Joshua Youngblood headlines Kansas State’s contingent of All-Big 12 representatives.
Youngblood, a true freshman receiver, won the league’s Special Teams Player of the Year award. The Wildcats had 14 other players honored on the All-Big 12 team voted on by the conference’s coaches, which was released Wednesday.
Youngblood is the first freshman in Big 12 history to win the conference’s player of the year for offense, defense or special teams. It is the fifth time that a Wildcat captured the league’s special teams player of the year award since its establishment in 2005, joining Morgan Burns (2015), Tyler Lockett (2013 and 2014) and Brandon Banks (2009).
Youngblood ended the regular season with a nation-leading three kickoff-return touchdowns, a mark that ranks third in both Big 12 and school history and first among freshmen. His kickoff-return average of 38.1 yards leads the conference by 12 yards per return. He also would rank first nationally if he had the two additional attempts needed to meet the NCAA’s required minimum.
Youngblood, who also was the first-team kick returner, was joined by fullback Nick Lenners and defensive end Wyatt Hubert for top honors. K-State’s second-team selections were offensive lineman Scott Frantz and punter Devin Anctil. It marked the second consecutive season Anctil earned All-Big 12 accolades, following his honorable mention nod last year; it was the first time the other four Wildcats earned All-Big 12 recognition.
Hubert tallied 30 tackles (12.5 for loss) and 7.0 sacks this fall, the latter two categories ranking eighth and second in the Big 12, respectively. A Topeka native, Hubert had a pair of two-sack games (Oklahoma State and Texas Tech) and recorded 2.0 TFLs on three occasions. A sophomore, he has 11.5 career sacks, tied for the second most by a Wildcat prior to his junior season.
Lenners has helped pave the way for a K-State ground game averaging 189.0 yards per contest, which ranks fourth in the Big 12. He finished the regular season with 13 receptions for 163 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown reception against TCU. It’s the most catches by a K-State fullback or tight end since Zach Trujillo had 19 in 2014, while his receiving yards are the most among those positions since Winston Dimel had 261 yards in 2015.
Frantz has started all 50 games at left tackle for the Wildcats since their 2016 season opener, the most nationally among active Power 5 offensive linemen and tied for the third most among K-State linemen since 1990.
Anctil is averaging 46 yards per punt, a mark that leads the Big 12 and is on pace to set a single-season school record.
Ten other Wildcats were All-Big 12 honorable mentions: quarterback Skylar Thompson, running back James Gilbert, wide receiver Dalton Schoen, offensive linemen Adam Holtorf and Nick Kaltmayer, defensive end Reggie Walker, linebacker Elijah Sullivan, defensive backs Denzel Goolsby and AJ Parker and kicker Blake Lynch.
Walker was a second-team pick by the coaches in 2017, while the rest of the group earned their first All-Big 12 honor.
Hubert also earned votes for the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year awards; wide receiver Malik Knowles did the same for the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.
Coaches’ All-Big 12 Teams (K-State)
• Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year: Joshua Youngblood (KR/PR).
• First team: Nick Lenners (FB), Joshua Youngblood (KR/PK), Wyatt Hubert (DL).
• Second team: Scott Frantz (OL), Devin Anctil (P).
• Honorable mention: James Gilbert (RB), Denzel Goolsby (DB), Adam Holtorf (OL), Wyatt Hubert (Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year), Nick Kaltmayer (OL), Malik Knowles (Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year), Blake Lynch (PK), AJ Parker (DB), Dalton Schoen (WR), Elijah Sullivan (LB), Skylar Thompson (QB), Reggie Walker (DL).