Utah State’s Gary Andersen was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, while 17 Aggies earned various all-WAC accolades as the league office announced its postseason honors Monday. In all, USU had eight offensive and nine defensive players recognized to rank second-most in the league behind San Jose State’s 19 honorees.
Utah State players to earn first-team all-WAC honors include cornerback Will Davis, linebacker Jake Doughty, linebacker Kyler Fackrell, quarterbackChuckie Keeton, defensive tackle Al Lapuaho, offensive center Tyler Larsen, offensive tackle Eric Schultz and running back Kerwynn Williams, while wide receiver Matt Austin, safety McKade Brady, cornerback Nevin Lawson, offensive guard Jamie Markosian, defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen and linebacker Zach Vigil were named to the second-team. USU also had three players earn honorable mention honors in tight end Kellen Bartlett, wide receiver Chuck Jacobs and defensive tackle Connor Williams.
Louisiana Tech senior quarterback Colby Cameron was named the WAC’s Offensive Player of the Year, while San Jose State senior defensive tackle Travis Johnson was named the WAC’s Defensive Player of the Year. LTU’s Kenneth Dixon was named the WAC’s Freshman of the Year.
Utah State’s eight first-team all-WAC selections are tied for the most in a single-season in school history along with the 1997 team, while its 17 total honorees rank second all-time behind the 18 all-conference picks in 1997.
“I think it’s a great honor for a lot of kids in our football program and there is a lot of terrific players in this league from top to bottom,” Andersen said. “A lot of our kids were honored that I thought should be honored, but you never get all you want.”
As for Andersen, he becomes the fourth coach in school history to earn conference coach of the year honors along with Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991) and John L. Smith (1997), who were all recognized by the Big West Conference.
Overall, every Utah State player who earned all-WAC honors in 2012 did so for the first time in their careers except for Larsen, who is one of six WAC players to earn first-team all-league accolades for the second-straight season.
Davis, a 6-foot-0, 186-pound senior defensive back from Spokane, Wash. (Central Valley HS/De Anza College), ranks first in the nation in passes defended (1.75 pg), second in the WAC and tied for 11th in the nation in interceptions (0.42 pg), and tied for 38th in the WAC in tackles (4.7 pg). On the season, Davis leads the team in passes defended (21), passes broken up (16) and interceptions (5), while ranking tied for fifth in tackles for loss (4.5) and eighth in overall tackles (56). Davis’ five interceptions in 2012 are the most by an Aggie since 2003, while his five interceptions in as many games is the longest USU streak since 1973.
Doughty, a 6-0, 230-pound junior linebacker from Draper, Utah (Juan Diego HS), ranks second in the WAC and tied for 69th in the nation in tackles (8.4 pg). On the season, Doughty leads the team with 101 tackles to go along with 3.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, one sack and one fumble recovery, not to mention four double-digit tackle outings.
Fackrell, a 6-5, 236-pound redshirt freshman linebacker from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS), ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in interceptions (0.17 pg), tied for ninth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.67 pg) and 11th in the WAC in tackles (7.0 pg). On the season, Fackrell ranks tied for second on the team in tackles for loss (8.0), is second in interceptions (2), second in quarterback hurries (7), fourth in tackles (84) and tied for fifth in sacks (3.0). He also has one blocked kick, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the season, not to mention four double-digit tackle outings.
Keeton, a 6-1, 200-pound sophomore quarterback from Houston, Texas (Cypress Creek HS), ranks second in the WAC and 14th in the nation in passing efficiency (156.7), second in the WAC and 17th in the nation in total offense (305.9 ypg), third in the WAC and 30th in the nation in passing (262.0 ypg), and ninth in the WAC in rushing (43.9 ypg).
During his sophomore season, Keeton has completed 254-of-376 passes for 3,144 yards with 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has also carried the ball 120 times for 527 yards (4.4 ypc) with seven rushing touchdowns. Overall, Keeton has set single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), total offense (3,671) and completion percentage (.676) in 2012 and is just 125 passing yards and seven completions shy of setting single-season school records in those two categories as well.
Lapuaho, a 6-3, 284-pound senior defensive tackle from West Valley City, Utah (Granger HS/Snow College), ranks first among USU’s defensive linemen with 35 tackles. He also has 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks this year, to go along with four quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.
Larsen, a 6-4, 312-pound junior center from Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS), becomes the first two-time first-team all-conference selection at Utah State since Kevin Robinson (2004, 2007) and the first offensive lineman to accomplish the feat since Mauricio Jourdan (1996-97). In 2012, Larsen has graded out above 80 percent in every game and above 90 percent twice. He also leads the team with 62 knockdowns and has only allowed 1.5 sacks the entire year.
Schultz, a 6-4, 303-pound junior tackle from Connell, Wash. (Connell HS), joins Larsen on the first-team, marking the second time in as many years that USU has had multiple offensive linemen earn first-team all-WAC honors. In 2012, Schultz has graded out above 80 percent in every game but one and has been above 90 percent once. He has 36 knockdowns on the year and has only allowed 1.5 sacks on the season.
