13 Reasons Kansas State Wildcats Had A Great Football Season


While Bill Snyder prepares for post-season play, the Big 12 Conference coaches recognized many Kansas State Wildcat players for a great season.

Led by three Kansas State Wildcats who earned player of the year honors, 13 members of this year’s football team earned accolades from the Big 12 as the conference announced the coaches’ All-Big 12 selections and specialty awards this week, according to a media release.

Senior defensive end Jordan Willis was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in addition to being a unanimous selection on the All-Big 12 First Team.

Sophomore defensive back D.J. Reed picked up Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year and First Team All-Big 12 honors, while redshirt freshman defensive end Reggie Walker was named the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. The four specialty awards by the Wildcats this year improved their total to 17 since the 2011 season, five more than any other team in the league.

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In addition to Willis and Reed, K-State’s other First Team All-Big 12 selections included fullback Winston Dimel, offensive lineman Dalton Risner, kick returner Byron Pringle and linebacker Elijah Lee. The six Wildcats on the first team were the second-most to conference champion Oklahoma and marked the second time in the last three years K-State garnered six first-team selections.

Six other Kansas State Wildcats earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 accolades in defensive back Dante Barnett, defensive tackle Will Geary, kick returner Dominique Heath, linebacker Charmeachealle Moore, offensive lineman Reid Najvar and tight end Dayton Valentine. Pringle was also an honorable mention pick at wide receiver, while Lee picked up votes for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Willis swept Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors from both the coaches and Associated Press. He became the fourth Wildcat to earn the honor from the coaches, joining linebacker Arthur Brown (2012), defensive back Terence Newman (2002) and linebacker Mark Simoneau (1999).

Walker, a product of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, is the Wildcats’ first Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year since Terry Pierce was honored in 2000. The redshirt freshman has 6.5 sacks and 11.0 TFLs to rank fifth and sixth in the Big 12, respectively. His 6.5 sacks also rank second in school history among freshmen.

Dimel is a repeat first-team honoree as he had 12 rushing touchdowns to tie for second in the conference and rank third in school history among sophomores.

A product of Wiggins, Colorado, Risner has led an offensive line that has pushed the Wildcats into the top 10 in several rushing categories, including a first-place ranking in yards per carry (5.26), third in rushing yards per game (232.9), fourth in total rushing yards (2,795) and seventh in rushing touchdowns (36).

Pringle, a community-college transfer, leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth nationally with a 28.7-yard average on kickoff returns, which is highlighted by a 99-yard touchdown against Texas Tech.

Lee, a native of Blue Springs, Missouri, leads the team with 98 tackles this year, including 5.5 TFLs and three interceptions.

Riding momentum by winning five of its last six, Kansas State (8-4, 6-3 Big 12) will take on Texas A&M (8-4 SEC) in the 2016 AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium on Wednesday, December 28.

Coaches’ All-Big 12 Teams (Kansas State)
Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year: Jordan Willis (DE).
Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year: D.J. Reed (DB).
Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year: Reggie Walker (DE).
Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year: Jordan Willis (DE).
First Team: Winston Dimel (FB), Dalton Risner (OL), Byron Pringle (KR/PR), Jordan Willis (DE), Elijah Lee (LB) and D.J. Reed (DB).
Honorable Mention: Dante Barnett (DB), Will Geary (DL), Dominique Heath (KR/PR), Elijah Lee (Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year), Charmeachealle Moore (LB), Reid Najvar (OL), Byron Pringle (WR) and Dayton Valentine (TE).