Heeney One of Eight Jayhawks Honored By Phil Steele Magazine Entering 2014 Campaign
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney was one of eight Jayhawks recognized by Phil Steele Magazine in its annual Preseason All-Big 12 awards. Heeney was chosen for First Team honors by the publication, while five Jayhawks were tabbed to the second team and two more picked up third team honors.
Heeney, a senior from Hutchinson, Kan., missed a pair of games in the middle of the 2013 conference slate, but still finished with a team-best 88 total stops, including 11.5 tackles for loss and the first three interceptions of his career. Heeney, selected as an All-Big 12 Second Team selection by the Associated Press and the conference coaches last season, was fourth in the conference with 8.7 tackles per game and ranked fifth in tackles-for-loss per game with 1.15. He reached double figures in tackles in six of his 10 games played, including four Big 12 contests.
Kansas players earning Second Team honors were seniors Ngalu Fusimalohi, Nick Harwell, Isaiah Johnson, Dexter McDonald and Jimmay Mundine.
Fusimalohi, an offensive lineman from Daly City, Calif., started every game during the 2013 season at Kansas on the interior of the line and earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors as a junior.
Harwell, a wide receiver from Missouri City, Texas, will suit up for the first time as a Jayhawk in 2014, but he compiled 3,166 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns on 229 receptions during three seasons at Miami (Ohio). He was a three-time All-MidAmerican Conference honoree during his time at Miami and finished the 2011 campaign ranked third in the NCAA in receiving yards per game (129.5 ypg) and fourth in receiving yards (1,425).
Johnson, a safety from Cary, N.C., was the 2013 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year after leading KU and ranking tied second in the conference with five interceptions. He was second on the team and 20th in the Big 12 with 73 tackles. Johnson’s five interceptions were the most by a Jayhawk since 2008, when Darrell Stuckey also picked off five passes.
McDonald, a cornerback from Kansas City, Mo., proved to be a one of the top corners in the conference in his first season as full-time starter and earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors after logging two interceptions and 12 pass break-ups in 2013.
Mundine, a tight end from Denison, Texas, finished the 2013 campaign as KU’s leader in receiving touchdowns (5), second in receiving yards (229) and tied for third in total receptions (20). He caught a pass in each of the first eight games of the season, including four-straight with touchdown catches. Four of Mundine’s five touchdowns in 2013 came against Big 12 opponents.
A pair of Jayhawks picked up Third Team honors by Phil Steele in seniors Trevor Pardula and Michael Reynolds.
Pardula, a native of San Jose, Calif., earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors at punter in 2013 after booting 24 punts of more than 50 yards, including a career-best 78 yard punt, for an average of 43.7 yards per kick. Pardula also placed 25 punts inside the 20. He concluded the year topping the KU record books in punts in a season with 84 and single-season punting yards with 3,668.
Reynolds, a Wichita, Kan., native who plays the Buck linebacker position, led Kansas and ranked sixth in the conference with 6.5 sacks in 2013. He ranked second on the team and 19th in the conference with 10.0 tackles-for-loss, while also being credited with four pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles during his junior season.
KU will begin the 2014 season on September 6 vs. Southeast Missouri State at 6 p.m., in Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks will also host non-conference opponent Central Michigan (Sept. 20) before Big 12 rivals Texas (Sept. 27/Homecoming, K-Club Weekend), Oklahoma State (Oct. 11), Iowa State (Nov. 8) and TCU (Nov. 15) visit Lawrence. Season tickets are available online at KUAthletics.com, by calling 800-34-HAWKS or in-person at the Allen Fieldhouse ticket office.
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