K-State Places Five on Associated Press All-Big 12 Teams

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State saw five football players honored for their work during its championship season of 2022, as the Associated Press announced its All-Big 12 teams on Friday.

Leading the way for the Wildcats was defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for a second time this season having already earned the honor from the league’s coaches. A unanimous choice to the first team, he was joined on the list by junior guard Cooper Beebe and running back Deuce Vaughn, who was named to the first team as an all-purpose player.

Vaughn was also named to the second team as a running back and was joined on that list by cornerback Julius Brents and punter Ty Zentner.

Anudike-Uzomah, who has been named an All-American by multiple outlets, leads the Big 12 with 8.5 total sacks to go along with 11.5 tackles for loss, 44 overall tackles, a pass breakup and two forced fumbles. A product of Kansas City, Missouri, he carded 3.0 sacks against Texas Tech, which was tied for the fourth most in a game in school history.

Beebe, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, was named a First Team All-Big 12 performer by the Associated Press for a second-consecutive season. Named the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year by the league’s coaches, Beebe did not allow a sack among his 395 passing blocking snaps this season according to Pro Football Focus, while he has not surrendered sack in his last 28 games dating back to 2020.

Vaughn ranks second in the Big 12 and 13th nationally with 138.69 all-purpose yards this season, and he ranks 11th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 1,425 rushing yards. The Round Rock, Texas, native has 378 receiving yards this season to tie for third nationally among running backs.

Brents, a product of Indianapolis, Indiana, started all 13 games at cornerback and enters bowl season tied for 17th nationally and second in the Big 12 with four interceptions. His latest pick came in a key spot in the 2022 Big 12 Championship as he halted a potential TCU scoring drive with an interception in the end zone. Brents tallied three interceptions over the final five games, while he forced a fumble for the first time in his career in the Big 12 Championship.

A native of Topeka, Kansas, Zentner enters bowl season ranked 17th in the nation and second in the Big 12 with a 44.7-yard average, a mark that currently ranks second in school history. He has 19 punts this season that have traveled at least 50 yards, while a career-high 26 of his punts have been downed inside the opponent 20-yard line. The Wildcats’ primary kickoff specialist throughout the season, Zentner also added place kicking duties over the second half of 2022, going 9-for-9 on field goals and 29-for-29 on extra-point attempts. He sent K-State to its third Big 12 title and first since 2012 with a 31-yard overtime field goal last Saturday.

Kansas State, which was placed ninth in the final College Football Playoff Top 25, takes on No. 5 Alabama in the 89th annual Sugar Bowl on Saturday, December 31, inside the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The game kicks off at 11 a.m., and will be shown by ESPN.