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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Safety Isaiah Johnson named Big 12’s top newcomer on ‘D’

LB Heeney, RB Sims named second team all-Big 12

Kansas safety Isaiah Johnson is looks to break away from Texas receiver Marcus Johnson after intercepting a pass during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin, Texas. Johnson intercepted two passes in the 35-13 loss.

Kansas safety Isaiah Johnson is looks to break away from Texas receiver Marcus Johnson after intercepting a pass during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin, Texas. Johnson intercepted two passes in the 35-13 loss.

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Sophomore safety Isaiah Johnson’s Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year award highlighted a day in which the Kansas University football team learned that eight players had been honored by the conference’s coaches.

Johnson, a Cary, N.C., native and junior-college transfer from Iowa Western, started 12 games for the Jayhawks during his first season of Div. I football. He led Kansas with five interceptions and ranked second on the team with 73 tackles. He finished second in the Big 12 in interceptions and 21st in tackles and became the first Jayhawk to win the award since former KU defensive back Chris Harris in 2007.

Although a handful of KU’s juco transfers fell through the cracks and made little or no impact for the Jayhawks in 2013, Johnson’s contributions were among the most valuable for a team that enjoyed significant defensive improvement, particularly in the secondary.

Johnson’s interception total was the most by a Jayhawk since former KU safety Darrell Stuckey recorded five during the 2008 season.

Joining Johnson with Big 12 honors on Wednesday were senior running back James Sims and junior linebacker Ben Heeney, who both earned second-team all-Big 12 nods from the coaches for the second year in a row.

Heeney finished fourth in the Big 12 with an average of 8.7 tackles per game, and Sims’ 1,110 yards rushing were the most in the Big 12.

Five other Jayhawks earned honorable-mention status from the Big 12 coaches: cornerbacks Dexter McDonald (7th in Big 12 with 12 passes defended) and JaCorey Shepherd (3rd in Big 12 with 13 pass break-ups), offensive lineman Ngalu Fusimalohi, tight end Jimmay Mundine (KU leader in touchdown receptions with 5) and punter Trevor Pardula (4th in Big 12 with 43.7-yard average).

Shepherd also earned honorable mention as a kick returner.

Sims and Pardula each garnered mention for specialty awards, with Sims receiving votes for offensive player of the year and Pardula votes for special teams player of the year.

Comments

Jim Jackson 10 months, 1 week ago

Great instance of the juco process making an instant impact. Nice work.

Suzi Marshall 10 months, 1 week ago

Congrats to Isaiah. His perseverance is paying off for him and Kansas. I'm confident our D will be able to compete next year. I hope Weis finds some OL guys with similar abilities and impact Isaiah has had.

Clarence Haynes 10 months, 1 week ago

Yes, to keep the defense off the field for longer periods to rest.

Brett McCabe 10 months, 1 week ago

The DB's should be a strength for us next year, along with our RB's. We definitely have some holes to fill but it is good to see guys getting recognized - and they should only get better.

I hope to see a kicker on the recruiting list, too!

Dirk Medema 10 months, 1 week ago

Will Miller be back? Have there been any sightings?

If he remains absent, we go from real solid at RB to adequate, and an injury away from thin and inexperienced.

Matt Tait 10 months, 1 week ago

Coach Weis is having a season wrap-up press conference on the 19th, after all of the recruiting and the banquet is wrapped up.

I'm sure we'll get updates on a lot of guys, coming and going, at that point but if not, you can be sure I'll ask.

Haven't heard anything about Miller lately, so it's hard to say what's going on there.

Dirk Medema 10 months, 1 week ago

On the positive note, the DB's should be even stronger next year with RSJr Kevin Short. LB should be really strong as well.

The only downside on that side of the ball could be the DL. It will be good to get Bolton back, but we need reload some bulls up front. Is it 3 or 4 we lose from this year?

Jim Jackson 10 months, 1 week ago

James Sims should be on the first team, period.

With an anemic line and an offense inferior to every one of our conference foes he was still able to lead the Big 12 in rushing.

Kid is a stud and will play on Sundays. Way to go James.

Jake Waddle 10 months, 1 week ago

Congrats to the guys honored! Heeney is a 1st Team Member -his injury. On another note, Florida announced 5 offensive players wanting to transfer, including 3 OL... Charlie heading to Gainesville soon?!?

Jim Jackson 10 months, 1 week ago

That would be awesome, hopefully all are eligible immediately albeit I doubt that's the case

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