The four Kansas University football players named to the 2014 College Football Performance Awards watch lists based on their respective positions won't have to worry about voters helping or hurting their chances.
Senior linebacker Ben Heeney, junior safety Isaiah Johnson (defensive back list), senior tight end Jimmay Mundine and senior punter Trevor Pardula will be subject to what the CFPA considers the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. Recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.
Heeney, an All-Big 12 Second Team pick in 2013, is a member of the preseason All-Big 12 Team in 2014. Heeney is one of 40 linebackers to make the watch list and one of six active linebackers in the nation with over 200 tackles and 20 tackles for loss in the last two seasons. Heeney's preseason recognition comes on the heels of his nomination to the Chuck Bednarik, Butkus and Bronko Nagurski trophies, as well as the Rotary Lombardi Award.
Johnson, the 2013 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year from the safety position, led the team with five interceptions last season. The Cary, North Carolina, native was second behind Heeney in tackles with 73 in 2013. Johnson's five interceptions tied him for second in the conference a season ago and ninth on the all-time Kansas single season interception list. In 2014, Johnson will return as the Big 12's second-leading tackler among defensive backs.
Mundine returns as KU's active leader in touchdown catches, while ranking second in receptions (41) and receiving yards (498). After a breakout year in 2013, Mundine completed the season in third place among Big 12 tight ends in receptions and yards, resulting in All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors as voted by league coaches. Mundine caught a team-high five touchdown passes last season, including a streak of four-straight games with a TD reception.
Pardula, a native of San Jose, California, booted 24 punts of more than 50 yards last season, including a career-best 78-yard punt, for an average of 43.7 yards per kick. The junior also placed 25 punts inside the 20-yard line. Named to Phil Steele's Midseason All-America Team, and earning national recognition for his performance in KU's win over Louisiana Tech, Pardula was named the Ray Guy Award and Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week, as well as the College Football Performance Awards Punter of the Week.
KU's season begins Sept. 6, against Southeast Missouri State at Memorial Stadium.