USU football: 11 Aggies named to Phil Steele’s 2013 Preseason All-Mountain West team

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, May 28 2013 11:46 a.m. MDT

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football had 11 players named to Phil Steele’s 2013 Preseason All-Mountain West team, it was recently announced as four offensive players, six defensive players and one specialist were recognized for the Aggies.

Fresno State and San Jose State had the most preseason selections with 12 each, while Utah State, Boise State and San Diego State all had 11. Colorado State and Nevada had 10 preseason selections each, followed by New Mexico (9), Air Force (8), UNLV (7), Wyoming (6) and Hawai’i (5).

Senior center Tyler Larsen was the only Aggie to be named to the preseason All-MW first-team, while sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell, senior defensive back Nevin Lawson, senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian, senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz and senior defensive end Connor Williams were all members of the second-team. Aggies selected to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-MW third-team include senior linebacker Jake Doughty and junior linebacker Zach Vigil, while junior placekicker Nick Diaz, junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton and sophomore defensive end Jordan Nielsen were all named to the fourth-team.

Larsen, a 6-foot-4, 312-pounder from Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS), enters his senior season having started 38 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak on the team. Larsen is a two-time first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honoree and the first USU offensive lineman to accomplish that feat since 1997.

Larsen is also one of 44 players on the 2013 Rimington Trophy Watch List, which is given annually to the nation's most outstanding center in college football.

During the 2012 season, Larsen tied for the team lead along with Schultz with an 86 percent overall performance grade, including 78 percent in technique and 83 percent in effort. He carried out the right assignment 97 percent of the time, including four games where he graded out at a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 90 percent two times in total performance, and above 80 percent 12 times in effort and seven times in technique. Overall, he posted 65.5 knockdowns on the season.

Fackrell, a 6-5, 245-pounder from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS), earned first-team All-WAC honors and was the first Aggie in school history named a Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American a year ago as he finished the season ranking second on the team and eighth in the WAC with three interceptions (0.23 pg), third on the team and 13th in the WAC with 8.0 tackles for loss (0.62 pg), and fourth on the team and 13th in the WAC with 87 tackles (6.7 pg). Those 87 stops rank tied for third all-time at Utah State among freshmen. He also finished second on the team with seven quarterback hurries, to go along with 3.0 sacks and three pass breakups.

Lawson, a 5-10, 186-pounder from Lauderhill, Fla. (Piper HS), earned second-team All-WAC honors a year ago as he ranked eighth on the team and 36th in the conference with 63 tackles (4.8 pg). He also ranked second on the team and ninth in the WAC with 10 passes defended (0.77 pg).

Markosian, a 6-2, 302-pounder from Salt Lake City, Utah (Juan Diego HS), earned second-team All-WAC honors a year ago as he graded out at 84 percent for overall performance. In all, he carried out the right assignment 98 percent of the time, including four games where he graded out at a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 80 percent 12 times in total performance and seven times in effort, while posting 67.0 knockdowns on the season and allowed only two sacks.

Schultz, a 6-4, 308-pounder from Connell, Wash. (Connell HS), earned first-team All-WAC honors a year ago as he tied for the team lead along Larsen with an 86 percent overall performance grade, including 77 percent in technique and 82 percent in effort. He carried out the right assignment 98 percent of the time, including three games with a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 85 percent 10 times in total performance, and above 80 percent 10 times in effort and six times in technique. He finished the year with 44.0 knockdowns and only allowed 1.5 sacks during the season.

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