Kansas running back James Sims (29) is congratulated by offensive linesmen Duane Zlatnik (67) and Jeremiah Hatch (77) after a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Northern Illinois in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Sims Headlines Kansas’ All-Big 12 Selections
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A quartet of Kansas football players picked up second team honors as the 2012 All-Big 12 football awards were announced by the conference Wednesday. Junior halfback James Sims, senior offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson, sophomore linebacker Ben Heeney and senior safety Bradley McDougald were each honored by the Big 12. The selections were made by the league’s 10 head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.
Sims concluded his outstanding 2012 season by finding his name on numerous All-Big 12 teams highlighted by earning second team All-Big 12 honors from the conference office and the Associated Press.
Sims, a junior from Ft. Worth, Texas, became just the 11th player in Kansas history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season as he turned in 1,013 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns in 2012 despite missing the first three games of the season. He set a KU record by recording 100 or more yards in six consecutive games.
Sims, who led the Big 12 in rushing and ranked 18th in the NCAA in 2012, recorded a career long rush of 64 yards (vs. Texas), a career-long reception of 51 yards (vs. Oklahoma) and a career-long TD run of 59 yards (vs. Baylor). Additionally, he logged his career-best rushing game with 176 yards vs. Texas. He finished his junior campaign ranked eighth on the Kansas all-time rushing chart with 2,482 yards.
The junior halfback, who hauled in 14 receptions for 168 yards and a touchdown, also earned first team honors from CBS Sports and was tabbed second team All-Big 12 by the San Antonio Express-News.
Hawkinson also received second team All-Big 12 honors from the league coaches, Associated Press and San Antonio Express-News after playing an instrumental part in helping the KU rushing offense rank 24th nationally and third in the Big 12. Hawkinson was also tabbed an honorable mention Offensive Lineman of the Year by the Big 12.
Hawkinson, a native of McPherson, Kan., set two Kansas records his senior season. He concluded his career by starting 48 games, the most starts of any player in KU history. He also set the Jayhawk record for consecutive games started with his 48-straight starts.
Heeney earned second team All-Big 12 honors from the Big 12 coaches and the Associated Press. Heeney, a Hutchinson, Kan., native, finished third in the Big 12 in tackles with 112 on the season. He also led KU with 12.0 TFLs for a loss of 31 yards, which ranked fifth in the league. The sophomore linebacker started all 12 games for the Jayhawks, recorded five double-figure tackling games and also had a forced fumble and two pass breakups on the season.
McDougald closed out his Kansas career by ranking second to Heeney in tackles with 92, including 72 solo stops. He had three interceptions, two forced fumbles and 4.0 TFLs for a loss of 18 yards. The Columbus, Ohio native also returned punts, collecting 39 yards on four returns.
Jayhawk sophomore HB Tony Pierson earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the conference coaches. Pierson had 760 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground, including a career-best 202 yard outing at Texas Tech. The East St. Louis, Ill., native also caught 21 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Four KU players earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the Associated Press in McDougald, sophomore tight end Jimmay Mundine, Pierson and senior offensive lineman Duane Zlatnik.