Barnett, Lee Earn Spots on Bednarik Award Watch List

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State senior safety Dante Barnett and junior linebacker @Elijah Lee were among 90 players nationally to earn a spot on the watch list for the 2016 Bednarik Award – presented annually to the college defensive players of the year – the Maxwell Football Club announced Tuesday.

The inclusion of the Wildcat duo marks the first time since the 2012 season K-State has multiple candidates for the award, while K-State has had seven candidates in the last five years. It marks the second-straight year Barnett has earned a spot on the watch list, while Lee is a first-time honoree.

After suffering a season-ending injury in the 2015 season opener, Barnett has received a second chance on his senior season. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, product, who is tied for first among active Big 12 players with 29 career starts, enters his final campaign as the team’s top returning tackler with 181 career stops, while he is also tops with seven career interceptions. He was voted a team captain again in 2016, becoming the sixth three-time team captain in school history.

Lee is coming off an outstanding sophomore campaign that saw the Blue Springs, Missouri, native lead the team with 80 tackles en route to Second Team All-Big 12 honors from the league’s coaches. He became K-State’s first underclassman (Fr. or So.) linebacker to earn First or Second Team All-Big 12 honors since College Football Hall of Famer Mark Simoneau in 1998, while he was the first underclassman to lead the team in tackles since 2008.

Lee also finished second on the team with 7.5 tackles for loss and third with 5.0 sacks, while he recorded three interceptions, the most by a K-State linebacker since 2002.

Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced October 31, while three finalists will be unveiled November 21. The winner of the 2016 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 8, on ESPN.

Kansas State will hold its annual Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, August 13, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Details for the event will be announced at a later date. The Wildcats will also participate in Big 12 Media Day on Tuesday, July 19.

The excitement is building for the 2016 season – head coach Bill Snyder’s 25th at the helm of the Wildcats – as a limited number of single-game tickets remain available for K-State’s six home games. Available tickets for the homecoming game against Texas on Saturday, October 22, are expected to be down to scattered singles in the next few days, and the other five home games are also selling quickly as Kansas State looks to extend its sellout streak to 33-straight games.

To order tickets, fans can contact the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or at the main ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.