When it came to the 2016 football season, all of the Big 12’s coaches could agree with members of the media on at least one subject: Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. was easily one of the best players in the conference.
A day after the Associated Press announced Armstrong, a sophomore lineman from Houston, as a first-team All-Big 12 selection, the league’s coaches did the same. In fact, Armstrong became KU’s first unanimous choice by the coaches since the conference’s inception, in 1996. He joined Texas junior running back D’Onta Foreman, Oklahoma senior receiver Dede Westbrook and Kansas State senior defensive end Jordan Willis as a unanimous pick.
Armstrong’s 20 tackles for loss led the league, and were the third-most in a season in Kansas program history. The 6-foot-4, 246-pound defensive end finished with 56 total tackles, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 10 sacks and five quarterback hurries.
Unlike the AP’s All-Big 12 lists, though, Armstrong had another Jayhawk to keep him company on the coaches’ first team — which includes 13 position player spots, as opposed to the AP’s 11. Senior safety Fish Smithson, a second-team defensive back as voted by the media, joined Armstrong as a first-teamer, according to the coaches.
KU’s leading tackler (93 total) for the second consecutive season, Smithson intercepted four passes (third in Big 12) and broke up seven others in the secondary, on his way to becoming the first all-league safety from Kansas since Darrell Stuckey, in 2008.
Though Kansas didn’t pick up any individual awards or land any players on the second team, nine other Jayhawks received honorable mention for receiving votes. Freshman offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji, senior O-lineman D'Andre Banks, junior punter Cole Moos, sophomore receiver Steven Sims Jr., sophomore defensive tackle Daniel Wise, senior kicker Matt Wyman and senior fullback Michael Zunica all received consideration for all-Big 12. Meanwhile, junior receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez and freshman safety Mike Lee each received at least one vote for an award — Gonzalez for Offensive Newcomer of the Year, and Lee for Defensive Freshman of the Year. The Big 12 didn’t disclose how many votes award-winners or nominees received.
With 11 total players selected in one form or another, Kansas had its most Big 12 postseason honorees since 14 Jayhawks were chosen in 2007, the year KU went on to win the Orange Bowl.
Seven of the 11 All-Big 12 players for Kansas are slated to return to the field in 2017.
QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, Jr.
RB: Joe Mixon, Oklahoma, So.
RB: D’Onta Foreman, Texas, Jr.
FB: Winston Dimel, K-State, So.
WR: KD Cannon, Baylor, Jr.
WR: Allen Lazard, Iowa State, Jr.
WR: Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, Sr.
WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State, Jr.
TE: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma, So.
OL: Kyle Fuller, Baylor, Sr.
OL: Dalton Risner, K-State, So.
OL: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma, So.
OL: Connor Williams, Texas, So.
OL: Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, Sr.
PK: Cole Netten, Iowa State, Sr.
KR/PR: Byron Pringle, K-State, So.
DL: KJ Smith, Baylor, Jr.
DL: Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas, So.
DL: Jordan Willis, K-State, Sr.
DL: Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State, Jr.
DL: Josh Carraway, TCU, Sr.
LB: Elijah Lee, K-State, Jr.
LB: Jordan Evans, Oklahoma, Sr.
LB: Travin Howard, TCU, Jr.
DB: Fish Smithson, Kansas, Sr.
DB: DJ Reed, K-State, So.
DB: Jordan Thomas, Oklahoma, Jr.
DB: Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State, Sr.
DB: Rasul Douglas, West Virginia, Sr.
P: Michael Dickson, Texas, So.
QB: Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech, Jr.
RB: Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Jr.
RB: Justice Hill, Oklahoma State, Fr.
FB: Dimitri Flowers, Oklahoma, Jr.
WR: Jonathan Giles, Texas Tech, So.
WR: Shelton Gibson, West Virginia, Jr.
WR: Daikiel Shorts Jr., West Virginia, Sr.
TE: Blake Jarwin, Oklahoma State, Sr.
OL: Nick Fett, Iowa State, Sr.
OL: Zach Crabtree, Oklahoma State, Jr.
OL: Victor Salako, Oklahoma State, Sr.
OL: Austin Schlottmann, TCU, Jr.
OL: Kent Perkins, Texas, Sr.
PK: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State, Sr.
KR/PR: Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, Sr.
DL: Jhaustin Thomas, Iowa State, Sr.
DL: Demond Tucker, Iowa State, Sr.
DL: Jordan Wade, Oklahoma, Sr.
DL: Aaron Curry, TCU, Sr.
DL: Breckyn Hager, Texas, So.
LB: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma, Jr.
LB: Chad Whitener, Oklahoma State, Jr.
LB: Ty Summers, TCU, So.
DB: Patrick Levels, Baylor, Sr.
DB: Kamari Cotton-Moya, Iowa State, Jr.
DB: Tre Flowers, Oklahoma State, Jr.
DB: Denzel Johnson, TCU, Sr.
DB: Nick Orr, TCU, Jr.
P: Zach Sinor, Oklahoma State, So.
Hakeem Adeniji (OL), D'Andre Banks (OL), LaQuvionte Gonzalez (ONofY), Mike Lee (DFrofY, DB), Cole Moos (P), Steven Sims Jr. (WR), Daniel Wise (DL), Matthew Wyman (PK) and Michael Zunica (FB).
Defensive Lineman of the Year: Jordan Willis, K-State, Sr., DE, Kansas City, Mo.
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma, So., Duluth, Ga.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Michael Dickson, Texas, So., P, Sydney, Australia
Coach of the Year: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma (18th season)
Defensive Newcomer of the Year: D.J. Reed, K-State, So., DB, Bakersfield, Calif.
Offensive Newcomer of the Year: Justin Crawford, West Virginia, Jr., RB, Columbus, Ga.
Defensive Freshman of the Year: Reggie Walker, K-State, DE, Ponchatoula, La.
Offensive Freshman of the Year: Justice Hill, Oklahoma State, RB, Tulsa, Okla.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jordan Willis, K-State, Sr., DE, Kansas City, Mo.
Offensive Player of the Year: Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, Sr., WR, Cameron, Texas