Linebacker Shaquil Barrett was named Mountain West defensive player of the year on Tuesday.
The senior from Baltimore, Md. is just the second player from CSU to receive the honor since linebacker Rick Crowell was recognized in 2000, the same season that former head coach Sonny Lubick shared Mountain West coach of the year honors with UNLV’s John Robinson. Crowell was drafted in the sixth round by the Miami Dolphins in the 2001 NFL draft.
Barrett set a Mountain West Conference record with 20.5 tackles for loss this season, ranking him fourth nationally. He also racked up 12 sacks this season, good enough to rank him third in the FBS. In his final season in a Rams uniform, Barrett blocked three field goals — two of which came in the home opener against Cal Poly — and helped lead the Rams to their best regular season record in a decade and their first bowl invite since 2008.
Set on a national stage against Alabama on Sept. 21, Barrett sacked Heisman finalist AJ McCarron 1.5 times. In the Rams win over UTEP, Barrett recorded his best statistical game of the season with 13 tackles (six solo) and three sacks. He also received Mountain West Defensive Player of the week following the game and was voted National Defensive Player of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards.
Barrett joins four other Rams on the Mountain West all-conference first team: senior tight end Crockett Gillmore, senior center Weston Richburg, junior kicker Jared Roberts and sophomore running back Kapri Bibbs.
Gillmore, who will also play in the East-West Shrine game in January, finished the regular season with 43 receptions for 533 yards and two touchdowns.
Richburg has started all 49 games of his career and is the first Ram since Joel Dreessen in 2003 to be invited to play in the Senior Bowl in January.
Roberts missed only three field goals this season and went 54-of-54 on extra point attempts. The longest field goal of his career came in the Rams’ final home game against Air Force and was good for 54 yards.
Bibbs, a junior college transfer, finished the regular season ranked sixth nationally with 1,572 yards rushing and his 28 touchdowns scored were good enough for first place in the NCAA.
In all, nine Rams received all-conference honors. Senior defensive back Shaq Bell and junior offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo both earned second-team recognition, while junior tight end Kivon Cartwright along with junior linebacker Max Morgan received honorable mention.
The Rams will face the Washington State Cougars in the Gildan New Mexico bowl on Dec. 21 at noon MT.
Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.