Kansas State’s football program has 10 players spread across the All-Big 12 teams voted on by the league’s coaches. The teams were announced Thursday.
Freshman running back Deuce Vaughn led the way. The Texas native won the conference’s Offensive Freshman of the Year award, becoming only the second Wildcat (Tyler Lockett in 2011) to achieve that feat. Vaughn also was named to the All-Big 12 second team at running back. He’s the first Wildcat true freshman in the Big 12 era to ever earn first- or second-team honors on offense.
Fourth-year junior defensive end Wyatt Hubert was a first-team selection on defense. He was one of only three players, along with Iowa State running back Breece Hall and Texas offensive lineman Samuel Cosmi, to be a unanimous pick to the first team. Hubert also earned votes for the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and Lineman of the Year awards.
Third-year sophomore receiver Phillip Brooks was named to the first team at returner, marking the 14th time in the Big 12’s 25-year history — and the seventh time in eight years — that a K-State player earned the spot.
K-State placed three on the second team: Vaughn, tight end Briley Moore and offensive lineman Noah Johnson.
Placekicker Blake Lynch, defensive back Jahron McPherson, linebacker Elijah Sullivan and defensive tackle Drew Wiley were honorable mentions.
The Wildcats also earned votes for various positional awards: Johnson (Offensive Lineman of the Year), Moore (Offensive Newcomer of the Year) and Brock Monty (Special Teams Player of the Year).
Vaughn is one of only two players nationally with 600-plus rushing yards and 400-plus receiving yards; Clemson’s star running back, Travis Etienne, is the other. Vaughn is the only player in the Big 12 to lead his team in both categories. He ranks fourth in the Big 12 in rushing yards per game (64.2) and 10th in points per game (5.4), and is the top freshman in both categories. He’s also among the best in the country in all-purpose yardage, averaging 112.1 per game. That’s the third-best total in the Big 12 (first among freshmen) and the fifth-best average among freshmen nationally.
Vaughn broke K-State’s freshman records for rushing yards (642), all-purpose yards (1,221), yards from scrimmage (1,076) and total touchdowns (9) in the team’s season finale versus Texas earlier this month.
Hailing from Topeka, Hubert notched his second consecutive first-team All-Big 12 accolade. His 8.5 sacks tied for most in the conference and ranked 25th nationally during the regular season. He recorded 2.5 sacks against Oklahoma State, the most by a Wildcat in a conference game since 2013. He also had 13 tackles for loss this fall.
Hubert, who announced Tuesday that he was entering the NFL draft, ended his K-State career with 20 sacks, tops nationally among non-seniors and tied for the eighth most in school history alongside Andrew Shull. His 0.59-sacks-per-game average is the fourth-best mark among active players.
Brooks finished with 411 return yards (261 punt, 150 kick) this season. He scored two punt-return touchdowns in 2020, both coming in K-State’s 55-14 rout of Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown in October, marking the first time in Big 12 history a player had scored twice on punt returns in the same game. That day, Brooks also set single-game school records for punt-return yards (189) and punt-return average (47.25). The latter total was the highest average by any player in the nation (minimum of four attempts) dating back to 1996.
His 23.7-yard average on punt returns is the top single-season mark in the Wildcats’ annals, surpassing Aaron Lockett’s 22.8-yards-per-return effort in 2000. Brooks’ total also would rank No. 1 in the FBS this fall if he had enough attempts to qualify.
Kansas State’s All-Big 12 selections (voted on by the league’s coaches)
- Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year: Deuce Vaughn (RB).
- First Team: Phillip Brooks (KR/PR), Wyatt Hubert (DL).
- Second Team: Deuce Vaughn (RB), Briley Moore (FB), Noah Johnson (OL).
- Honorable Mention: Wyatt Hubert (Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year), Blake Lynch (PK), Jahron McPherson (DB), Brock Monty (Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year), Briley Moore (Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year), Noah Johnson (Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year), Elijah Sullivan (LB), Drew Wiley (DL).