Offensive Newcomer of the Year Daniel Thomas led a group of five Wildcats who were named to the 2009 Associated Press All-Big 12 football teams, as selected by a panel of 20 sportswriters who regularly cover the league for newspapers throughout the league's seven states.
K-State placed two student-athletes on the first team as Thomas was tabbed the league's top running back in addition to earning offensive newcomer honors, while speedster Brandon Banks was named to the first team as an all-purpose player. Offensive lineman Nick Stringer earned second team accolades, while tight end Jeron Mastrud and safety Tysyn Hartman garnered honorable mention distinction.
Thomas had a breakout year in 2009 at the running back position as the Doak Walker Award candidate led the Big 12 in rushing yards (1,265), attempts (247) and yards per game (105.4). The junior currently ranks 22nd nationally in rushing yards per game, while he became the 11th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and was the fourth-fastest to do so.
One of the top kick returners in Big 12 and NCAA history, Banks set a Big 12 record and tied the NCAA?record with two kick-return touchdowns in one game this season while also tallying a nation-leading and Big 12-record four on the year. His five career kick return scores are two shy of the NCAA record and a new Big 12 record.
The Garner, N.C., native also leads the Big 12 and is eighth nationally with 174.8 all-purpose yards per game, ranks third in school history with 3,828 career all-purpose yards and his current career average of 159.5 all-purpose yardage per game ranks second in school history and fifth in Big 12 history. At wide receiver, Banks also led the team in receptions (56) and receiving yards (705) this past season while he also ranks seventh in K-State history with 123 career receptions and ninth in career receiving yards with 1,754.
An All-Big 12 honorable mention selection in 2008, Stringer was named a midseason All-Big 12 performer by Phil Steele and helped the Wildcat rushing attack gain 179.9 yards per game, which ranked third in the Big 12 and 35th nationally. The Topeka product started in 35 career games, including 25-straight contests to conclude his career.
A senior from Beaverton, Ore., Mastrud caught 21 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown during his senior campaign. A team captain, Mastrud appeared in 48 of a possible 49 games during his Wildcat career, while he started a team-best 26 straight games to conclude his tenure in Manhattan. Hartman, a Wichita native, led the team with five interceptions in 2009, while he also collected 54 tackles and six pass breakups.
KANSAS STATE 2009 AP ALL-BIG 12 SELECTIONS FIRST TEAM:
Nick Stringer, OL
OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Daniel Thomas, RB