All-Big 12 First Team Selections: LB Ben Heeney, CB JaCorey Shepherd, P Trevor Pardula
Anyone who watched a Kansas Jayhawks football game this season got to hear Ben Heeney's name called plenty of times. The Diabolical Defender was all over the field, involved on seemingly most defensive plays throughout the season, and he ended the season tied for the Big 12 lead (and for 11th overall in the nation) with 127 tackles. Heeney's presence in the middle gave offenses fits throughout the season (well, at certain times, anyway), giving Kansas an imposing force defensively. Heeney also racked up two sacks on the season, as well as one interception, giving him a very solid 2014 campaign overall, to say the least. He will be missed in Lawrence, but he likely has a future ahead of him playing on Sundays, and he had an incredible season in his senior campaign.
The senior from Mesquite, Texas had quite the season himself, finishing with 3 interceptions and 14 passes defended on the season. Shepherd stepped up as a true leader for the Jayhawks this season and his play on the field rivaled some of the best corners in the nation at times. His biggest game of the season came in KU's lone conference win, against Iowa State, in which he had 5 tackles, 5 passes defended and an interception. It was an impressive season on the field for Shepherd, and it was off the field as well; he was awarded the Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award on December 10. It was a great season all around for Shepherd, and Kansas will likely struggle to fill his shoes in the secondary next season.
There were times this season when it really felt as if Pardula was not himself, which makes his nomination as member of the All-Big 12 first team even more impressive. The fact of the matter is that Pardula has truly been a real weapon for the Jayhawks during his time with the crimson and blue and he proved once again this season just how important to the team he was. With an offense that at times was just anemic and a defense that was inconsistent for a large part of the season, Pardula's ability to push opponents back deep was very important for KU. It was a busy season for Trevor Pardula, averaging just under 7 punts per game (83 total on the season), including two games with a double digit number of punts (he had 14 alone against West Virginia). It's unfortunate that he had to be used so often throughout the season, but Pardula is well deserving of his spot on the All-Big 12 first team.
All-Big 12 Second Team Selection: TE Jimmay Mundine
There is a lot of talent leaving Lawrence with this year's senior class. Jimmay Mundine improved each season with KU, rounding off his career with a great 2014 season, finishing with 45 receptions for 584 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mundine was a trustworthy target throughout the season for Kansas' quarterbacks, whether it be Montell Cozart early on or Michael Cummings in the second half of the season (unsurprisingly, he had much better numbers when Cummings was under center). Mundine was a safety blanket over the middle all season, and he also showed off plenty of athleticism with some good plays late in the season (notably with a couple great plays against TCU). Like all of these players, it's going to be difficult to replace Mundine, but he is certainly deserving of this honor after the season he just had.