Six Named Midseason All-Big 12

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Six members of the K-State football team, led by first team selection Brandon Banks, were named to Phil Steele's 2009 Midseason All-Big 12 team, the publication has announced.

Banks was named to the first team as a kick returner, while running back Daniel Thomas, tackle Nick Stringer and defensive lineman Jeffrey Fitzgerald earned second team honors. Tight end Jeron Mastrud garnered third team honors, while Tysyn Hartman earned third team honors as both a safety and punt returner.

Currently the Big 12 record holder for kick returns in a season with three, Banks has had a banner year on special team. The Garner, N.C., native is second in the Big 12 and 10th nationally in all-purpose yardage (173.1 per game) and leads the Big 12 in kick return yards (717), kick return average (31.2) and kick return TDs (3). He is currently ninth in the nation in kick return average and tied for first in kick return touchdowns, while his current career kick return average of 29.6 yards is first in K-State history.

Thomas, K-State's workhorse on offense this season, is currently second in the conference in total rushing yards (669), while he is third in rushing average in the Big 12 and 25th nationally. With his 145 carries, Thomas is also first in the Big 12 and seventh nationally in rushing attempts, while he is fifth in the Big 12 in all-purpose yardage (125.9/game).

Paving the way for Thomas this season has been Stringer (left tackle), who made his 30th-career start and his 19th-consecutive start against Texas A&M. An All-Big 12 performer last season, Stringer has helped the Wildcats to a No. 33 national ranking in rushing offense, which included 232 yards on the ground this past week against Texas A&M and NCAA sack leader Von Miller.

Fitzgerald is coming off his best game in a Wildcat uniform against Texas A&M as he had five tackles, including 2.5 sacks for a total loss of 30 yards, while forcing one fumble and recovering another. The senior transfer from Virginia has totaled 22 tackles on the season, including 7.0 for losses, and 4.5 sacks.

A candidate for the Mackey Award, Mastrud has appeared in 42 of 43 games over the last four seasons and has started a team-best 21-straight games. The Beaverton, Ore., native has caught at least one pass in each of the last 23 games, became the third tight end in school history with more than 1,000 career receiving yards and ranks 10th in school history, first among tight ends, with 101 career receptions. He currently has 16 receptions for 196 yards this season.

A versatile athlete, Hartman is second on team in tackles with 32 and ranks third in the Big 12 and is tied for 11th in the nation in interceptions with four. He also is tied for fifth in the Big 12 and 17th nationally in passes defended. As a punt returner, Hartman has averaged 13.1 yards on eight returns.

Kansas State returns to action on Saturday as the Wildcats host Colorado at 11:30 a.m., on FCS. Tickets remain for Saturday's game, including $20 tickets for alumni and young alumni members. The most convenient way to order tickets is online at www.k-statesports.com. Tickets may also be purchased at the K-State Athletic Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum or by calling 1-800-221-CATS.