When good things happen, other good things just seem to happen. And fresh on the heels of K-State’s third straight route of a Big 12 opponent, Wildcat defensive end Ryan Mueller has been named not only the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the second straight week, but was also named to the Ted Hendricks Award Watch List.
Mueller received his second Defensive Player of the Week designation after a three-sack performance placed him in sole command of the the conference lead in sacks. Not only that – the walk-on junior defensive end now leads the nation with 10.5 quarterback takedowns on the season.
The three sacks against Texas Tech tied a school record for second most in a game, and Mueller is now sixth in school history for sacks in a season while one more will tie the school’s single-season record.
His production has led to being named to the Ted Hendricks Watch List as well. Established to recognize the top defensive end in the nation, 18 players nationally (three from the Big 12) were named to the midseason watch list. Although Meshak Williams was a preseason candidate last year, Mueller is K-State’s first midseason candidate since Ian Campbell in 2008. (Campbell also holds the school record for sacks in a season with 11.5 – something Mueller seems likely to break with three games still left to play).
Through nine games this season, Mueller is also second in the nation in tackles for loss (15) and 14th in forced fumbles (3). He has been consistently getting into the backfield and creating havoc all year, and has both five passes defended and five balls broken up so far this year. He led the team in 2012 with getting his hands up and prevented passes from crossing the line of scrimmage. As many an announcer has pointed out, he’s not necessarily the biggest or fastest player around, but he plays with drive and instincts that have put him in the conversation of best in the nation.