Kerwynn Williams, a 5-8, 189-pound senior running back from Las Vegas, Nev. (Valley HS), ranks first in the WAC and 11th in the nation in all-purpose yards (163.0 ypg), first in the WAC and 23rd in the nation in rushing (106.4 ypg), third in the WAC and tied for 34th in the nation in scoring (8.5 ppg), seventh in the WAC in total offense (106.4 ypg), and eighth in the WAC in receiving (55.2 ypg).
During his senior season, Williams has carried the ball 200 times for 1,277 yards (6.4 ypc) with 12 touchdowns, while catching 43 passes for 663 yards (15.4 ypc) and five touchdowns and leads the team in all of those categories. Williams also set the single-season school record for receiving yards by a running back in 2012 and is just six receptions shy of that single-season school record as well. In 2012, Williams’ 17 total touchdowns ranks third all-time at USU for a single-season, while his 1,277 rushing yards rank ninth.
Austin, a 6-2, 202-pound senior wide receiver from Monrovia, Calif., (Charter Oak HS/Mt. San Antonio JC), ranks ninth in the WAC in receiving (54.3 ypg). Austin has caught 42 passes for 652 yards (15.5 ypc) with five touchdowns as he ranks second on the team in both receptions and receiving yards and is tied for first in receiving touchdowns.
Brady, a 5-11, 197-pound senior safety from Cove, Utah (Sky View HS/BYU), ranks tied for eighth in the WAC and tied for 92nd in the nation in tackles (7.9 pg). On the season, he ranks third on the team in total tackles (87) to go along with 2.0 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble, not to mention four double-figure tackle outings.
Lawson, a 5-10, 183-pound junior cornerback from Lauderhill, Fla. (Piper HS), ranks tied for ninth in the WAC in passes defended (0.75 pg) and tied for 31st in the WAC in tackles (5.1 pg). Overall, he ranks sixth on the team in tackles (61) and leads the team with 45 solo stops. He is also second on the team with nine pass breakups, to go along with 4.0 tackles for loss, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one quarterback hurry.
Markosian, a 6-2, 302-pound junior tackle from Connell, Wash. (Connell HS), graded out above 80 percent in every game but one this year. He also had 59 knockdowns on the season and has only allowed two sacks this year.
This season, Larsen, Schultz and Markosian anchored an offensive line that has helped Utah State rank second in the WAC and 26th in the nation in total offense (460.5 ypg), second in the WAC and 15th in the nation in passing efficiency (155.1), third in the WAC and 34th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.50 pg), third in the WAC and 36th in the nation in scoring offense (34.4 ppg), second in the WAC and 37th in the nation in rushing offense (192.5 ypg), and third in the WAC and 37th in the nation in passing offense (268.0 ypg).
Nielsen, a 6-5, 253-pound redshirt freshman defensive tackle from Smithfield, Utah (Sky View HS), ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in sacks (0.42 pg). On the season, he ranks second among USU’s defensive linemen with 33 tackles, is fourth on the team and first among defensive linemen with 6.5 tackles for loss, while his 5.0 sacks are tied for first among USU’s defensive linemen. He also leads the team with two blocked kicks to go along with three quarterback hurries and one pass breakup.
Vigil, a 6-2, 228-pound sophomore linebacker from Clearfield, Utah (Clearfield HS), ranks tied for fourth in the WAC and tied for 85th in the nation in tackles (8.0 pg), tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 97th in the nation in sacks (0.46 pg), and tied for fifth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.79 pg). On the season, Vigil leads the team in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (5.5), and ranks second in tackles (96) and third in quarterback hurries (5), to go along with one blocked kick, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.
Bartlett, a 6-2, 248-pound senior tight end from Blue Springs, Mo. (Blue Springs South HS), has 37 receptions for 261 yards (7.1 ypc) with five touchdowns on the season. Overall, his five receiving touchdowns rank tied for first on the team.
Jacobs, a 6-0, 178-pound senior wide receiver from Richmond, Calif. (Kennedy HS/Laney JC), ranks third in the WAC and 40th in the nation in kick returns (24.5 ypr), and ninth in the WAC in all-purpose yards (89.4 ypg). On the season, he has 36 receptions for 550 yards with five touchdowns to rank tied for first on the team.
Connor Williams, a 6-3, 271-pound junior defensive tackle from Kanata, Ontario, Canada (Holy Trinity HS), ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in sacks (0.42 pg). On the season, he ranks third among USU’s defensive linemen with 30 tackles and second among defensive linemen with 6.0 tackles for loss, while his 5.0 sacks are tied for first among USU’s defensive linemen.
Utah State (10-2, 6-0 WAC) just completed its most successful regular season in school history as it set single-season records for wins (10) and home wins (6), while recording its first outright league championship since 1936 and its 11th in school history as it became the first team in USU history to post a 6-0 conference record.
USU concludes WAC play with an 11-game winning streak and has won each of its last six games this year. In all, Utah State has now won 15 of its last 18 games to rank as the best 18-game stretch in school history since the 1962-64 teams also won 15 of 18 games.
Utah State concludes its 2012 season against Toledo (9-3, 6-2 MAC) at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. (MT). USU, who also played in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, is appearing in back-to-back bowl games for just the third time in school history joining the 1946 Raisin Bowl and 1947 Grape Bowl teams, and the 1960 Sun Bowl and 1961 Gotham Bowl teams. Overall, it is USU’s eighth bowl appearance in school history.
Tickets for the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased online.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.