K-State Places Five on Preseason All-Big 12 Team

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Led by four upperclassmen on the defensive side of the ball, Kansas State had five football players named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team as chosen by media representatives who cover the league, the conference office announced Wednesday.

Seniors Dante Barnett (defensive back) and Jordan Willis (defensive end), along with juniors Will Geary (defensive tackle) and Elijah Lee (linebacker) were joined by sophomore fullback Winston Dimel to give K-State the second-most players on the preseason team behind defending conference champion Oklahoma (9). Additionally, the five Wildcats on the team are the most since they placed a league-high five on the preseason squad in 2013.

Four of the five players have earned postseason All-Big 12 status in their career, including first-team honorees Dimel (Coaches) and Geary (Associated Press) during the 2015 season.

Barnett returns for a second senior year after sustaining a season-ending injury in the 2015 opener. A 2014 All-Big 12 performer who is on the watch lists for the 2016 Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native leads the Wildcats with 181 career tackles and seven interceptions.

A product of Kansas City, Missouri, Willis played at an All-Big 12 level last season, ranking second in the league in sacks (9.5) and fourth in tackles for loss (15.5) as part of his 36 tackles on the year. He ranked 24th nationally in sacks, while his four forced fumbles were 13th in the nation a year ago.

Geary, a native of Topeka, totaled 45 tackles last season, the most by a K-State interior defensive lineman since 2005. His best game of the year came against Oklahoma when he recorded eight tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.

Lee, who is on the watch list for this year’s Bednarik and Butkus Awards in addition to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, had a team-leading 80 tackles and three interceptions in 2015. He became K-State’s first underclassman linebacker to earn First or Second Team All-Big 12 honors since 1998 (Mark Simoneau) and was the first Wildcat underclassman to pace the squad in tackles since 2008.

A 13-game starter at fullback, Dimel became the first Wildcat freshman to ever earn First Team All-Big 12 honors, while he was the lone freshman on the 2015 All-Big 12 First Team. The Manhattan product recorded six rushing touchdown to rank third in school history. He also ranked fifth among freshmen at K-State in receiving yards (261) and total points (48).

K-State’s annual Fan Appreciation Day is set for Saturday, August 13, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium with details for the event announced at a later date. Head coach Bill Snyder, along with the 2016 team captains – Barnett, Willis, Jesse Ertz and Dalton Risner – will head to Dallas next Tuesday to participate in Big 12 Media Day.

Heading into Snyder’s 25th season at the helm of the Wildcats, excitement is building for the 2016 season 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 soon, and the other five home games are also selling quickly as K-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 www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or at the main ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.