Getting an early jump on the team’s efforts to put to bed the idea Kansas State doesn’t return enough talent in 2013, three K-State football players were named to national watch lists indicating the best player at their respective positions in the nation and even best overall – running back John Hubert, Ty Zimmerman, and B.J. Finney.
Hubert is a candidate for the Maxwell Award, which recognizes the college player of the year and named Collin Klein as a finalist in 2012. He returns for his senior year with the expectation of rushing for well over 1,000 yards this season and has a shot at the award. While falling just short of 1,000 yards last year, the graduation of Chris Harper means this will be a more run-oriented team. With Collin Klein gone he shouldn’t be expected to split as many carries and every starter on last year’s offensive line returns, setting him up for a banner year.
Safety Ty Zimmerman was named to the Bednarik Award watch list on Monday, which recognizes the best overall defensive player. Zimmerman is one of the team’s captains this year and returns after recording five interceptions in 2012. Although he may not be able to take as many chances with a relatively inexperienced set of defensive backs on the field, he was named to the Big 12 First Team in 2012 after recording the most interceptions in league play. Nigel Malone was a preseason watch list mention to the award last year, while Arthur Brown was one of 16 semifinalists.
Center B.J. Finney is one of three Big 12 players named to the Rimington Watch List, which identifies the best center in the nation. Finney has been a beast during his time in Manhattan, which we discussed during our countdown to kick-off here.
Additional watch lists are scheduled to roll out this week and next, and K-State players should be featured on more than one. Among The Jug’s picks are Cornelius Lucas for the Rotary Lombardi Award (best lineman), Hubert for the Doak Walker Award (best running back), Tyler Lockett for the Biletnikoff Award, and Randall Evans for the Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back).