Six Wildcats Earn Honors from Phil Steele

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Six Kansas State football players picked up postseason accolades from Phil Steele, including an All-America honor by senior kick returner Morgan Burns, as the publication announced its All-America and All-Big 12 teams.

Burns, who now has seven All-America awards this postseason, was named to the third team by Phil Steele and was a First Team All-Big 12 performer. He was joined on the first team all-conference squad by fellow senior and offensive lineman Cody Whitehair. Senior defensive tackle Travis Britz, sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee and senior place kicker Jack Cantele were each named to the second team, while redshirt freshman fullback Winston Dimel was a third-team honoree.

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Burns has been named a First Team All-American kick returner by USA TODAY Sports, CBS Sports and FOX Sports, a second-team pick by Sporting News and the Associated Press, and an honorable mention pick by Sports Illustrated prior to the third-team honor by Phil Steele.

Burns returned four kickoffs for touchdowns this season to tie the K-State and Big 12 records, while he had three return scores over the final four weeks of the season. Named the 2015 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year last week by the league’s coaches, Burns enters the bowl season ranked second nationally with a 33.8-yard kickoff return average, while he has 1,047 total kickoff-return yards this year to sit just 81 yards shy of breaking the single-season mark.

Whitehair, who was a First Team All-Big 12 pick by the league’s coaches and a second-team selection by the Associated Press, has played in all 51 games over the last four years with 50 starts. Regarded as one of the most versatile offensive linemen in the league, the Abilene, Kansas, native has started at both guard and tackle, including the last two years at left tackle.

Britz picked up his second all-conference designation after carding 36 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks during his final campaign. Lee, who has started his first 12 career games this season, has led the Wildcats with 75 tackles in addition to 7.5 TFLs and five sacks. Cantele connected on 12-of-14 field goals and all 29 extra points during his senior season.

Dimel recorded five rushing touchdowns in addition to hauling in seven receptions for 213 yards (30.4-yard average) and another score.

Riding a three-game winning streak to become bowl eligible for the 19th time in school history and 17th under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Snyder, Kansas State faces Arkansas in the 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl on January 2, at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The game kicks off at 2:20 p.m., will be shown to a national audience on ESPN, while it can also be heard across the K-State Sports Network and on ESPN Radio (SiriusXM Channel 80).

Public tickets for K-State fans are still available at the K-State Online Ticket Office and through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum or via phone at 1-800-221-CATS. Fans are strongly encouraged to order through K-State’s official allotment to ensure that all Wildcat fans are seated in the official K-State sections of the stadium.

Kansas State’s Honors from Phil Steele
Third Team All-American: Morgan Burns (KR).
First Team All-Big 12: Morgan Burns (KR), Cody Whitehair (OL).
Second Team All-Big 12: Travis Britz (DL), Elijah Lee (LB), Jack Cantele (PK).
Third Team All-Big 12: Winston Dimel (FB).