Bronco Beat

Brett Rypien named MW Freshman of the Year, All-MW first team

kgreen@idahostatesman.com

Boise State true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year and first-team all-conference quarterback on Tuesday.

Rypien was one of six All-MW first-teamers for the Broncos. The others: wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck, center Marcus Henry, left tackle Rees Odhiambo, kicker Tyler Rausa and safety Darian Thompson.

The All-MW second-teamers were tailback Jeremy McNichols, tight end Jake Roh, defensive end Kamalei Correa and cornerback Donte Deayon.

Defensive end Tyler Horn, linebacker Tanner Vallejo and right tackle Mario Yakoo received honorable mention.

Rypien is the first freshman to earn All-MW first-team quarterback honors in the league’s 17-year history. Quarterback Kellen Moore was the WAC Freshman of the Year in 2008 — the last time a Broncos football player won a conference freshman award.

Rypien averages 297.3 passing yards per game — 80 more than anyone else in the conference. He ranked sixth in pass efficiency (137.5), third in touchdown passes (17) and third in completion percentage (62.5). He didn’t become the starter until the fourth game of the season, after an injury to starter Ryan Finley.

Henry, a three-year starter, and Thompson, who broke the Mountain West career interception record and now has 19, were repeat picks on the first team.

Sperbeck leads the Mountain West with 82 catches for 1,334 yards. He has 401 more yards than anyone else.

Odhiambo, a three-year starter, made the second team last year. He landed on the first team this season despite missing the last four games with a broken ankle.

Rausa is tied for second in the nation with 23 made field goals on 28 attempts this season. He’s second in the conference in percentage at 82.1 but Nevada’s Brent Zuzo only has 16 attempts (14-for-16).

Among the second-teamers, McNichols leads the nation in touchdowns (23), ranks fourth in the MW in rushing and ranks eighth in receptions; Roh has 29 receptions at tight end; Correa, a first-teamer last year, has dipped to five sacks this year; and Deayon landed on the second team for the third straight year. Deayon might have been hurt by missing two conference games with a knee injury.

Honorable mentions went to Horn (39 tackles, 6.5 for loss, interception), Vallejo (57 tackles, eight for loss) and Yakoo, the starting right tackle.

• • • 

From the Mountain West:

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – DONNEL PUMPHREY, JUNIOR, RB, SAN DIEGO STATE

Just the fifth running back overall, and first since 2007 (Chad Hall, Air Force) to be named MW Offensive Player of the Year.

Finished the regular season ranked second in the Mountain West in rushing touchdowns (16) and all-purpose yards (1,797), third in total rushing yards (1,464) and rushing yards per game (122.0).

Is the only player in the MW, and one of four in FBS, to lead his team in rushing yards and receptions.

Has registered nine, 100-yard rushing games in 2015, including in a MW record eight consecutive contests.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – DEMONTAE KAZEE, JUNIOR, DB, SAN DIEGO STATE

Second San Diego State player, and third Aztec overall (LB Kirk Morrison won in 2003 and 2004) to earn MW Defensive Player of the Year accolades.

Sixth defensive back overall to earn the award, and just the second in the last nine seasons.

Led the Conference with seven interceptions.

Finished the regular season with 66 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

Had three interceptions in the season opener against San Diego on Sept. 5, the second most in a game in SDSU history and the most in FBS this year.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – RASHAAD PENNY, SOPHOMORE, RETURN SPECIALIST, SAN DIEGO STATE

Sixth return specialist in the last seven years to win the honor.

Led the Conference in kickoff returns for touchdowns with two and kickoff return yards per game with 32.5.

Finished the regular season second in the nation in kickoff return yards per game and fifth in kickoff return touchdowns.

Returned two kicks for 137 yards (68.5 avg.), including a 100-yard touchdown (fourth 100-yard KR score in SDSU history) at Penn State on Sept. 26.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR – BRETT RYPIEN, QB, BOISE STATE

Fourth quarterback overall, and first since 2011, to garner MW Freshman of the Year honors.

The first freshman quarterback in league history to be named first team All-Conference.

Topped the Conference in six offensive categories, including passing yards (2,973), passing yards per game (297.3), pass attempts (389), pass completions (243), total offense (2,913) and total offensive plays (428).

Concluded the regular season third in the league in passing touchdowns (17) and completion percentage (62.5).

Ranked ninth in FBS in completions per game (21.4) and 16th in passing yards per game (297.6).

Owns two of the nation’s top-20 single-game passing totals in 2015: 506 yards vs. New Mexico on Nov. 14 (sixth-best FBS total this season) and 469 yards at UNLV on Oct. 31 (18th-highest FBS total this season).

Holds the MW single-season freshman record for passing yards with 2,973.

Set the Mountain West single-game record for pass attempts with 75 versus New Mexico on Nov. 14.

Registered MW single-game records by a freshman with 40 completions and 503 passing yards against the Lobos on Nov. 14.

Topped the League with four, 300-plus passing contests.

Threw for three touchdowns in three different games.

