Dineen, Wise lead 7 Jayhawks on Athlon Sports Preseason All-Big 12 teams
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Seven Kansas football players were recognized as Preseason All-Big 12 honorees from Athlon Magazine, led by a pair of Jayhawks who earned First Team honors in seniors linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., and defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
Senior kicker Gabriel Rui was named to the second team, while the junior duo of offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji and running back Khalil Herbert were each on the third team. Senior wide receiver and returner Steven Sims Jr., earned third-team honors as a kick returner and fourth-team honors as a wide receiver, while junior safety Mike Lee was named to the fourth team.
Dineen, a Lawrence, Kansas native, led the Big 12 conference in total tackles (137), tackles-for-loss (25.0) and solo tackles (93) in 2017. His 7.8 solo tackles per game also led the FBS, while his 2.1 TFLs per contest ranked third in the FBS. His 25.0 TFLs set a new KU single-season record. He finished the 2017 campaign ranked fourth in the FBS in total tackles. Dineen added two pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble during the season.
Dineen picked up Second Team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated, the first Jayhawk to do so since Aqib Talib in 2007. Additionally, he was recognized as an Honorable Mention All-American from SB Nation. He also earned 2017 First Team All-Big 12 honors from the Waco Tribune-Herald. He was also tabbed Second Team All-Big 12 by the league coaches and the Associated Press as a junior.
A Lewisville, Texas native, Wise had one of the best seasons of any defensive lineman in the Big 12 as he turned in 16.0 tackles-for-loss, including 7.0 sacks. His 17.0 TFLs ranks second in the Big 12 in 2017 and 11th in the FBS rankings. Wise’s 7.0 sacks ranks fourth in the Big 12 and tied for 44th in the FBS. For the season, Wise recorded 53 total tackles, one forced fumble, one pass breakup and five quarterback hurries to go along with his sacks and TFLs. Wise earned First Team All-Big 12 honors from the conference coaches and the Waco Tribune-Herald to go along with Second Team All-Big 12 recognition from the Associated Press in 2017.
Rui, a native of Hinton, Oklahoma, led the Big 12 in field goal kicking percentage at 85 percent as he connected on 17-of-20 on the season, including a career-long 50-yarder against Oklahoma State. Additionally, Rui ranked second in the conference in field goals made per game, averaging 1.7 per contest. He garnered honorable mention honors from the Big 12 coaches in 2017.
Adeniji, a Garland, Texas, native, started all 12 games along the KU offensive line, grading out as the group’s top performer. He helped pave the way for sophomore running back Khalil Herbert’s 291-yard rushing performance on his way to also picking up honorable mention honors from the league coaches in each of his first two seasons.
A Coral Springs, Florida native, Herbert played in 11 games in 2017, starting six at running back. He rushed for a career-best 291 yards against West Virginia, which ranks third on KU’s single-game rushing list. Herbert’s two-game (Ohio, West Virginia) total of 428 rushing yards ranks third all-time in KU history for back-to-back rushing totals. Herbert’s season totals of 663 yards on the ground on 120 carries, both led KU, while he averaged 5.5 yards per carry which ranked sixth best in the Big 12.
Sims, who hails from Houston, Texas, led KU in both receptions (59) and receiving yards (839) in 2017. He ranked seventh in the Big 12 in receptions and 10th in receiving yards per game, while scoring six receiving touchdowns. Sims recorded a career-best 233-yard receiving performance on a career-high nine catches against K-State. His 233 receiving yards were the most for a Jayhawk since Dezmon Briscoe recorded 242 yards against Missouri in 2009 and ranks as the third-best receiving game in Kansas single-game history. On special teams, Sims averaged 6.4 yard per return on 12 punt returns and returned 14 kickoffs, averaging 25.7 yards per return in 2017.
Lee saw action 10 games as a sophomore in 2017, starting at safety. He ranked second on the team and 13th in the Big 12 with 70 tackles, including 58 solo stops, which ranked fifth in the Big 12 and 15th in the FBS. The New Orleans, Louisiana, native made 2.0 tackles-for-loss, broke up one pass and intercepted two passes in 2017.
KU will begin the 2018 season on September 1 vs. Nicholls State. The Jayhawks will also host nonconference opponent Rutgers (Sept. 15/Family Weekend, Childhood Cancer Awareness) before Big 12 rivals Oklahoma State (Sept. 29/Homecoming, K-Club Weekend), TCU (Oct. 27/Jayhawks for a Cure), Iowa State (Nov. 3/Salute to Service) and Texas (Nov. 23/Senior Day) visit Lawrence.
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