Whitehair, Barnett headline K-State’s preseason honors

Senior defensive back Dante Barnett (22) celebrates after forcing a three-and-out on the white team offense in the first half of the annual Spring Game, played this year at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, April 25, 2015. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The yearly preseason accolades for K-State football have started to roll in as different national football magazines have released their best guesses on who will be the top players in both the country and their respective conferences for the 2015 season.

With no Tyler Lockett or B.J. Finney for K-State this season to fill what seemed to be mandatory spots on the All-American and All-Big 12 list, a newer batch of Wildcats (with some old familiar faces) have gained some national attention.

Headlining the honors for this season’s team are senior offensive tackle Cody Whitehair and senior safety Dante Barnett. Barnett garnered All-Big 12 consideration from all of the major national college football magazines including Phil Steele, Athlon Sports, Lindy’s Sports and Sporting News.

Whitehair received additional honors from Athlon, who named him as K-State’s lone preseason All-American while Lindy’s ranked him eighth best at his position.

Lindy’s also ranked Barnett as the fourth best safety in the country going into the 2015 campaign.

Other standouts include junior fullback Glenn Gronkowski who, in addition to All-Big 12 honors by Phil Steele (first team All-Big 12) and Athlon (second team All-Big 12), was named the ninth-best NFL talent in the Big 12.

While the majority of the 10 Wildcat’s earned their spots on the list by their performances in past regular season games, redshirt freshman Dominique Heath found his way on Phil Steele’s fourth team All-Big 12 team after a electrifying performance in the 2015 spring game.

Heath put up 374 all purpose yards in the game, which included a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 59-yard kickoff return.

Other K-State players honored included:

  • Senior defensive tackle Travis Britz (Athlon second team All-Big 12, Phil Steele fourth team All-Big 12).
  • Senior kick returner and corner back Morgan Burns (Athlon and Phil Steele second team All-Big 12 kick returner).
  • Senior corner back Danzel McDaniel (Athlon and Lindy’s second team All-Big 12, Phil Steele third team All-Big 12).
  • Senior offensive lineman Boston Stiverson (Athlon second team All-Big 12, Phil Steele third team All-Big 12).
  • Sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee (Athlon and Phil Steele third team All-Big 12).
  • Sophomore place kicker Matthew McCrane (Phil Steele second team All-Big 12, Athlon third team All-Big 12).

The Wildcats open the the 2015 season on Sept. 5 when the South Dakota Coyotes come to Manhattan.