These WAC players are award-winning performers

ccripe@idahostatesman.comNovember 26, 2008 

The WAC will announce its season-ending awards Monday. We didn't want to wait. We came up with our own team. Many of the spots were easy. Some - quarterback, tight end, linebacker - were not.

And despite their dominance, it doesn't look like the Boise State Broncos will dominate the awards - a tribute to their balance.

Here are our picks:

MAJOR AWARDS

WAC Offensive Player of the Year - Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada: No player in the WAC has done more for his offense than Kaepernick, who leads the WAC in total offense (288.1 yards per game), touchdowns (16) and touchdowns responsible for (31). He's second in rushing (98.8 yards per game) and fourth in pass efficiency (128.0). The only knock is his passing - a 54.4 percent completion rate and an abysmal 19-of-50 against Boise State.

WAC Defensive Player of the Year - Jarron Gilbert, DT, San Jose State: Gilbert leads the WAC and ranks fourth in the nation with 21.5 tackles for loss, including 9.0 sacks. He had 15.5 tackles for loss in eight WAC games, including four each against league champ Boise State and second-place Louisiana Tech.

WAC Freshman of the Year - Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: The first freshman quarterback to start a season opener for the Broncos produced a WAC title. He leads the league in pass efficiency (160.3) and completion percentage (69.7) and is second in total offense (275.9).

WAC Coach of the Year - Chris Petersen, Boise State: He famously was snubbed by the WAC coaches in 2006 in favor of Hawaii's June Jones. That won't happen this time, because Petersen won his second WAC title with a team loaded with young stars.

ALL-WAC OFFENSE

QB - Kellen Moore, Boise State: Kaepernick deserves the offensive honor, but the best true quarterback is Moore. He is first or second in the WAC in efficiency, accuracy, touchdown passes (23), passing yards (277.4) and total offense.

RB - Vai Taua, Nevada: Leads the WAC with 123.5 rushing yards per game.

RB - Daniel Porter, Louisiana Tech: Has rushed for 100 yards in all five WAC wins.

WR - Chris Williams, New Mexico State: Leads the WAC in receptions (84) and receiving yards (1,253).

WR - Jeremy Childs, Boise State: A repeat All-WAC pick who is fourth in catches (60) and third in yards (704).

WR - Marko Mitchell, Nevada: Leads the WAC with 17.2 yards per catch.

TE - Eddie Williams, Idaho: The only tight end in the top 10 in receptions (54) and receiving yards (687).

OL - Dominic Green, Nevada: Led nation's best rushing attack and will repeat on All-WAC team.

OL - Andrew Woodruff, Boise State: The only Bronco lineman to start every game.

OL - John Estes, Hawaii: The Warriors center was an All-WAC player last year, too.

OL - Rob McGill, Louisiana Tech: Bulldogs have won five straight WAC games because of their rushing attack

OL - Bobby Lepori, Fresno State: Bulldogs thrive on the ground and have allowed just 15 sacks.

ALL-WAC DEFENSE

DL - Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State: Produced 21.5 tackles for loss, including 9.0 sacks.

DL - Kevin Basped, Nevada: Third in the WAC with 7.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss and a key part of the Wolf Pack's second-ranked run defense.

DL - David Veikune, Hawaii: Repeat All-WAC pick has 60 tackles and 6.5 sacks at end.

DL- D'Anthony Smith, Louisiana Tech: Tied with Veikune for most tackles by a lineman with 60.

LB - Solomon Elimimian, Hawaii: The preseason player of the year is sixth in the WAC with 91 tackles and 10th with 9.0 tackles for loss.

LB - Duke Ihenacho, San Jose State: Tied for the WAC lead with five interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

LB - Ben Jacobs, Fresno State: Fifth in the WAC with 97 tackles, Jacobs has come through with some game-changing plays.

LB - Jake Hutton, Utah State: Second in the WAC with 100 tackles.

DB - Kyle Wilson, Boise State: Leads the WAC in passes defended with five interceptions (tied for first) and 10 breakups (first) at cornerback.

DB - Christopher Owens, San Jose State: Made 68 tackles with eight pass breakups and one interception at cornerback.

DB - Jeron Johnson, Boise State: Ranks seventh in the WAC with 79 tackles and tied for eighth in passes defended (two picks, six breakups) at safety.

DB - Antonio Baker, Louisiana Tech: Repeat All-WAC pick ranks fourth with 98 tackles.

ALL-WAC SPECIAL TEAMS

K - Brett Jaekle, Nevada: He leads the WAC in field-goal accuracy (14-of-17) and is second in scoring (8.6 points per game).

P - T.J. Conley, Idaho: He leads the nation with a 47.4-yard average and the Vandals are 13th in the nation in net punting, the only category in which they are higher than 73rd.

ST - A.J. Jefferson, Fresno State: He averages 30.9 yards per kickoff return with one TD to rank fourth in the nation.

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