Dec 02, 2021 5:26 PM

Sixteen Wildcats Earn All-Big 12 Recognition

Posted Dec 02, 2021 5:26 PM

MANHATTAN, Kan. – With four players landing on the first team – including Big 12 co-Defensive Lineman of the Year Felix Anudike-Uzomah – a total of 16 Kansas State football players earned postseason accolades as the Big 12 announced the coaches’ All-Big 12 selections on Thursday.

Joining Anudike-Uzomah on the first team was offensive lineman Cooper Beebe, kick returner Malik Knowles and defensive back Russ Yeast. K-State’s second-team selections were running back Deuce Vaughn and fullback Jax Dineen.

K-State had nine players pick up honorable mention accolades at their respective positions: defensive back Julius Brents, linebackers Cody Fletcher and Daniel Green, defensive tackle Eli Huggins, offensive lineman Noah Johnson, defensive back Jahron McPherson, offensive lineman Josh Rivas, defensive back Reggie Stubblefield and punter Ty Zentner. Knowles also earned an honorable mention nod as a wide receiver.

Additionally, defensive end Nate Matlack earned votes for the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year award, Anudike-Uzomah for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Knowles for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year, Vaughn for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and Yeast for Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Anudike-Uzomah is the fourth Wildcat to earn the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year award since the conference began the honor in 2006, while he is the first K-State player to earn the nod since Jordan Willis in 2016. Anudike-Uzomah ranks second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally in sacks (11.0), while he is first in the nation in forced fumbles (6). His sack total includes a school-record tying 4.0 against TCU, and he also forced two fumbles against the Horned Frogs.

Knowles’ inclusion on the first team as a returner marks the 15th time in the 26-year existence of the Big 12 – and eighth time in the last nine years – that a Wildcat was a First Team All-Big 12 returner. A product of Mansfield, Texas, Knowles leads the nation in both kickoff-return average (32.9 yards per return) and touchdowns (2), as his scores went for 99 yards at Oklahoma State and 93 yards the next week against Oklahoma.

A product of Kansas City, Kansas, Beebe is the only freshman or sophomore to earn First Team All-Big 12 honors this season. He is the Wildcats’ first offensive lineman to earn First Team All-Big 12 accolades since Dalton Risner in 2018, while he is the first to pick up the honor as a freshman or sophomore since Risner in 2016. Beebe started all 12 games at left tackle, but he was versatile enough to fill in at right guard during games throughout the season.

Yeast, who came to K-State as a transfer from Louisville, leads the Big 12 with 13 passes defended, which includes three interceptions to tie for the Big 12 lead. He tallied four passes defended against West Virginia, the highest mark among all Big 12 defenders this season.

A native of Round Rock, Texas, Vaughn is one of only two players in the nation and the only one in the Big 12 with 1,000 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards this season. He finished the regular season ranked fifth nationally and second in the Big 12 with 144.1 scrimmage yards per game. Vaughn also ranks third in the league with 1,258 rushing yards thanks to eight 100-yard rushing games, which includes a current streak of five-straight.

Dineen, a product of Lawrence, Kansas, helped pave the way for Vaughn throughout the year from his fullback position. A seven-game starter in 2021, Dineen also caught four passes for 16 yards and rushed once for two yards this season.

Kansas State, which finished the regular season with a 7-5 record, will learn of its bowl destination on Sunday evening.

Coaches’ All-Big 12 Teams (Kansas State)

Big 12 Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year: Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

First Team: Cooper Beebe (OL), Malik Knowles (KR/PR), Felix Anudike-Uzomah (DL), Russ Yeast (DB).

Second Team: Deuce Vaughn (RB), Jax Dineen (FB).

Honorable Mention: Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year), Cooper Beebe (Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year), Julius Brents (DB), Cody Fletcher (LB), Daniel Green (LB), Eli Huggins (DL), Noah Johnson (OL), Malik Knowles (WR, Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year), Nate Matlack (Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year), Jahron McPherson (DB), Josh Rivas (OL), Reggie Stubblefield (DB), Deuce Vaughn (Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year), Russ Yeast (Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year), Ty Zentner (P).