Four MW Football Players Land on 2016 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Four Mountain West football student-athletes are featured on 2016 Jim Thorpe Award watch list. The Jim Thorpe Award has been presented annually since 1986 to college football’s best defensive back. Representing the MW are Air Force seniors Roland Ladipo and Weston Steelhammer, San Diego State senior Damontae Kazee and Wyoming sophomore Andrew Wingard.
Ladipo was a First-Team All-Mountain West selection in 2015 in his first year as a starter. Ladipo was second on the team in tackles with 79 and interceptions with three. Steelhammer, a two-time First-Team All-Mountain West selection, led the Falcons in tackles last season with 80 and interceptions with five. He also had 10.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback sack. Kazee had eight interceptions in 2015, which tied for the second in the nation, the most in Aztecs’ Division I era (since 1969) and in Mountain West history. He also added 75 tackles (team-high 58 solo stops), seven pass breakups, 5.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Kazee was named a second-team USA Today All-American, a honorable-mention Sports Illustrated All-American, the MW Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-MW pick. Wingard is coming off a freshman season in 2015 that saw him earn First Team Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America and Second-Team All-MW accolades. Wingard led the Mountain West and ranked No. 4 in the NCAA in solo tackles in 2015 (6.9 solo tackles per game) and ranked No. 2 in the Conference and 12th in the nation in total tackles (10.2 per game).