Armstrong tabbed Preseason All-America by Athlon Sports; Six Jayhawks earn All-Big 12 honors
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., was tabbed to the Athlon Sports 2017 Preseason All-America Team, earning a spot on the third team, the magazine announced Tuesday. While Armstrong was the headliner for KU, a total of six Jayhawks were honored by Athlon Sports on its 2017 college football preview.
A native of Houston, Texas, Armstrong enters the 2017 season as the Big 12 Conference’s returning statistical leader in sacks (10.0), tackles-for-loss (20.0) and forced fumbles (3) and ranks second among returnees in fumbles recovered (2). Armstrong was a consensus first team All-Big 12 honoree in 2016, becoming Kansas’ first-ever unanimous first team selection by the league’s coaches.
Armstrong was among the best defensive players in the country in 2016, ranking fifth in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in tackles-for-loss and 18th in sacks. He tallied more sacks from his defensive end position than any Jayhawk has posted in the last 15 years with an even 10.0, including a six-game stretch where he had at least one sack in each outing.
In addition to his spot on the All-America Third Team, Armstrong was a first team All-Big 12 selection by Athlon Sports. Five other Jayhawks were honored by the magazine in its preseason All-Big 12 selections as junior defensive tackle Daniel Wise earned a second-team nod, sophomore offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji and junior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., were tabbed third-team honorees and redshirt junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., and sophomore safety Mike Lee were named to the fourth team.
Wise rushed through offensive lines for a team-second-best 10.0 tackles-for-loss in 2016. He contributed 38-total tackles, brought the quarterback down 3.0 times, broke up a pass and batted down two kick attempts – all from the interior of the defensive line. Wise turned in a career-best eight tackles with 4.0 stops behind the line-of-scrimmage against Ohio. In KU’s overtime win against Texas, Wise boasted five tackles, 3.0 in the backfield and 2.0 sacks against his home state Longhorns.
A mainstay on the Kansas offensive line in his debut season, Adeniji faced the Big 12 Conference’s premiere pass rushers week in and week out. He made the transition from high school football to right and left tackle look easy, starting in all 12 of KU’s games in 2016. A native of Garland, Texas, Adeniji registered 22 knock-down blocks on the edges his first season in Lawrence. He earned his highest coaching staff evaluations against Big 12 Conference competition, notching a grade above 80 percent in games against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas and K-State.
One of the Big 12 Conference’s leading returning receivers from 2016, Sims was near the top of the league in nearly every receiving category. A product of Houston, Texas, Sims has caught a pass in each of the 23 games he has played. As a sophomore in 2016, Sims grabbed a team-leading 72 passes for 859 yards – the most by a Jayhawk since 2009. An incredibly crisp route runner, Sims eclipsed 100 yards receiving on four occasions as a sophomore and he caught more than five passes in nine games.
Prior to his season-shortening injury in the third game of the 2016 campaign, Dineen had accumulated 16 tackles and 3.0 stops behind the line-of-scrimmage. When fully healthy as a sophomore in 2015, Dineen wrapped up 86 tackles – good for second on the team. He also logged 10 or more tackles in four games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia. Against the Mountaineers, Dineen tallied a team-season-best 16 stops.
Lee started eight games in 2016 and accrued 77-total tackles from his safety position. A notoriously hard-hitter, Lee jarred loose two fumbles and tallied six or more tackles in all but three of his 11 games played. The New Orleans native continued to improve throughout the season, notching a career-high 12 tackles in consecutive weeks against Iowa State and in KU’s overtime win against Texas. Lee also picked off the first pass of his career in overtime against the Longhorns. He finished his freshman campaign ranked fourth in the FBS in solo tackles with 6.4 per game.
KU and third-year head coach David Beaty will begin the 2017 season on Saturday, September 2 with a home game against Southeast Missouri State. The Jayhawks will also host nonconference opponent Central Michigan (Sept. 9/Family Weekend, Band Day).
Five Big 12 rivals will visit Lawrence, including West Virginia (Sept. 23/Jayhawks for a Cure), Texas Tech (Oct. 7/Homecoming, K-Club Weekend), Kansas State (Oct. 28/Sunflower Showdown), Baylor (Nov. 4/Salute to Service) and Oklahoma (Nov. 18/Senior Day, Youth Football Day).
Season tickets for the seven-game home schedule are now on sale for as low as $110. Pick 3 Flex Pack ticket packages are also available for the 2017 season. As part of the Pick 3 Flex Pack offer fans have the chance to pick any three home games on the 2017 schedule for one low price. Select a Tier 1 ticket for any three home games for $180 or a Tier 2 ticket to any three home games for just $150.
For additional information regarding Kansas football tickets contact the Kansas Sales Team by calling 800-34-HAWKS or in-person at the Allen Fieldhouse ticket office. Tickets can also be purchased via KUTickets.com.
Kansas Athletics will also be offering group discounts and unique fan experiences to Kansas football games for any group, business or organization of 15+. To inquire about bringing your group to Memorial Stadium, please contact the Group Sales Department at 785-864-6221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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