K-State’s Hayes Earns Nod as Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Thanks to a career-high 11 tackles in Kansas State’s 10-9 victory at Iowa State, senior safety Josh Hayes has been named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday.

Hayes was the leading tackler for a stifling defense that allowed its fewest points since last year’s season opener against Stanford (7), the fewest in a Big 12 game since the 2018 Texas Tech contest (6) and the fewest in a Big 12 road contest since the 2016 TCU game (6).

K-State surrendered just 276 total yards to the Cyclones, including just 78 rushing yards. It was the fewest rushing yards allowed since West Virginia gained 74 yards last season and the fewest in a Big 12 road game since Baylor had 71 yards in 2020.

A product of Lakeland, Florida, Hayes also had a five-yard tackle for loss and a pass breakup at Iowa State. Hayes, who came to K-State as a transfer from Virginia, ranks third on the team in both tackles (33) and tackles for loss (4.5). A cornerback through his entire collegiate career, he moved to free safety this year and is closing in on posting his career-best season for tackles (59 in 2019), while he already has more tackles for loss than the previous four years of his career combined (3.5).

Hayes’ accolade marks the third-straight week a Wildcat has been honored by the conference and the sixth time this season. Following K-State’s win over Texas Tech, Khalid Duke was the defensive player of the week and Adrian Martinez was the newcomer of the week. Martinez was also named the offensive player of the week and Kobe Savage was the newcomer after the Wildcats’ victory at Oklahoma, and Phillip Brooks was the special teams player of the week following the Missouri game.

Ranked in the top 20 in both the Associated Press Top 25 (No. 17) and AFCA Coaches Poll (No. 16), K-State enjoys its bye week prior to traveling to Fort Worth, Texas to face No. 13 TCU on Oct. 22. The game at Amon G. Carter Stadium will kick off at 7 p.m. and be televised by either FOX or FS1.