Wildcats Look to Maintain Special Teams Supremacy
Kenny Lannou - Sun 06:44 PM 08/23/2009
Brandon Banks is an electrifying contributor in the return game and could be used on both kickoff and punt returns this season.
Kansas State's play on special teams, particularly in the return game and blocked kick areas, has been unsurpassed in recent memory. In fact, no team in America had more blocked kicks than the Wildcats last season.
Also, K-State has the fifth-most blocks in the nation since 2002 with 33 and has amassed 49 total blocked kicks since 1996, a figure that ranks second among Big 12 schools in the 13-plus year history of the league.
And, in non-offensive touchdowns, the Wildcats have ranked among the nation's best over the past 10 seasons. Since 1999, the Wildcats rank second nationally in non-offensive touchdowns with 68, behind only Virginia Tech (70), and have collected 24 non-offensive scores since 2006, which are the most of any school in the country over that span.
It should be no different in 2009 as K-State looks to maintain its national dominance in the area and will rely on some its top playmakers to continue the trend.
Brandon Banks is an electrifying contributor in the return game and could be used on both kickoff and punt returns this season. The 2008 Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year averaged 28.0 yards per kickoff return last season, which included a 98-yarder for a touchdown against Nebraska, en route to honorable mention All-Big 12 honors as both a kick and punt returner.
According to head coach Bill Snyder, there are several other Wildcats in line behind Banks, including newcomers Daniel Thomas, Tramaine Thompson and John Hubert. Veterans Lamark Brown, Tysyn Hartman and Joshua Moore could also handle the return game if needed.
Courtney Herndon has also made his presence known on special teams as the fifth-year senior played a major role in five of the Wildcats' eight non-offensive scores last season. Herndon either blocked or returned three of K-State's four blocked punts that went for touchdowns last season and also scored both of the Wildcats' defensive touchdowns in 2008.
K-State opens the 2009 season on September 5 at home against UMass. Kickoff for the K-State Family Reunion is set for 6:10 p.m.