The Big 12 today announced their 2022 football awards, and although the final tally for Kansas State wasn’t as strong as the preseason haul, it was still impressive.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, junior Felix Anudike-Uzomah was named both Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, as well as being a unanimous selection to the all-Big 12 first team. It’s King Felix’s second first-team selection, and he also shared the Defensive Lineman of the Year honors last year with Iowa State’s Will McDonald as well as receiving votes for Defensive Player of the Year.
The Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year is junior Cooper Beebe, who also received votes for that award in 2021. Beebe also repeated as a first-team selection.
The other individual awards went to TCU’s Max Duggan (Offensive Player), Johnny Hodges (Defensive Newcomer), Darius Davis (Special Teams Player), and Sonny Dykes (unanimous selection as Coach of the Year); Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel (Offensive Newcomer); Baylor’s Richard Reese (Offensive Freshman); and Oklahoma State’s Kendal Daniels (Defensive Freshman).
Five other Wildcats received votes for individual awards: junior Deuce Vaughn for Offensive Player, senior Adrian Martinez for Offensive Newcomer, D.J. Giddens for Offensive Freshman, senior Kobe Savage for Defensive Newcomer, and senior Phillip Brooks for Special Teams.
In notes, the conference reports that K-State is second all-time in Big 12 individual player awards, but we’re eyeing that report with some skepticism as last year the conference reported K-State had won 36 such awards but this year reports 37. Obviously, that number should now be 39, trailing Oklahoma’s 48 and leading third-place Texas by seven awards.
Two other Wildcats received first-team selections: sophomore Ben Sinnott at fullback and senior Julius Brents (an honorable mention recipient in 2021) at defensive back. Kansas State’s four first-team selections were only surpassed by TCU’s ten, unsurprising as the Frogs went 12-0 and would be expected to clean up on the honors. Texas equaled the Cats with four first-team nods.
As for the second team, only Oklahoma State equaled K-State’s five selections. For the third year in a row Vaughn earned a second-team nod, while four Wildcats received their first honors: senior wide receiver Malik Knowles, Brooks at kick returner, Savage at defensive back, and senior punter Ty Zentner in perhaps the most egregious error in the entire selection process. Knowles and Zentner had received honorable mention in 2021.
Honorable mentions for the all-conference team went to Martinez, offensive linemen K.T. Leveston and Hayden Gillium, defensive lineman Eli Huggins, linebackers Daniel Green and Austin Moore, and defensive back Ekow Boye-Doe. For Green and Huggins, it was the second year in a row.
Completely absent from the proceedings was Will Howard, who probably should have gotten at least an honorable mention. One would presume that would have just taken votes away from Martinez, if not for the fact that Iowa State’s Hunter Dekkers somehow received honorable mention.