 6-foot-9, 350-pound offensive tackle at Butler Community College, is one of the biggest recruits K-State has added in some time.
The tallest player currently listed on K-State’s roster is Nick Kaltmayer at 6-8, while the heaviest is Abdul Beecham at 310.
"I wasn't always this big," Eichman said. "Back in high school (Topeka Hayden) I was around 6-8, 280. Then I came into Butler and redshirted and got bigger every year. I got to be about this size last year and started putting my frame to good use with footwork and reach."
Eichman announced his pledge to the Wildcats on Friday via Twitter after serving as Butler’s starting right tackle as a redshirt freshman. He also had a scholarship offer from South Alabama for next season and said he received interest from Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Texas-San Antonio and Washington State for returning to Butler as a sophomore and transferring in 2019.
K-State began seriously recruiting him last week at Butler's spring game. Things moved fast from there. Once the Wildcats offered a scholarship for next season, he committed.
Eichman will have three years of eligibility with the Wildcats. As a junior-college transfer, he can play next season.
He will likely provide blocking depth next year at both tackle positions. K-State returns all five starters from its offensive line, including left tackle Scott Frantz and right tackle Dalton Risner. Kaltmayer also has starting experience, as he filled in for Risner during various games last season.
Believe it or not, that was a plus for Eichman.
"I know Dalton Risner is an All-American," The opportunity to learn from him would be tremendous."
Eichman's late commitment boosts K-State’s 2018 recruiting class up to 22 members. He will join fellow Butler commits Luke Sowa and Tyquilo Moore with the Wildcats.
He originally hoped to play for K-State directly out of high school, but didn't receive much recruiting interest until Butler came along. He jumped at the opportunity to play with the Grizzlies, knowing he could potentially transfer to K-State if he played well enough.
He can't wait to take that next step and live out a dream.
"This has always been in the back of my mind," Eichman said. "My mom went to K-State and both my parents are fans. I was raised to cheer for the Wildcats. The whole time I was at Butler I kept up with K-State sports."