Kansas State was one of just two schools nationally to place multiple players on the 2011 Football Writers of America Freshman All-America Team, as kick returner Tyler Lockett and offensive lineman B.J. Finney were honored Monday by the organization.
K-State joined Southern California with two players each on the squad, while the Wildcats had two of the four total honorees from the Big 12 Conference on the team.
Lockett, also the lone freshman named to the 2011 Walter Camp All-America Team, was tops nationally during the regular season with a 35.19-yard kickoff return average, 3 yards per return better than the player in second. An All-Big 12 selection by the league’s coaches and the Associated Press, Lockett ranks first in school history in average ahead of William Powell’s 34.6-yard mark last year, and is also tops in Big 12 history ahead of Chris Massey (Oklahoma State), who averaged 34.8 yards per return in 2001.
Lockett, a native of Tulsa, Okla., took kickoffs back for touchdowns in consecutive weeks — at Texas Tech and at Kansas — to become the first player in school history to accomplish the feat. He is one of nine players nationally this season to return two or more kickoffs for scores.
In addition to his kickoff returns, Lockett also hauled in 18 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns, the most touchdown receptions by a freshman since his uncle, Aaron, had six in 1998.
A redshirt freshman, Finney started every game this season for the Wildcats, including the last 12 at center. The Andale product helped K-State average 190 rushing yards per game this season. A Freshman All-America pick by Rivals.com, he was also a force up front blocking for quarterback Collin Klein, who tied the Big 12 single-season record for touchdown runs in a season and also the FBS record by a quarterback with 27 in 2011.
Finney walked on at K-State prior to the 2010 season and was the team’s top scout squad contributor last season as he was honored with the program’s Red Raider Award.
K-State finished the 2011 season with a 10-3 record and received a berth in the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas, a game that nearly 8 million people watched across the nation on FOX.