MANHATTAN, Kan. – Led by first-team members Weston Hiebert, Jared Loomis, Zach Nemechek and Curry Sexton, Kansas State had seven football players earn Academic All-Big 12 honors as the Big 12 Conference announced the teams on Thursday.
K-State, which has led the Big 12 in both football and all-sport graduation rate in four of the last five seasons, also had Collin Klein, Kyle Klein and Tyler Lockett earn second-team accolades.
It was the first-career honor for Hiebert (Agricultural Econmonics), while Loomis (Civil Engineering), Nemechek (Life Sciences) and Sexton (Marketing) picked up first-team honors for a second-straight season. Collin Klein (Finance) was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team for a fourth-straight year, while Kyle Klein (Industrial Engineering) and Lockett (Business Administration) were first-time honorees.
Since head coach Bill Snyder’s return in 2009, Kansas State has seen a considerable increase in Academic All-Big 12 honorees as the Wildcats have produced 49 accolades in the last four seasons, including 31 first-team honors.
In addition, Collin Klein is one of 10 players on the 2012 roster who has already earned degrees from K-State. Those 10 players include four community-college transfers and two four-year transfers, while nine of the 10 have earned starting roles this season for the Wildcats. The other nine graduates are Javonta Boyd, Anthony Cantele, Ryan Doerr, Roman Fields, Chris Harper, Zach McFall, Jarard Milo, Justin Tuggle and Braden Wilson.
Nominated by each institution’s director of student-athlete support services, the football academic all-league squad consisted of 82 first-team members combined with 49 on the second team. First-team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA, and the second team are those who have a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.
To qualify, student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of their team’s scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible.
No. 1 Kansas State returns to action this Saturday with a 7 p.m., contest against Baylor at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas. The game will be shown nationally on ESPN, while fans can hear the contest on the K-State Sports Network, SIRIUS satellite radio channel 113 and XM channel 85.