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44 DAYS TO KICKOFF: Ryan Mueller

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In which BracketCat counts down the 44th day until kickoff with a profile of defensive end Ryan Mueller.

Christian Petersen
RyanMueller

#44 Ryan Mueller
Redshirt Senior
6-2 | 245
Leawood, Kan.

Bio

Position: Defensive End

Previous College: None

Projection: Starter

Status: On Scholarship

Ryan K. Mueller (b. April 30, 1991) is a Kansas product who walked on prior to the 2010 season, had a breakout season in 2013 and enters his senior campaign 1.5 sacks away from the school's career top-10 list with 14.

Mueller, who was voted a player representative for the 2014 season, was a second-team All-American performer by the Football Writers Association of America, Phil Steele and CBSSports.com in 2013.

He also was an honorable mention pick by Sports Illustrated after tying the school record for sacks with 11.5.

Named the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, Mueller picked up first-team All-Big 12 honors from the league's coaches, the Associated Press, Sporting News, Phil Steele and Athlon.

He also was an All-Big 12 performer by ESPN.com and a candidate for the Ted Hendricks Award after finishing fifth on the team with 62 tackles, while he also had 18.5 tackles for loss to rank ninth in K-State history.

Mueller ranked second in the Big 12 in both sacks and tackles for loss, while he ranked eighth and 24th in the nation, respectively. He also ranked fourth in the Big 12 and 13th nationally with a team-high four forced fumbles.

He registered at least half a TFL in each regular-season game (truly an eye-popping stat) and began the season with three TFLs against North Dakota State before setting a career high with eight tackles against Louisiana.

Mueller had perhaps K-State's defensive play of the year when he stripped and recovered a fumble on a full-out dive against Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. He enters 2014 as perhaps the definitive leader and star of the defense.

In addition to tying Ian Campbell and Nyle Wiren with a co-season-high 11.5 sacks, Mueller also tied the school's single-game sack record with three at Texas Tech. He had two sacks against Baylor and 1.5 against Iowa State.

All this from a guy who didn't even have a photo on his official kstatesports.com bio at this time three years ago.

Well, all Mueller did in 2011 was line up repeatedly at defensive tackle and rush the passer from the interior in obvious passing situations, relying on his speed to beat opposing offensive guards and centers.

Although he only collected three total tackles (two solo, one assisted), half a tackle for loss, half a sack, one pass breakup and one QB hit, he made an impact beyond his statistics with the pressure he applied to passers in 2011.

Mueller increased his production in 2012 while continuing in his role as a situational pass rusher, amassing 14 tackles (12 solo, two assisted), two sacks, three tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and six passes defended.