K-State baseball, football players receive honors

Sophomore pitcher Jordan Wicks pitches the ball during the team's season opener against Western Michigan on Feb. 26th at Tointon Family Stadium. (Archive photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State baseball player Zach Kokoska was selected to the 2021 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings All-Central Region First Team, while teammate Jordan Wicks was named to the ABCA/Rawlings All-Central Region Second Team.

Wicks and Kokoska are K-State’s first all-regional selections since 2014. The eight region teams are voted on by members of the ABCA.

Kokoska led the wildcats with a .363 batting average, .445 on-base percentage and .675 slugging percentage. He hit 15 home runs and drove in 46 runs while also leading the team with 19 doubles.

Kokoska was selected as an All-Big 12 Second Team player and voted into the Big 12’s All-Tournament team because of K-State’s deep tournament run. The Wildcats reached the semifinal round of the Big 12 Championship this year.

Kokoska put together the second-longest on-base streak in school history during his 2021 season, managing to reach base in 41 straight games.

Apart from being named to the ABCA/Rawlings All-Central Region Second Team, Wicks was also named an All-America Third Team and All-Big 12 First Team selection.

Wicks led the Wildcats with a 3.70 ERA and becoming the all-time leader in school history with 118 strikeouts toward the end of the 2021 season.

Starting in 15 games this season, Wicks tallied a team-high 92 1/3 innings and only gave up 28 walks, with opponent batters hitting only .249 percent against him.

According to MLB.com, Wicks is the projected 14th overall pick in this year’s upcoming MBL draft. If picked, he would become the first-ever first-round draft pick in K-State history.

Kokoska and Wicks are the 21st and 22nd All-Region selections in head coach Pete Hughes’ career.

Outside the baseball team, football’s Jahron McPherson also received recognition, being named to the 2021 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list.

McPherson is one of 42 players in the nation nominated to the Lott watch list. The Lott IMPACT Trophy goes to the college football player who exhibits characteristics displayed by Ronnie Lott during his legendary college and professional football career.

IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

McPherson is not the first Wildcat named to the watchlist. Other nominees include former Wildcats Denzel Goolsby (2018), Ty Zimmerman (2013), Dante Barnett (2015 and 2016), DJ Reed (2017), Ryan Mueller (2014 quarterfinalist) and Arthur Brown (2012 finalist).

McPherson started in all 10 games this past season for K-State, earning an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection from the league’s coaches.

McPherson led the Wildcats with 54 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, two interceptions and five total passes defended.