KU cornerback duo named to preseason all-conference team

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas cornerback Cobee Bryant (2) celebrates with Kansas cornerback Mello Dotson (3) after Dotson’s interception during the fourth quarter on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023 at Memorial Stadium. At left is Kansas safety O.J. Burroughs (5). Kansas defeated Illinois, 34-23.

Kansas’ top cornerback pairing of Cobee Bryant and Mello Dotson accounted for two of the five defensive backs selected to the preseason All-Big 12 Conference football team on Tuesday.

The team, which was voted on by members of the media, did not feature any other Jayhawks, which was something of a departure after four received preseason honors last season — although the size of the conference has also increased by two teams since then, with Oklahoma and Texas leaving and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah joining.

For Bryant, this is the second straight year with a preseason all-conference selection, to go along with a pair of postseason all-conference honors. The Jayhawks’ top cornerback, a native of Evergreen, Alabama, is coming off a campaign in which he tallied 32 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups, not to mention a memorable forced fumble that he returned for a touchdown to kickstart KU’s victory over BYU in September.

Dotson, Bryant’s quieter counterpart on the opposite side of the secondary, made some noise of his own last year, helping the Jayhawks to consecutive wins over Oklahoma and Iowa State with interceptions returned for touchdowns in consecutive weeks.

More frequently targeted, he matched Bryant’s four interceptions while racking up 11 passes defensed and 48 tackles. Dotson will be one of four Jayhawks speaking at next week’s Big 12 media days in Las Vegas.

Each player is entering his final year of eligibility. Dotson came to KU from Daytona Beach, Florida, in 2020 and Bryant began his career in Lawrence in 2021 after grayshirting.

Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II, a Heisman contender last year and one of a pair of running backs picked for the preseason all-conference team over KU’s Devin Neal (along with Texas Tech’s Tahj Brooks), was named the offensive player of the year. That was a title KU quarterback Jalon Daniels held last year before a back injury caused him to miss all but three games.

Colorado’s two-way star Travis Hunter, one of the defensive back selections along with Bryant, Dotson, Iowa State’s Jeremiah Cooper and Arizona’s Tacario Davis, received defensive player of the year honors, and UCF quarterback KJ Jefferson, who previously took on KU in the Liberty Bowl when he was at Arkansas, is the newcomer of the year.

photo by: Chance Parker/Special to the Journal-World

Kansas corners Cobee Bryant (2) and Mello Dotson (3) take photos with fans during the spring showcase at Rock Chalk Park on Friday, April 12, 2024.

photo by: Mike Gunnoe/Journal-World Photo

Kansas cornerback Cobee Bryant crosses the end zone for a touchdown against BYU on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

photo by: Mike Gunnoe/Special to the Journal-World

Kansas cornerback Mello Dotson scores a touchdown after an interception against Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023 in Lawrence.


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