MANHATTAN, Kan. – With four Wildcats landing on the first team, a total of 12 Kansas State football players picked up accolades from the Big 12 as the conference announced the coaches’ All-Big 12 selections on Thursday.
Junior D.J. Reed was named to the first team as both a defensive back and kickoff/punt returner, and he was joined on the list by offensive lineman Dalton Risner, place kicker Matthew McCrane and defensive tackle Will Geary.
K-State’s second-team selections include fullback Winston Dimel, defensive end Reggie Walker and punter Nick Walsh. Five other Wildcats earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 accolades in linebackers Jayd Kirby and Trent Tanking, defensive tackle Trey Dishon, kickoff/punt returner Byron Pringle and defensive back Duke Shelley. The Wildcats’ eight first- and second-team honors tied for fourth in the league.
Additionally, Geary earned votes for Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, Reed obtained votes for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year, while quarterback Skylar Thompson picked up votes for Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors.
A product of Bakersfield, California, Reed earned his second-straight First Team All-Big 12 honor as a defensive back after ranking second in the Big 12 in both passes defended (13) and interceptions (4). He also ranked 21st and 20th nationally in both categories, respectively. He was playing his best defensively toward the end of the year with seven total passes defended and two interceptions in his final three games before being sidelined the final two contests.
Reed’s inclusion on the list as a kick returner marked the 12th-straight season a Wildcat has been honored for the discipline, including the seventh time in the last nine years a K-State player has earned first-team honors as a returner. Reed ranks in the top 10 nationally in kickoff-return average (2nd; 35.3), punt-return average (2nd; 17.1), and punt-return touchdowns (10th; 1). He currently ranks first in school history in single-season kickoff return average and sixth in punt return average.
Risner, a product of Wiggins, Colorado, was honored by the league’s coaches for a second-straight season after helping the Wildcats finish the regular season ranking second in the Big 12 in rushing at 186.7 yards per game. K-State has recorded six games with at least 200 rushing yards this year, including a 268-yard output against Oklahoma and 217 yards in a win at No. 10 Oklahoma State.
McCrane, a native of Brownwood, Texas, leads the Big 12 and ranks seventh nationally by making 21 of his 26 field goal attempts in addition to all 43 of his extra points. Earlier this year, Lou Groza Award semifinalist broke the school record in career field goals made – a mark that now stands at 57 – while he has five career field goals of 50 or more yards and three this year, both of which are tied for the school record.
A four-year kicker, McCrane is first in school history in career field goal percentage (86.4), while his current mark also ranks second in Big 12 history and sixth in NCAA history. He is also tops the K-State record book in career extra-point percentage (99.2) and ranks third in school history in career points (299).
An honorable mention selection by the coaches each of the last two seasons, Geary produced his best season as a senior with 43 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, the latter two setting career highs. His best game of the year came against Baylor when he carded 3.0 TFLs and 2.0 sacks, one of six games this season with at least one TFL. Geary’s 25.0 TFLs and 163 career tackles rank fourth and 12th, respectively, in school history among interior defensive linemen.
Winners of four of its last five, K-State is riding momentum into bowl season as the Wildcats will learn of their bowl destination and opponent this Sunday. Kansas State’s official bowl announcement will be made on Twitter (@KStateFB) and the official athletics website, www.k-statesports.com. Fans can preorder bowl tickets by visiting the K-State Bowl Information page by clicking here.
Coaches’ All-Big 12 Teams (Kansas State)
First Team: Dalton Risner (OL), Matthew McCrane (PK), D.J. Reed (KR/PR), Will Geary (DL) and D.J. Reed (DB).
Second Team: Winston Dimel (FB), Reggie Walker (DL) and Nick Walsh (P).
Honorable Mention: Trey Dishon (DL), Will Geary (Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year), Jayd Kirby (LB), Byron Pringle (KR/PR), D.J. Reed (Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year), Duke Shelley (DB), Trent Tanking (LB) and Skylar Thompson (Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year).