MANHATTAN, Kan. – With his 93-yard kickoff-return touchdown to open the game and set the tone for Kansas State’s 27-17 victory over Iowa State, freshmen wide receiver/returner Joshua Youngblood earned his second-consecutive Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honor, the conference office announced Monday.
Youngblood is the only true freshman in the conference this year to earn offensive, defensive or special teams player of the week honors, while he is the Big 12’s first true freshman to do so in back-to-back weeks since Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine won two-straight offensive honors in November of 2014.
A native of Tampa, Florida, Youngblood became the first freshman in school history and third player overall to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It was his nation-leading third KOR score, a mark that ranks third in school and Big 12 history. He ranks first in K-State and league history in kickoff-return touchdowns among freshmen, breaking the mark of current Seattle Seahawk Tyler Lockett, who had two for the Wildcats in 2011.
Youngblood’s house call against the Cyclones was his second-straight game with a return touchdown as he took one back 100 yards against Texas Tech. He is the only player in the nation this season with KOR scores in consecutive games and the first Wildcat to do so since Morgan Burns, which was also at Texas Tech and against Iowa State.
Youngblood leads the Big 12 in kickoff-return average at 38.1 yards per return – 12.0 yards better than any other player – and he would rank first in the nation if he had two more attempts to meet the NCAA’s required minimum.
Thanks to its 8-4 record under first-year head coach Chris Klieman, Kansas State will learn its bowl destination and opponent this Sunday, December 8.