Six Jayhawks Earn Recognition on Phil Steele Preseason All-Big 12 Teams

May 17, 2012

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Kansas senior safety Bradley McDougald, senior defensive end Toben Opurum and senior tight end Mike Ragone were all selected preseason All-Big 12 Third Team by Phil Steele Magazine on Thursday, which highlighted KU’s six selections to the Phil Steele all-conference teams.

Senior offensive linemen Tanner Hawkinson and Duane Zlatnik and junior linebacker Darius Willis were also selected fourth team preseason All-Big 12.

McDougald, a 6-foot-2 safety from Dublin, Ohio, was tabbed All-Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades last season. He started all 12 games at strong safety and finished 12th in the conference with 90 tackles and 67 solo stops. The senior scored his first collegiate touchdown in the season finale, returning an interception 57 yards for a score against Missouri.

Opurum, a 6-foot-2 defensive end/linebacker from Richardson, Texas, was tabbed the Jayhawks’ defensive captain for the 2012 season and earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention last year. He started all 12 games for KU and recorded 45 tackles, including a team-best 10 ½ behind the line of scrimmage. He also led the team with four sacks and seven quarterback hurries.

Ragone, a 6-foot-4 tight end from Cherry Hill, N.J., transferred to KU for his final season after completing an undergraduate degree at Notre Dame. Ragone played in 37 games in five seasons at Notre Dame and recorded 11 catches for 109 yards. Last season, he missed all but three games for the Fighting Irish after injuring his knee in the third game of the season. He had one catch for 10 yards in the season-opener against USF in 2011.

Hawkinson, a 6-foot-6 offensive lineman from McPherson, Kan., was also selected as a team captain for the 2012 season. He started all 12 games at right tackle last year, giving him a team-best 36 consecutive starts. Hawkinson anchored the KU offensive line throughout the season, helping the team rack up 534 yards against Northern Illinois and a season-best 301 rushing yards against McNeese State.

Willis, a 6-foot-2 linebacker from Houston, Texas, transferred to KU from Buffalo prior to the 2010 season. He redshirted his first year at KU, but started all 12 games at middle linebacker last year, recording 81 tackles, including a season-best 10 against Oklahoma. He also tallied eight stops behind the line of scrimmage, which ranked second on the team in 2011.

Zlatnik, a 6-foot-4 offensive lineman from Rossville, Kan., started every game at right guard for the Jayhawks in 2011 and has made 20 consecutive starts in his career. He helped the Jayhawk offense average 159.4 yards rushing per game. He was also named the team’s offensive player of the week following the McNeese State contest, when the Jayhawks racked up a season-best 301 yards on the ground.

Kansas will open its 2012 season on Sept. 1 against South Dakota State. Fans can purchase season tickets here.