Banks, Thomas Lead Cats on All-Big 12

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State placed a total of seven student-athletes on the 2009 All-Big 12 football teams, led by Special Teams Player of the Year Brandon Banks and Offensive Newcomer of the Year Daniel Thomas, conference officials announced Tuesday. Selections were made by the Big 12 head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players.

A Big 12-best four Wildcats earned first team all-conference honors on offense as Banks (kick returner), Thomas (running back), Jeron Mastrud (tight end) and Nick Stringer (offensive line) garnered accolades from the league's coaches. The four first team honorees were the most for a Wildcat team since 2002 and the most on the offensive side of the ball since 2000.

Banks was also named to the second team as a wide receiver, while defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald, safety Tysyn Hartman and defensive back Joshua Moore earned honorable mention accolades. Head coach Bill Snyder also received honorable mention coach of the year honors after leading the Wildcats to a second-place division finish.

Banks' honor as the special teams player of the year was the first of its kind for a Wildcat and also marked the first time since 2002 that a K-Stater earned player of the year accolades. Terence Newman took top defensive honors that season.

One of the top kick returners in Big 12 and NCAA history, Banks set a Big 12 record and tied the NCAA record with two kick-return touchdowns in one game this season while also tallying a nation-leading and Big 12-record four on the year. His five career kick return scores are two shy of the NCAA record and a new Big 12 record.

The Garner, N.C., native also leads the Big 12 and is eighth nationally with 174.8 all-purpose yards per game, ranks third in school history with 3,828 career all-purpose yards and his current career average of 159.5 all-purpose yardage per game ranks second in school history and fifth in Big 12 history. At wide receiver, Banks also led the team in receptions (56) and receiving yards (705) this past season while he also ranks seventh in K-State history with 123 career receptions and ninth in career receiving yards with 1,754.

Thomas became the third straight Wildcat to earn offensive newcomer of the year accolades after Deon Murphy took the honor in 2007 and Banks last season. In all, Kansas State has now had a league-best nine players earn conference newcomer of the year honors since 1996.

Thomas had a breakout year in 2009 at the running back position as the Doak Walker Award candidate led the Big 12 in rushing yards (1,265), attempts (247) and yards per game (105.4). The junior currently ranks 22nd nationally in rushing yards per game, while he became the 11th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and was the fourth-fastest to do so.

A senior from Beaverton, Ore., Mastrud caught 21 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown during his senior campaign. A team captain, Mastrud appeared in 48 of a possible 49 games during his Wildcat career, while he started a team-best 26 straight games to conclude his tenure in Manhattan.

Mastrud caught 106 passes for 1,219 yards and three touchdowns during his four-year career. His 106 receptions are tied for the 10th-most in school history, but tops among tight ends, while his 1,219 receiving yards rank second among tight ends in school history. He also caught at least one pass in 26 straight games, the second-longest streak since 1990.

An All-Big 12 honorable mention selection in 2008, Stringer was named a midseason All-Big 12 performer by Phil Steele and helped the Wildcat rushing attack gain 179.9 yards per game, which ranked third in the Big 12 and 35th nationally. The Topeka, Kan., product started in 35 career games, including 25-straight contests to conclude his career.

Brandon Banks, KR/PR; Jeron Mastrud, TE; Nick Stringer, OL; Daniel Thomas, RB

Brandon Banks, WR

Jeffrey Fitzgerald, DE; Tysyn Hartman, DB; Joshua Moore, DB; Bill Snyder, Coach of the Year