Sept. 18, 2002
- by Abbey Koch, Kansas State Sports Information student assistant
If the name Allen Reese IV was called over the P.A. system for a sack, Wildcat fans would cheer...but with a look of confusion. Probably because Reese has been called by his nickname 'Tank' for almost 21 years.
"I'm the fourth generation of Allen Reese in my family - great-granddad, granddad, and dad," Reese said. "Instead of calling out the name 'Allen' and having four different heads turn at once, we all have nicknames. My grandma started calling me 'Tank' at a very young age. I don't recall when it started, but it seems like forever. Even in elementary school I wrote 'Tank' on all of my papers."
Reese, a senior defensive tackle, joined the Kansas State program as a junior after transferring from Hutchinson Community College. He looked at many other schools like Nebraska, Colorado and Auburn; however he chose to become a part of the Wildcat family.
"I just felt most comfortable here. There was a family-like atmosphere and I knew I wanted to be a part of that," Reese said.
Though Reese hasn't always been a Wildcat, he definitely made up for lost time in his first season with Kansas State. In the 2001 football season, Reese, at 5-foot-11, started at defensive tackle in all 11 regular season games and in the Insight.com Bowl, his first bowl game appearance.
Reese rates starting every game among the top of his on-field accomplishments. "I know when I get on the field I have to execute what I've learned in practice," Reese said. "I play to win and I play because I love the game. When I think of it that way, I'm never worried about whom is number one or number two on the depth chart. If you have a love for the game, it'll show because you play with heart."
Not only did Reese make a name for himself among his teammates and coaches, but also in the Big 12 Conference where he was named as the Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2001.
"This was a great accomplishment," Reese said. "Being defensive newcomer of the year was a goal I'd set for myself at the beginning of the season. Just knowing I accomplished this lofty goal made me realize I can do this (Division I football).
"If Coach Mo (Latimore) hadn't been hard on me when I first got here, I wouldn't be where I am now. Getting yelled at when you do something wrong is like little kids when they get spanked. It makes you think twice before doing it the next time."
Reese started playing football when he was five and admitted he started because it looked fun and he looked up to the other people who were playing.
"Now, I have the heart for it. Not everyone has the talent to play football at this level," Reese said. "Not everyone could be out on the field doing what I do. This is probably one of my greatest motivations to keep on going, knowing I can do something that not everyone has the ability to do."
Another motivating factor in his life is his father, Allen Reese III.
"I grew up with my dad and I admire him so much," Reese said. "No matter what my dad goes through, he always sees another side to it. He always told me 'there are two ways to skin a cat', which means to me that nothing can ever go wrong that can make you want to give up. There's always something you can do to make a certain situation better. I guess that's the kind of person I am. I never look down on anyone or go out of my way to make someone feel bad. My dad is one of the most important people in my life and has made me the person I am today."
Reese is ready for the 2002 season as the Wildcats are off to a good start with their win over Western Kentucky.
"I want our team to understand that there's a goal we're trying to reach," Reese said. "We all need to know that the only way to achieve that goal is to work hard."
Personally for Tank, he is focusing on becoming a graduate of Kansas State University where he's a Social Science major.
"I want the degree in my hand. I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college and it will make them so proud," Reese said.
On the new turf this season, Reese has set a goal for himself of becoming an All-American.
"I want to show people who doubted me and said I couldn't play because of size that I can do it," he said. "I'm 5-foot-11 going up against 6-foot-3 guys. I'll be an example that size doesn't really matter."
Watch for Allen "Tank" Reese IV during his final season as a Wildcat as he works hard to make many good things happen in the upcoming months.