Utah State football has 10 players named to Phil Steele’s 2014 Preseason All-Mountain West teams
Vigil, a 6-2, 232-pounder from Clearfield, Utah, (Clearfield HS) earned second-team all-MWC honors a year ago as he ranked second on the team, seventh in the conference and 42nd in the nation with 8.9 tackles per game.
Overall, he finished the year with 124 total tackles (47 solo, 77 assists), which was tied for the 17th-most in the nation at the FBS level. In all, his 47 solo tackles led the team, while he was also tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also ranked second on the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and was tied for fifth overall with 2.0 sacks, while adding an interception, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.
Whimpey, a 6-5, 295-pounder from Highland, Utah, (Lone Peak HS/Idaho State) started all 14 games at left tackle as a junior and finished the season with an overall performance grade of 83 percent.
In all, he graded out at 88 percent in effort, including seven games over 90 percent, while also grading out at 87 percent in assignment, including six games over 90 percent, and 80 percent in technique, including seven games above 80 percent. He finished the season with 35 knockdowns, including a season-high eight against BYU.
Fackrell, a 6-5, 245-pounder from Mesa, Arizona, (Mesa HS) was named a honorable mention Sophomore All-American by College Football News and earned second-team all-MWC honors a year ago as he finished the season ranking first on the team with 13 tackles for loss, tied for first with two forced fumbles and second with his five sacks, while ranking fourth on the team with 82 total tackles (37 solo, 45 assists). Overall, he averaged 5.9 tackles per game to rank 35th in the MWC.
During the season, he recorded three quarterback hurries, recovered one fumble, intercepted one pass and registered one pass breakup. He was named the Mountain West Conference's Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week following USU's 47-10 home win against Hawaii when he recorded nine tackles, including 0.5 for loss, to go along with an interception return of 99 yards for his first career defensive touchdown, which ranks as the third-longest interception return in Utah State and MWC history.
Larsen, a 6-5, 275-pounder from Logan, Utah, (Logan HS) earned second-team all-MWC honors as a junior as he finished the season ranking second on the team with four sacks and three quarterback hurries, to go along with eight tackles for loss and 31 total tackles (14 solo, 17 assists). He was also named a College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Defensive Lineman of the Week following his performance against No. 24 Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game where he had a career-high two tackles for loss, to go along with a sack, as part of his five total tackles.
Natson, a 5-7, 151-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, (Boyd Anderson HS) earned honorable mention all-MWC honors as a punt returner as a sophomore. He ranked fourth in the conference and 22nd in the nation with his punt return average of 11.3 yards as he returned 31 punts for 351 yards during the season. He also ranked first in the MWC and second in the nation with two punt returns for touchdown, and was the only player in the country with multiple touchdowns rushing (3), receiving (2) and returning (2).
He was also named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week and the College Football Performance Awards National Punt Returner of the Week following USU's 45-10 win at New Mexico where he returned a career-high five punts for a career-best 102 yards, including his first career punt return for touchdown of 65 yards.
Bentrude, a 6-1, 209-pounder from Draper, Utah, (Juan Diego HS) served as Utah State’s punter in 14 games a year ago and finished the season ranking ninth in the MWC and 80th in the nation with an average of 39.8 yards per punt as he punted 73 times for 2,903 yards. Overall, he had 31 punts downed inside the 20-yard line to rank 11th in the nation, while his 11 punts downed inside the 10-yard line ranked 16th nationally. He finished the year with six punts of 50-plus yards, including a career-long 64-yard punt against BYU. In all, he had just six touchbacks on the season, while 39 of his punts were fair caught.
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