The 2017 Mountain West annual football awards were announced by the conference Wednesday. Five Colorado State players received all-conference honors and another five players were named honorable mention.
Quarterback Nick Stevens, wide receiver Michael Gallup and offensive linemen Jake Bennett and Zack Golditch were named first-team All-Mountain West. Senior running back Dalyn Dawkins was named to the second team.
“This honor means a lot to me, especially considering the level of competition within this conference and all of the other talent around the league,” Stevens said.
Linebackers Evan Colorito and Josh Watson, tight end Dalton Fackrell, offensive lineman Trae Moxley and punter Ryan Stonehouse were included as honorable mention recipients.
The four first-team selections are CSU’s most since 2014. The Rams have multiple offensive linemen on the first team for the first time since 2000.
“Not only seniors, but also Colorado guys, and a group of guys I came in with (in 2013 signing class). Over the last five years we’ve all worked hard and accomplished something we set out to do, and we did it as a group,” Bennett said.
Along with the all-conference honorees, the Mountain West announced individual awards as well. Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford was named MW Coach of the Year. The Bulldogs are 9-3 and play Boise State in the MW Championship game Saturday.
UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers earned Freshman of the Year recognition. Rogers is the only freshman nationally to have rushed for at least 700 yards and average 140 passing yards per game.
Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was named the conference Defensive Player of the Year. The junior ranked third in the league with 113 total tackles this season.
Finally, San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny took home both the Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year awards. Penny finished the regular season ranked first in the FBS in rushing yards (2,027), rushing yards per game (168.9), all-purpose yards (2,698) and all-purpose yards per game (224.83). He is second in total touchdowns (24), scoring per game (12.0) and third in rushing touchdowns (19).
The awards are determined by vote of the league’s coaches and media who cover MW teams. CSU is one of six bowl eligible teams from the conference. The Rams will find out what bowl they are playing in on Sunday.
“Our motivation is to go out on top, with a win,” Golditch said. “When we were freshmen we went to the New Mexico Bowl and saw what those seniors experienced winning a bowl game for the first time in so many ears. Now we’ve gone to a bowl every year, but fallen short (in the last three). We want to show the team what it’s like to not only go to bowl games, but to win bowl games. When we leave we want them to keep going to bowls and win those.”
Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @JustinTMichael.