K-State's football team takes the field against West Virginia at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on October 26, 2013. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State senior captains Tyler Lockett, Jake Waters and Ryan Mueller were each named to preseason watch lists for awards presented by the Maxwell Football Club, the organization announced Monday. Lockett and Waters are candidates for the Maxwell Award, presented to America's College Player of the Year, while Mueller is up for the Bednarik Award as the College Defensive Player of the Year.
Each watch list is comprised of 76 players, while nine Big 12 players are up for the Maxwell Award and 14 Big 12 defenders are candidates for the Bednarik Award.
All three Wildcats are in the running for their respective awards for the first time, while K-State has multiple candidates for the Maxwell Award for the first time in school history. The Wildcats have had four candidates for each award over the last three seasons as Collin Klein (2012) and John Hubert (2013) were up for the Maxwell Award, and Arthur Brown (2012), Nigel Malone (2012) and Ty Zimmerman (2013) were candidates for the Bednarik Award.
A Second Team All-American at wide receiver in 2013, Lockett led the Big 12 last season with 105.2 receiving yards per game to go along with 11 touchdowns. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, product broke the school's single-game record with 237 receiving yards at Texas and reset that mark with 278 against Oklahoma. Included in his game against the Sooners were 162 kickoff-return yards as he broke the school record and posted the fifth-most all-purpose yards in FBS history with 440.
Waters, who was a community-college transfer prior to the 2013 campaign, threw for 2,469 yards and 18 touchdowns on 159-of-260 aim during his first season in Manhattan. A native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Waters led the Wildcats to a 6-1 record over the final seven games as he averaged 204.7 passing yards per game with 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He finished the season in the top-15 nationally in yards per completion (fourth; 15.53) and passing efficiency (14th; 156.8).
A former walk-on from Leawood, Kansas, Mueller is coming off a stellar junior campaign in which he tied the school record with 11.5 sacks to go along with 18.5 tackles for loss. A Second Team All-American, Mueller picked up Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year honors from the league's coaches after ranking second in the league in both sacks and tackles for loss.
Semifinalists will be announced November 3, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 24. The winners of the 2014 Maxwell and Bednarik awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held December 11, on ESPN.
K-State opens the 2014 season on Saturday, August 30, with the sixth annual K-State Family Reunion against Stephen F. Austin at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The contest, which kicks off at 6:10 p.m., will be shown world-wide on K-StateHD.TV. Season tickets for the 2014 season are sold out, and only a small number of scattered singles remain for games against Texas Tech (Oct. 4), Texas (Oct. 25) and Oklahoma State (Nov. 1). Standing-room only tickets are available for the Stephen F. Austin, UTEP, Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas games.
Additionally, visiting teams will have opportunities to return unused tickets up to a month prior to their visit. Stay tuned to www.kstatesports.com for information regarding returned ticket availability. All returned tickets will be sold at the full public rate and season ticket wait list accounts will have first opportunity to purchase.