This punt return against Colorado merely was one of the unexpected highlights in Ty Zimmerman's true freshman season. I'm predicting even bigger things for the true junior and team captain this year.
#12 Ty Zimmerman
Position: Defensive Back
Previous College: None
Status: On Scholarship
Ty Zimmerman (b. June 23, 1990) is a grayshirt quarterback-turned-safety who has started nearly every game for the past two years and been the most reliable player in the back seven not named David Garrett.
For that, the Football Writers Association of America, Phil Steele and Rivals.com all recognized him a freshman All-American. He also earned multiple preseason accolades last summer from various football publications.
Zimmerman finished just two tackles shy of the top-five list for season tackles by a freshman in K-State history.
Whether it was making a career-high 12 tackles against Oklahoma State, returning a punt 41 yards to the goal line against Colorado or destroying Garrett Gilbert's will to live with two interceptions, he did a little of everything.
Zimmerman wasn't quite as statistically productive in 2011, but he was close. His 58 total tackles tied Nigel Malone for fifth-best on the team and he still had two interceptions, although Malone stole the show last year with seven.
In 2012, Zimmerman already has been elected a team captain and, along with Malone, should be a steady leader in the secondary. Ironically, if Thomas Ferguson is the other safety, Zimmerman will be the only non-senior DB.
And he's being left off preseason watch lists this summer (except for Phil Steele) in favor of the flashier Malone.
That seems a great mistake and oversight to me, and it should translate into a very motivated starter at free safety.