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K-State Football Recognizes Work On and Off Field at Annual Awards Ceremony

December 13, 2017
By Corbin McGuire

While bowl preparation is in full force for K-State football, the Wildcats took a few hours to recognize individual efforts and accomplishments for the 2017 season, both on and off the field, during their annual awards ceremony on Sunday.

K-State, which faces UCLA on December 26, in the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona, recognized its Big 12-leading 29 Academic All-Big 12 selections before handing out 18 internal awards to more than 20 different Wildcats.

Today's Sports Extra will highlight a few of the recipients, their accomplishments this season, and what their position coaches had to say about them.

Byron Pringle — Offensive Most Valuable Player

Pringle, who shared the Wildcats' Offensive Most Valuable Player honor with running back Alex Barnes, finished his junior season with 28 catches for 705 yards and six scores. His 25.2 yards per reception leads the country, while his 26.4 yards per kickoff return ranks 12th nationally.

In K-State's first win in Stillwater, Oklahoma, since 1999, Pringle became the first player in Big 12 history to record three receiving touchdowns and a kickoff return score in the same game.

This Saturday, however, brought a moment that will stand out more than any catch or return ever will for K-State receivers coach Andre Coleman. Pringle, who came to K-State from Butler Community College, graduated on Saturday with a degree in criminology. Coleman became emotional when introducing Pringle for this award.

Here's what Coleman had to say about his standout receiver: (Video Link)

"When I was coaching at Youngstown State, a good friend of mine that went to my high school was coaching at a high school down in Tampa, Florida, and he called me about a kid. He said, 'Dre, I've got a kid down here. He's from a rough situation. The kid just had some bad luck but he's a great kid. He's going to get passed over. Just take a look at him and see what you think.' I looked at the kid and football-wise it was a no-brainer. It wasn't a question.

"So I flew down to Tampa and had a chance to meet Byron and went to his home and met his mom. He was from a rough situation and I wanted to help him. We had it worked out. He was going to come to Youngstown State with me, and then I was blessed to get an opportunity to come (to K-State). So I got here and then (K-State recruiting coordinator) Taylor Braet came to me and said, 'Do you know anything about a kid named Byron Pringle?' I said, 'Byron? Yeah. Where is he?' He said, 'He's at Butler.' I said, 'Offer him.' Byron was a walk-on. They didn't know anything about him. He said, 'Are you serious?' I said, 'Offer him.' He did and we started to recruit him.

"It took a lot of work from a lot of people sitting here to get Byron here. But when I got into this profession, I wanted to make a difference in young peoples' lives and I wanted to do something that made a difference. I want to thank Coach Snyder for giving this kid a chance, because if (he) hadn't, I really don't know where he would be. He came here and he got good grades. He did everything the way Kansas State football is supposed to be.

"And I don't care about the football. He can play football. But the most proud moment I've had was (Saturday) when he walked across the stage, and to see his mom, and how happy she was, and to see his family, and how happy they were, it gave me a lot of joy. I appreciate Coach Snyder for giving this kid a chance because you didn't just change his life, he's got a son, you changed his kid's life. You change generations when you do stuff like that. And I love this kid. He's a great young man and he's going to do special things no matter what he does."


D.J. Reed — Defensive Most Valuable Player/Co-Special Teams Most Valuable Player

Reed has followed up his first season with K-State, which earned him the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honor, with an even more impactful junior campaign.

The Wildcats' lockdown defensive back enters the bowl season ranked second in the Big 12 and 21st nationally in both passes defended (13) and interceptions (4). Reed has earned multiple All-America honors for his on-field performance, which also includes being ranked in the top 10 nationally in kickoff-return average (2nd; 35.3), punt-return average (2nd; 17.1) and punt return touchdowns (10th; 1). His kickoff-return average currently ranks first in Big 12 history for a single-season.

Defensive coordinator Tom Hayes had plenty of praise for the 5-foot-9 Reed, who started his collegiate career as a walk-on at Fresno State before playing one season at Cerritos College (California) and transferring to K-State.

Hayes: "This guy's been here for two years and he came here with talent and he's developed it every day he's been here. That's who he is. He's highly coachable. He's eager to learn. You see him up here when you drive by the facility on the weekend, when (coaches) have something we're doing and we're off and his car's sitting right up here. It's the only one in the lot. He's up here studying tape all the time. That's just who he is. It's really important to him and it's certainly shows in his play. Besides that he's just a great kid, has been since the day he got here. And he's a heck of a student as well. This guy is going places."

Trent Tanking — Co-Joan Friederich Award/Co-Outstanding Defensive Front Seven Award

A former walk-on, Tanking took on a starting role for the first time this season and thrived in it. The Holton product led K-State with 96 tackles to go with four basses broken up and one forced fumble.

The former special teams standout and current team captain earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors from the conference's coaches. Pro Football Focus named him as a First Team All-Big 12 selection.

Here is what assistant defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Blake Seiler shared about Tanking, a two-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 honoree who will graduate in May with a degree in industrial engineering.

Seiler: "A lot of people don't know that Trent was actually a basketball player first and he played football as something else to do. We talked him into walking on and boy we're really glad he chose to come here because Trent's been here five years now and every single year we're giving him one of these awards because of the type of guy that he is. He's totally unselfish. Whatever his role is, whatever we ask him to do, he does it 100 percent. He comes to practice every single day with a great attitude, a great work ethic, and he was just a tremendous leader for us on and off the field.

"I can't say enough good things about him. He has totally dedicated himself to this program and what we're all about. Everything that we founded this program on, he embodies it. He's a great leader on and off the field. He's a great worker when things aren't going right. It's easy to lead when you're winning and everything's going your way, but when you start losing or it gets really hot out there in the summer, this is the guy that stepped up. We talk about it all the time, if you're going to be a leader you can't just do it when things are going well. You have to do it when things are going bad as well, and Trent's been that guy for us. It's no surprise to us how he played this year. He's probably sick of people telling him he's not fast enough to play linebacker in the Big 12, and I'm proud he was able to prove that he is this year."

Full Awards Ceremony Video Link

2017 K-State Football Awards
Overachiever Award – Bernard Goodwater
Red Raider Award – Nick Ast and Mitch Copeland
Scholar-Athlete Award – Zach Reuter
Purple Pride Award – Colby Moore
Ken Ochs Courage Award – Tanner Wood, Jesse Ertz and Reggie Walker
Kevin Saunders Never Give Up Award – Alex Delton and Dalvin Warmack
Bob Cope Memorial Award – Davis Clark
Nancy Bennett Memorial Award – Winston Dimel
Anthony A. Bates Memorial Award – Brogan Barry
Joan Friederich Award – Trent Tanking and Dayton Valentine
Jim "Shorty" Kleinau Award – Drew Scott and Nick Walsh
Most Improved Defensive Player – Jayd Kirby and Kendall Adams
Most Improved Offensive Player – Dalton Schoen and Skylar Thompson
Outstanding Defensive Front Seven Award – Will Geary and Trent Tanking
Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award – Dalton Risner
Special Teams Most Valuable Player – Matthew McCrane and D.J. Reed
Defensive Most Valuable Player – D.J. Reed
Offensive Most Valuable Player – Byron Pringle and Alex Barnes



We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Corbin McGuire, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.


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