Aztecs lead preseason all-Mountain West team
QB — Brett Rypien, So., Boise State
WR — Thomas Sperbeck, Sr., Boise State
WR — Devonte Boyd, Jr., UNLV
RB — D.J. Pumphrey, Sr., San Diego State
RB — Brian Hill, Jr., Wyoming
OL — Fred Zerbis, Sr., Colorado State
OL — Nico Siragusa, Sr., San Diego State
OL — Jake Simonich, Sr., Utah State
OL — Austin Stephens, Sr., Utah State
OL — Chase Roullier, Sr., Wyoming
TE — Billy Freeman, Sr., San Jose 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 Jose 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
DB — Dameon Baber, So., Nevada
DB — Andrew Wingard, So., Wyoming
P — Hayden Hunt, Sr., Colorado State
Michael Carrizosa, Jr., San Jose State
PK — Tyler Rausa, Sr., Boise State
Offensive Player of the Year — Pumphrey
Defensive Player of the Year — Kazee
Special Teams Player of the Year — Penny
San Diego State is beginning the 2016 season much the way it ended 2015 — with six players named to the Mountain West all-conference preseason team announced Tuesday at the conference’s Media Days event.
The Aztecs swept the preseason offensive, defensive and special teams Player of the Year awards, which went to running back D.J. Pumphrey, defensive back Damontae Kazee and kick returner Rashaad Penny, respectively. Pumphrey, Kazee and Penny all received those honors last December for their 2015 performances.
The players were joined now, as then, on the 26-man preseason all-MW squad by SDSU offensive lineman Nico Siragusa, defensive lineman Alex Barrett and linebacker Calvin Munson. SDSU led all other MW schools with six players on the team. It was the second-most number of players the Aztecs have ever had on the team. SDSU had seven players in 1999.
“You kind of expect that because those kids won those awards last year and they’re coming back,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said. “All this is nice for the players. It makes them feel good and all that kind of stuff. But that can change overnight if you don’t play well. ...
“They’re still getting recognition from what they did last year. That will change dramatically as soon as we play our first game (Sept. 3 vs. New Hampshire).”
Pumphrey led the Aztecs in rushing (1,653 yards, 17 TDs) and receiving (28 catches, 416 yards, 3 TDs) last season. Kazee’s eight interceptions a year ago tied for second in the nation and was a Mountain West and SDSU (Division I era) record. Penny ranked second in the nation in kick return average (33.5 yards/return) and was among five FBS players with at least three return touchdowns. He also rushed for 368 yards and four TDs.
Utah State was second to the Aztecs with four players on the preseason all-MW team, followed by Utah State with four and Boise State, San Jose State and Wyoming, with three players apiece.