MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis capped off a stellar senior campaign as he was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the ninth pick of the third round – No. 73 overall – in the 2017 NFL Draft on Friday night.
Willis extended K-State’s Big 12-leading draft streak to 24-straight years, a mark that goes back to 1994 when Thomas Randolph (2nd Round, New York Giants) and current K-State pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach Andre Coleman (3rd Round, San Diego Chargers) were selected. In addition, the Wildcats’ 24-year streak was tied for the 14th-longest in the nation at the time of the pick.
A product of Kansas City, Missouri, Willis is the fourth Wildcat to be taken by Cincinnati and the first since offensive tackle Tim Stone was selected in the 11th round of the 1986 NFL Draft. Prior to Stone, running back Issac Jackson was selected by the Bengals in in 1974 (15th round) and wide receiver John Tuttle was picked the followed year (16th round).
Willis is coming off an outstanding senior campaign in which he picked up Second Team All-America honors from Sporting News and Pro Football Focus in addition to third-team accolades from the Associated Press and Phil Steele. The 2016 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year tied K-State’s single-season sacks record with 11.5 to lead the Big 12 and tie for 12th nationally, while he totaled 17.5 tackles for loss to finish second in the conference and tie for 21st in the country.
A product of Kansas City, Missouri, Willis finished third in school history with 26.0 career sacks, a mark that also tied for seventh in Big 12 history. He also finished ninth in school history in career TFLs (40.5), while he was the first Wildcat to crack the list since 2001. Willis, who led K-State to a 32-20 record, four bowl berths and two bowl victories during his career, also had seven forced fumbles to tie for fifth in school history.