Kansas State and Kansas football both land players on preseason watch lists

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State senior quarterback Jesse Ertz and junior defensive back D.J. Reed were named to the 2017 preseason watch lists for the Maxwell and Bednarik awards, respectively, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday.

The honors are the first of each player’s career. Ertz is the first Wildcat to be up for the Maxwell Award, given to the College Player of the Year, since 2014 when quarterback Jake Waters was one of 20 semifinalists and Tyler Lockett was a preseason candidate. Reed’s inclusion on the Bednarik Award marks the sixth-straight season a Wildcat has been a candidate for the College Defensive Player of the Year.

Ertz, the MVP of the 2016 Texas Bowl, was one of three quarterbacks in school history to rush for 1,000 yards (1,012) and throw for 1,500 yards (1,755), while he was one of only four in the nation a year ago to accomplish the feat. He recorded the school’s 15th 1,000-yard rushing season, while he was the third-fastest player in school history to reach 1,000 rushing yards.

A product of Burlington, Iowa, Ertz enters his senior campaign holding the school’s career record for lowest interception percentage (1.52 percent), ranked fourth in 100-yard rushing games among quarterbacks (3) and fifth in career rushing yards among quarterbacks (1,063).

Reed, a community-college transfer from Cerritos College, picked up 2016 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors from the league’s coaches after tying for second on the team with 75 tackles to go along with three interceptions and a Big 12-leading 19 passes defended. A First Team All-Big 12 pick, Reed tied for third in school history and fifth nationally during the 2016 season in passes defended. He also tied for team-high honors with three interceptions, a mark that tied for seventh in the Big 12.

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., was tabbed to the 2017 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday. Armstrong is the first Jayhawk to be considered for the award since Ben Heeney was on the 2014 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list.

The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ’69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ’67.

A native of Houston, Texas, Armstrong enters the 2017 season as the Big 12 Conference’s returning statistical leader in sacks (10.0), tackles-for-loss (20.0) and forced fumbles (3) and ranks second among returnees in fumbles recovered (2). Armstrong was a consensus first team All-Big 12 honoree in 2016, becoming Kansas’ first-ever unanimous first team selection by the league’s coaches.

Armstrong was among the best defensive players in the country in 2016, ranking fifth in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in tackles-for-loss and 18th in sacks. He tallied more sacks from his defensive end position than any Jayhawk has posted in the last 15 years with an even 10.0, including a six-game stretch where he had at least one sack in each outing.

Armstrong enters the 2017 campaign as a preseason Third-Team All-America selection and First Team All-Big 12 honoree by Athlon Sports. He is one of nine players from the Big 12 Conference on the Bednarik Award watch list.

Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced October 30, 2017, while the three finalists for the award will be unveiled November 20, 2017. The winners of the 2017 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 7, 2017. The formal presentations of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 9, 2018.