COACH OF THE YEAR – ROCKY LONG, SAN DIEGO STATE

Selected as MW Coach of the Year after leading San Diego State to a 9-3 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in Conference play. The 2015 season marks Long’s fifth season as the head coach at SDSU.

Becomes the first head coach in conference history to earn the accolade three times after also receiving the honor in 2012 at SDSU and 2002 as the head coach at New Mexico.

Is the second Aztec coach to earn MW Coach of the Year accolades. Brady Hoke garnered the award in 2010.

Led SDSU to its first-ever perfect record at the Division I level in conference play at 8-0.

San Diego State’s eight league wins are the most since TCU went 8-0 in 2010.

The Aztecs’ nine overall wins are the most for the program since the 2012 campaign.

2015 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB Brett Rypien Fr. Boise State

WR Thomas Sperbeck Jr. Boise State

WR Rashard Higgins* Jr. Colorado State

RB Donnel Pumphrey* Jr. San Diego State

RB Tyler Ervin Sr. San José State

TE Billy Freeman Jr. San José State

OL Sevrin Remmo Sr. Air Force

OL Marcus Henry Sr. Boise State

OL Rees Odhiambo Sr. Boise State

OL Nico Siragusa Jr. San Diego State

OL Pearce Slater Sr. San Diego State

PK Tyler Rausa Jr. Boise State

PR/KR Rashaad Penny So. San Diego State

DEFENSE

DL Alex Hansen Sr. Air Force

DL Kennedy Tulimasealii Jr. Hawai‘i

DL Ian Seau Sr. Nevada

DL Alex Barrett Jr. San Diego State

LB Calvin Munson Jr. San Diego State

LB Kyler Fackrell Sr. Utah State

LB Nick Vigil* Jr. Utah State

DB Roland Ladipo Jr. Air Force

DB Weston Steelhammer* Jr. Air Force

DB Darian Thompson* Sr. Boise State

DB Damontae Kazee Jr. San Diego State

P Michael Carrizosa So. San José State

*Two-time first-team Selection

2015 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

QB Nick Stevens So. Colorado State

WR Devonte Boyd* So. UNLV

WR Hunter Sharp Sr. Utah State

RB Jeremy McNichols So. Boise State

RB Brian Hill So. Wyoming

TE Jake Roh So. Boise State

OL A.J. Ruechel Sr. Air Force

OL Fred Zerblis Jr. Colorado State

OL Alex Fifita Sr. Fresno State

OL Wes Schweitzer Sr. San José State

OL Chase Roullier Jr. Wyoming

PK Brent Zuzo Jr. Nevada

PR/KR Carlos Wiggins Sr. New Mexico

DEFENSE

DL Kamalei Correa Jr. Boise State

DL Cory James Sr. Colorado State

DL Lenny Jones Sr. Nevada

DL Eddie Yarbrough Sr. Wyoming

LB Ejiro Ederaine* Sr. Fresno State

LB Jake Fely* Sr. San Diego State

LB Christian Tago Jr. San José State

DB Donte Deayon** Sr. Boise State

DB Dameon Baber Fr. Nevada

DB J.J. Whittaker* Sr. San Diego State

DB Andrew Wingard Fr. Wyoming

P Hayden Hunt Jr. Colorado State

*--Two-time second-team selection

**--Three-time second-team selection

2015 HONORABLE MENTION

Air Force: Jacobi Owens, Jr., RB; Jalen Robinette, Jr., WR.

Boise State: Tyler Horn, Sr., DL; Tanner Vallejo, Jr., LB; Mario Yakoo, Jr., OL.

Colorado State: Sam Carlson, Sr., OL; Kivon Cartwright, Sr., TE; Kevin Davis, Jr., LB; Trent Matthews, Sr., DB.

Fresno State: Claudell Louis, Sr., DL.

Hawaii: Dejon Allen, So., OL; Ben Clarke, Sr., OL; Julian Gener, Sr., LB; Nick Nelson, So., DB; Rigoberto Sanchez, Jr., P.

Nevada: James Butler, So., RB; Austin Corbett, So., OL; Jarred Gipson, Jr., TE.

New Mexico: Dakota Cox, Jr., LB; Nik D’Avanzo, Jr., DL; Eden Mahina, Sr., OL.

San Diego State: Daniel Brunskill, Jr., TE; Donny Hageman, Sr., PK; Christian Heyward, Sr., DL; Jon Sanchez, Sr., DL; Malik Smith, So., DB.

San Jose State: Jeremiah Kolone, So., OL; Maurice McKnight, So., DB; Kenny Potter, Jr., QB; Jimmy Pruitt, Sr., DB; Nate Velichko, So., OL; Cleveland Wallace, Jr., DB.

UNLV: Will Kreitler, Jr., OL; Tau Lotulelei, Jr., LB.

Utah State: Austin Albrecht, Jr., OL; Jalen Davis, So., DB; David Moala, Sr., DL; Tyshon Mosley, So., OL; Kent Myers, So., QB; Jordan Nielsen, Sr., DL; Andrew Rodriguez, Jr., KR/PR; Jake Simonich, So, OL; Austin Stephens, So., OL.

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