11 Rams named to Phil Steele's preseason all-MW teams

May 22, 2012

By Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado State’s Chris Nwoke, Weston Richburg, John Froland, Shaquil Barrett, and Pete Kontodiakos earned first-team preseason all-conference accolades from Phil Steele, the national college football analyst announced recently.

In total the Rams had 11 players chosen as preseason all-MW selections by Steele's 2012 College Football Preview, one of the nation's top preseason football magazines.

Nwoke, a 6-0, 213-pound running back from Highlands Ranch, Colo., led the Rams in rushing last season with 1,130 yards and 9 touchdowns. He was the Rams first 1,000-yard rusher since Gartrell Johnson III in 2008. Nwoke also received second-team all-conference honors after his 2011 campaign.

Richburg, the Rams center for the past two seasons, had one goal going into the 2011 season, help his running back rush for 1,000 yards and he did just that. This is the second time the 6-4, 297-pound lineman from Bushland, Texas, has earned Steele’s preseason all-conference accolades.

Froland and Barrett helped anchor a defense that finished second in the conference in sacks and pass defense. Froland, a defensive lineman out of Snohomish, Wash., is receiving his first preseason honors. He had 34 tackles, the second most of any defensive lineman on the Rams, and 3½ tackles for loss.

Barrett, transferred to Colorado State and was immediately eligible after Nebraska-Omaha disbanded its football program. He quickly adapted to the program and ended the 2011 season as the Rams leading tackler with 99, including 2½ sacks and scoring two defensive touchdowns. This is the third year in a row the Rams have had a linebacker on the Phil Steele first-team preseason all-MW team.

Kontodiakos, the Rams punter for three years, was second in the MW in punting last season with an average of 43.63. This average also landed him in the top-20 nationally. He earned second-team all-conference honors after 2011.

Steele also selected three Rams on his second-team preseason all-conference squad, TE Crockett Gillmore, OL Jordan Gragert, and LB James Skelton.

Momo Thomas was the lone Ram on the third-team all-conference squad for his 10-yard punt return average, which was the 27th best effort in the nation. The last two Rams to receive preseason honors were OL Joe Caprioglio and KR Lee Clubb.