For the first time since 2004 a Wildcat has been named one of the Big 12’s Preseason Player of the Year honorees. In 2004 it was Darren Sproles who was named Preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. In 2022, it’s another young man from the Kansas City Metro, as defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah has been crowned as the 2022 Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in a vote by the league coaches. King Felix was not alone on the Preseason All-Big 12 list either, and was joined by five teammates for a conference-leading six selections for the preseason honor list. Anudike-Uzomah was joined by running back Deuce Vaughn, offensive lineman Cooper Beebe, kick return specialist Malik Knowles, linebacker Daniel Green, and cornerback Julius Brents. Vaughn was one of just two players to receive a unanimous vote for inclusion along with Preseason Big 12 OPOY Bijan Robinson of Texas. And really, it’s amazing that with both being unanimous selections at running back that the two weren’t “Co-OPOY”, but I guess we’re not yet done giving Texas outside considerations for things around the Big 12 office...
The best I can tell is that the 6 selections is the most overall in the past 15 years for Kansas State, and tops the previous high water mark of 5, with the latest of that set coming prior to the 2016 season (four on defense). The Wildcats also had 5 selections prior to the 2014 season, though two of those were for Tyler Lockett (so good they had to count him twice).
Also, if you somehow haven’t been paying attention, the Wildcats landed the commitment of perhaps one of the most important recruits to the program in a very long time. Avery Johnson, the 4-star QB out of Maize, KS, picked the Wildcats over serious offers from across the country, but specifically Oregon and Washington at the end. The signal caller finished the Elite 11 camp last week with honors, and is important for what he actually brings on the football field in addition to the huge cachet he brings to the Wildcats on the recruiting trail. He joins an increasingly potent group of additions to the K-State offensive room, which also includes 4-star running back Dylan Edwards (Derby, KS), high 3-star running back Joe Jackson (Davenport, FL), high 3-star wide receiver Andre Davis (Stilwell, KS), and 3-star o-lineman Camden Beebe. Johnson becomes the first top-rated player in Kansas to choose K-State since Matt Boss of Cherryvale picked K-State as part of the 2004 class.
Johnson got his final push to K-State from one of the coaches at Oregon, who made a comment that stuck with him while on his trip to Eugene a couple weeks ago.
Jackson is a new name to this list, as he committed to K-State on July 4th, the day before Avery’s decision, and the 6’0 185lb back picked K-State over offers from Louisville, Rutgers, Duke, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Iowa State and several other P5 programs.
And it’s not all offense. After the flurry of commits to end June, July kicked off with the commitment of 3-star cornerback Donovan McIntosh on the 1st, as the St. Louis native became the first commitment from Missouri for the 2023 class. McIntosh, a 6’3” 170lb true corner that has been likened to Julius Brents, chose the Wildcats over Arkansas and Nebraska, as well as a big group of G5 schools and KU.
With the trio to start July, the Wildcats now hold 12 commits for the 2023 class, a group that includes 6 Kansans, including two of the top three players in the state in Johnson and Edwards.
The TBT Tournament is coming up at the end of the month, and the Wildcats alumni team is getting geared up to play in Wichita to start the tournament. One former Cat, Henry “Bill” Walker is excited to get back to his “Kansas State roots” and rejoin former teammates for the winner-takes-all tournament. The squad announced Tuesday that recent grad Mike McGuirl will also be joining the team for the this summer’s competition, adding to a roster that also includes Jacob Pullen and Kam Stokes.