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Since graduating early from Seaman, Callen Barta has devoted most all of his time in Manhattan getting ready for his college football career at Kansas State.

"It's been very big for me, especially going through spring ball with all of them, really building a relationship with them and even with all the coaches and knowing the new defense,'' Barta said. "It's just been a blast, I'm having a lot of fun.''

CallenBartaShrineBowl 1Seaman product and Kansas State freshman Callen Barta takes a break during Sunday's Kansas Shrine Bowl practice at Ottawa University. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

But Barta is taking a break from his Wildcat prep this week to play for the East in Saturday's Kansas Shrine Bowl at Emporia State's Welch Stadium, jumping at the chance to get an opportunity to play in the state's premier all-star game.

 "My dad (Jerry) played in it and he told me what an amazing time he had, and I knew it was for a great cause, so it's a privilege to be out here with all my guys,'' Barta said.

Barta said that KSU coach Chris Kleiman and his staff encourages the Wildcat signees to play in the Shrine Bowl.

"We actually have a lot of K-State guys here -- me, Gus (Hawkins), Kaedin (Massey) and Holden Bass are all here,'' Barta said. "(Coach) actually recommends it because he knows it's for a great cause, too.''

A wide receiver/defensive back, Barta caught 77 passes for 1,441 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior for Seaman while recording 36 tackles and intercepting five passes, returning one for a touchdown. 

Barta is projected to play safety at Kansas State but is playing wide receiver for the East this week.

CallenBartaShrineBowl 2Kansas State signee Callen Barta heads downfield after catching a pass in Sunday's Kansas Shrine Bowl practice. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

"It's my last game at wide receiver and it feels good,'' Barta said. 

The East just reported to camp on Sunday at Ottawa University, but Barta said it's already been a rewarding experience.

"Even on the first day, meeting all the guys who I've competed with and played against, and coming together and making a bond to play in this game it's been really fun,'' he said.

Also playing for the East are former Shawnee County stars Christian Gonzales of Shawnee Heights (6-1, 270 defensive lineman), JC Heim of Washburn Rural (6-3, 225 running back/linebacker), Carter Charvat of Hayden (6-2, 220 lineman), Finn Dunshee of Hayden (5-10, 185 running back) and Barrett Lietz of Rossville (6-1, 235 lineman).

Gonzales and Heim will play at Washburn University and Charvat at Benedictine while Dunshee plans to run track at Texas Christian University and Lietz will attend Kansas State.

Washburn Rural coach Steve Buhler and Shawnee Heights' Jason Swift are serving as East assistant coaches.


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