2016 Mountain West Football Preseason All-Conference Team
LAS VEGAS - LAS VEGAS – The 2016 Preseason All-Mountain West Football Team was announced today at the league's annual Media Days, being held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The team, as selected by members of the media, features 20 student-athletes who were All-MW selections in 2015. The 26-member squad is comprised of 19 seniors, four juniors and three sophomores.
San Diego State, who was selected as a unanimous choice to win the West Division in 2016, swept all three preseason Player of the Year awards. Senior running back Donnel Pumphrey was named Preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year, senior corner back Damontae Kazee was named Preseason MW Defensive Player of the Year and junior return man Rashaad Penny was selected as Preseason MW Special Teams Player of the Year.
This is the first time since 2010 that a MW institution has swept the preseason individual awards. That year, TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, linebacker Tank Carder and punt/kick returner Jeremy Kerley earned the preseason recognition.
Pumphrey enters the 2016 campaign as the nation's active leader in rushing yards (4,272), rushing touchdowns (45), all-purpose yards (5,145) and 100-yard rushing games (22). The native of Las Vegas, Nevada, needs to run for 702 yards to become the Mountain West's all-time leading rusher (DonTrell Moore; 4,973 yards) and score seven rushing TD's to hold the top spot in the league's career TD list (DonTrell Moore; 51). Recently, Pumphrey was named to the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch Lists.
Kazee, who was recently named to the Preseason Jim Thorpe Award and Bednarik Award Watch Lists, picked off eight passes in 2015, which tied for the second most nationally and the most by an Aztec since joining Division I in 1969. The eight interceptions are tied for the most in a single season by a MW defender. The native of San Bernardino, California, registered 75 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles last season, on his way to earning second-team USA Today All-America honors.
Penny returned 24 kicks last year for 804 yards and three touchdowns, becoming one of five FBS players to have at least three kick return TD's. The native of Norwalk, California, ranked second nationally and led the Mountain West with a 33.5 kick return average. Last week, Penny was named to the Paul Hornung Award Preseason Watch List.
|2016 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM|
|QB||Brett Rypien*||So.||Boise State|
|WR||Thomas Sperbeck*||Sr.||Boise State|
|RB||Donnel Pumphrey*||Sr.||San Diego State|
|OL||Fred Zerblis**||Sr.||Colorado State|
|OL||Nico Siragusa*||Sr.||San Diego State|
|OL||Jake Simonich||Sr.||Utah State|
|OL||Austin Stephens||Sr.||Utah State|
|TE||Billy Freeman*||Sr.||San José State|
|DL||Nik D'Avanzo||Sr.||New Mexico|
|DL||Alex Barrett*||Sr.||San Diego State|
|DL||Travis Seefeldt||Gr.||Utah State|
|DL||Ricky Ali'ifua||Sr.||Utah State|
|LB||Christian Tago**||Sr.||San José State|
|LB||Calvin Munson*||Sr.||San Diego State|
|LB||Dakota Cox||Sr.||New Mexico|
|DB||Weston Steelhammer*||Sr.||Air Force|
|DB||Damontae Kazee*||Sr.||San Diego State|
|P||Hayden Hunt**||Sr.||Colorado State|
|Michael Carrizosa*||Jr.||San José State|
|PK||Tyler Rausa*||Sr.||Boise State|
|Ret.||Rashaad Penny*||Jr.||San Diego State|
|Preseason Offensive Player of the Year:
Donnel Pumphrey, Sr., RB, San Diego State
|Preseason Defensive Player of the Year:
Damontae Kazee, Sr., DB, San Diego State
|Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year:
Rashaad Penny, Jr., KR, San Diego State
|* - member of the 2015 All-Mountain West first team. |
** - member of the 2015 All-Mountain West second team.