NOTE: This is the first in our series profiling the Mountain West’s football teams (except Boise State). We will start with the West Division, and go in reverse order of the preseason poll, found here.
Coach: Tony Sanchez
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Record: 0-0 (first season); first college coaching job
Last year: 2-11 overall, 1-7 MW
Last bowl: 2014 Heart Of Dallas (L, 36-14 to North Texas)
Returning starters: 5 offense, 5 defense, 2 specialists
Story line: Sanchez takes on a tough task in rebuilding the Rebels, but the successful Las Vegas high school coach has injected some energy and positive recruiting momentum. There is potential in the passing attack, but it will take time to build up facilities, depth and wins.
Star player: Sophomore receiver Devonte Boyd (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) is a potential next-level talent coming off a debut season in which he had 68 catches for 980 yards and four touchdowns, earning Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors. Senior quarterback Blake Decker said "he deserves the attention - he's a special guy."
Quotable: "None of this stuff is overwhelming. I think there are other guys in situations like me, and I think other guys are going to get opportunities and I think we're going to show it's going to work.." — Sanchez on shifting from Bishop Gorman High to a Football Bowl Subdivision job