Sure, it felt like Kansas Jayhawks middle linebacker Justin Springer was around the ball an awful lot in the first half of Saturday's match-up with the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech, but that didn't stop reporters from giving their stat sheets a surprised second glance during intermission.
11 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack? Those are numbers any defender would be proud to take home at the end of a game, let alone the first 30 minutes of play.
When the dust finally settled on the Jayhawks' 28-25 upset victory over the Yellow Jackets, Springer had tacked on another four tackles to bring his game total to 15. And after watching the highlights and reading the box scores from the other Big 12 games of the day, it became apparent that no other conference defender could match the performance of the big senior from Los Fresnos, Texas.
Monday, the conference decided they agreed with that sentiment, naming Springer their Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
The honor marks the first time a Jayhawk has won the award since defensive end Maxwell Onyegbule took it home almost exactly a year ago for his performance against UTEP.
During Monday's Big 12 Weekly Teleconference, Head Coach Turner GIll said the honor should reflect not just on Springer, but on the defensive coaching staff and every member of the Jayhawks D.
"Justin is a leader of our team and a captain," he explained. "But man, our whole defense played well. It means a lot for our program just to get recognized – we have some good football players – and recognize that they played an excellent football game in one week."