Big 12 Football Preseason Poll and All-Big 12 Preseason Team announced


Alex Menedez/Florida Citrus Sports

Iowa State runs onto the field for pregame introductions during the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 29.

As Iowa State football approaches, it’s time to take a look at preseason awards in the Big 12 conference.

On Wednesday, the Big 12 announced the All-Big 12 Preseason Team, which included four Iowa State players. A day later, the Big 12 Preseason Poll was announced.

Iowa State landed sixth on the rankings, securing one first-place vote to move it to 180 points in the poll. The sixth-place ranking puts Iowa State ahead of TCU, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Kansas.

After coming out on top of the Big 12 Championships, Baylor found itself ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll for the first time in Big 12 history. Baylor pushed Oklahoma out of the top spot to No. 2, breaking their six-year streak at the top.

Iowa State may have fallen to the middle of the pack in the preseason rankings, but four Cyclones were elected to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team. Wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson, offensive lineman Trevor Downing and senior tight end Jared Rus represent the Cyclones on the offense, while defensive end Will McDonald IV is the sole Cyclone defensive player selected.

McDonald has been a big name on the scene for a while, cementing his legacy as one of the best defensive ends in the nation after last season. His 11.5 sacks tied for first in the Big 12, breaking his own single-season record in the process.

The Big 12 Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year is the all-time sack leader for Iowa State and is the active leader of sacks in the nation with 29.0. McDonald also earned First Team All-American honors last season as he currently has the most sacks of any player since 2020 (22.0).

Hutchinson was a productive receiver for the Cyclones, earning himself First Team All-Big 12 honors in 2021 and 2020. In 2021, Hutchinson broke the Iowa State single-season record for receptions with 83, which also led the Big 12.

Hutchinson also tacked on 987 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2021. Among all the receivers in the Big 12, he leads in both receptions (147) and yards (1,758) for his career.

Downing was another member of the 2021 First Team All-Big 12, starting all 13 games last season. He played most of the season at right guard before moving to center in the Cheez-It Bowl against Clemson.

Rus was selected to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team in the fullback position due to his blocking abilities. He played in all 13 games for the Cyclones, helping running back Breece Hall run to a historic season.

All four players will be back in action in September, joined by many new faces. The Iowa State football season will kick off Sept. 3 against Southeast Missouri at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.