Fourteen Wildcats Named to All-Big 12 Teams
Fourteen Wildcats Named to All-Big 12 Teams
Lockett - a first-team member as both a wide receiver and kick returner - and Finney are the second and third players in school history to earn four-straight all-conference designations following Ty Zimmerman from 2010 to 2013. They are joined on the first team by fullback Glenn Gronkowski, defensive end Ryan Mueller and defensive back Randall Evans.
Second-team selections include quarterback Jake Waters, wide receiver Curry Sexton, offensive lineman Cody Whitehair, linebacker Jonathan Truman and defensive backs Dante Barnett and Danzel McDaniel.
Kansas State's honorable mention selections are defensive lineman Travis Britz, place kicker Matthew McCrane and offensive lineman Boston Stiverson. Additionally, Lockett earned votes for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Mueller was an honorable mention Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year and linebacker Elijah Lee earned votes for Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. Four-time Big 12 Coach of the Year Bill Snyder also earned votes for the 2014 honor.
The 14 players named to the All-Big 12 teams are tied for the third most in school history. The duo of Lockett and Sexton are the second set of receivers in school history to be named to the first or second teams as Quincy Morgan (first team) and Aaron Lockett (second team) were both honored in 1999.
Lockett is the sixth player in Big 12 history to repeat as the conference's player of the year on either offense, defense or special teams and the second in league history to earn two special teams accolades (Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State, 2011 and 2012). He led the Big 12 with 170.6 all-purpose yards per game - nearly 20 yards per game more than the player in second place - and also paced the conference by averaging 112.6 receiving yards per game. He held a 19.0 punt-return average (361 total yards), which included a 58-yard touchdown against UTEP and a 43-yard score at West Virginia. The Big 12's leader in career kickoff-return average at 29.1 yards, Lockett also returned 15 kickoffs for 318 yards during his senior campaign.
A product of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lockett, a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, hauled in 93 receptions for 1,351 yards during the regular season to rank second in school history in both categories. The school's career leader in catches, yards and touchdowns, Lockett ranks fourth nationally in receiving yards and ninth in receptions heading into the bowl season.
Finney, a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, has started all 51 games in his Wildcat career, including the last 50 at center. He is the first offensive lineman in school history and fifth player overall to be voted a team captain three times, while he is one of four linemen nationally with 51 consecutive starts. Finney shared Offensive Lineman of the Year honors with Baylor's Spencer Drango.
One of the top blocking fullbacks in the league, Gronkowski has played in all 12 games with three starts and has been a receiving threat out of the backfield yet again. The sophomore, who was an honorable mention selection last season, has caught four passes for 92 yards - an average of 23 yards per catch - which included a 62-yard touchdown at then-No. 11 Oklahoma.
Mueller earned his second-straight First Team All-Big 12 designation, the first Wildcat defensive lineman to accomplish the feat since Ian Campbell in 2007 and 2008. The Leawood, Kansas, product came away with 33 tackles in 2014, including 9.5 for loss and 5.5 sacks. He pushed his career sack total to 19.5, which ranks seventh in school history.
Evans, a native of Miami, Florida, picked up All-Big 12 honors for the first time in his career. The senior ranks third on the team with 61 tackles, while he has paced the squad with four interceptions and nine pass breakups. A former walk-on, Evans is tied for third in the league in interceptions as all four came in conference play, including a current streak of three-straight games with a pick.
The second-year starter at quarterback, Waters has had a banner year by throwing for 3,163 yards and 20 touchdowns on 231-of-349 passing while adding 471 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. He leads the Big 12 in passing efficiency among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts with a 157.6 mark, while he is fourth in overall total offense (302.8 yds/gm) and second in conference-only total offense (320.0 yds/gm).
Waters, a product of Council Bluffs, Iowa, broke the school's single-season record for offensive yards (3,303), while he ranks second in completions and yards, and tied for fourth in touchdowns.
A native of Abilene, Kansas, Sexton has 69 catches for 955 yards and five touchdowns this season after entering his senior campaign with three-year career totals of 50 receptions, 564 yards and one score. He ranks fourth in the Big 12 in receptions and seventh in yards, while he has teamed with Lockett for the most combined yards by two receivers in a single season in K-State history (2,306). With 45 yards in K-State's bowl game, Sexton can record the ninth 1,000-yard season in school history and combine with Lockett to mark the first time two Wildcat receivers have eclipsed the 1,000-yard barrier in the same season.
Truman, a native of Kechi, Kansas, carded 114 tackles during the regular season to rank third in the league. His tackle total ranks 27th nationally, while he has 74 solo stops to rank 12th. His 114 tackles are the most since Josh Buhl broke the school record with 185 in 2003, while he is three shy of entering the school’s single-season top-20 list. Truman’s total was buoyed by a 17-tackle effort at Oklahoma, the most by a Wildcat since 2003 and the most by a K-State defender in a conference game since 2002.
Barnett ranks second on the team with 73 tackles, including four for loss, and three interceptions to go along with eight breakups. Four of his breakups came against Texas en route to Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. Barnett's defensive backfield mate, McDaniel, has 55 tackles, including five for loss, one sack and three passes defended. His lone interception of the year came at Oklahoma when he jumped a route and returned it five yards for a touchdown.
Whitehair, a native of Abilene, Kansas, earned second-team honors for the second year in a row, while Britz is also a two-time honorable mention selection. McCrane, who is 16-of-17 on field goals and broke the K-State freshman record for points with 86, is a first-time honoree along with Stiverson.
No. 11 Kansas State faces 14th-ranked UCLA in the 2015 Valero Alamo Bowl on Friday, January 2, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game, which kicks off at 5:45 p.m., will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Fans can order tickets through the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or by 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.
Coaches' All-Big 12 Awards/Teams
Special Teams Player of the Year: Tyler Lockett
Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year: B.J. Finney
First Team All-Big 12: Glenn Gronkowski (FB), Tyler Lockett (WR and KR/PR), B.J. Finney (OL), Ryan Mueller (DL), Randall Evans (DB).
Second Team All-Big 12: Jake Waters (QB), Curry Sexton (WR), Cody Whitehair (OL), Jonathan Truman (LB), Dante Barnett (DB), Danzel McDaniel (DB).
Honorable Mention All-Big 12: Travis Britz (DL), Elijah Lee (Defensive Freshman of the Year), Tyler Lockett (Offensive Player of the Year), Matthew McCrane (PK), Ryan Mueller (Defensive Lineman of the Year), Bill Snyder (Coach of the Year), Boston Stiverson (OL).