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Counting Down the Mountain West 2000's Decade Greatest Players: Honorable Mentions

Falling for peer pressure here with nearly every site doing decade best this and that, so we decided to get together as a staff and put together the Mountain West best of the decade.  This will last about six weeks (yes we will torture you with slow methodical post) just trying to spread the football stuff out as long as possible. The categories are best player, best team, and games of the decade.  Today we start the countdown of players of the decade with a handful of guys who just missed the list and these are in no order.

Louie Sakoda K/P Utah Utes 2005-2008

Clutch kicker and punter for the Utah Utes, and was a key cog to their 2008 Sugar Bowl run. Only reason not on the top 10, he is a kicker with multiple game winning kicks in his career.  Below are his accolades.

  • 2007 first team All-American kicker
  • 2007 second team All-American punter
  • 2007 CBS Sports first team All-American punter and FWAA
  • 2008 unanimous consensus first team All-American kicker (received the honor after being named to the AP,AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News, and the WCFF teams)

Dennis Pitta TE BYU Cougars (2004, 2007-2009)

Interesting fact about Pitta, he was a walk on as a wide receiver before getting a scholarship and moving to tight end.  He will go down along the best of the best in BYU's great tight end history.  Those absent years was when he served an LDS mission between 2005 and 2006.

  • 2007 All-MWC first team
  • 2008 All-MWC first team
  • 2008 All-America third team
  • 2008 College Football News All-America honorable mention
  • 2008 Sports Illustrated All-America honorable mention
  • 2009 AFCA All-America first team
  • 2009 All-MWC first team
  • 2009 Mackey Award finalist (runner up)
  • 2009 unanimous consensus first team All-American kicker (received the honor after being named to the AP,AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News, and the WCFF teams)

Cory Rodgers WR/KR TCU Horned Frogs (2003-2005)

Only his 2005 year counts since that is the year TCU was in the Mountain West, but his year in the league was amazing as he had 12 total touchdowns.  Of those 12 scores five were reeving and rushing while the other two were on returns.  He averaged 30.3 yards per return on kickoffs and 15.3 yards per return on punts.

  • 2005 All-MWC first team return man
  • 2005 All-MWC third team receiver
  • 2005 ESPN first team All-American Kick returner
  • 2005 Watler Camp first team All-American Kick returner
  • 2005 Sports Illustrated first team All-American Kick returner

Jordan Gross OL Utah Utes (2000-2002)

Gross was a stud on the line for as he was versitatle and able to play most positiosn on the line.  He anchored a line that gave up only five sacks all year which tied for the nations best with Miami, Fl.  In the 2003 April NFL draft Gross was selected eight overall.

  • 2× Honorable mention All-Mountain West (2000-2001)
  • First-team All-Mountain West (2002)
  • Consensus All-American (2002)
  • Outland Trophy finalist (2002)

Andy Dalton QB TCU Horned Frogs 2007 - Current

The only player with eligibility on the list and still has a year of eligibility.   2008 was by far his greatest season as he lead the TCU Horned Frogs to an undefeated season and to the Fiesta Bowl. He does not have the awards, but all he does is win with three straight bowl appearances and the last two were wins.

  • First-team All-Mountain West (2009)
  • Mountain West offensive player of the year (2009)

Ryan Wolfe WR UNLV Rebels 2006- 2009

Four starter and would have better stats had not broke his foot late in the season.  He never did attend a bowl game but will go down as one of the best MWC receivers in the leagues young history.  He was somewhat held back from the multiple quarterbacks that were inserted to the starting positon, but was still able to make plays.

  • First-team All-Mountain West (2006,  2008, and 2009)
  • Honorable Mention All-Mountain West (2007)
  • Freshman of the year in the Mountain West (2006)
  • Biletnikoff Watch List (2007, 2008, and 2009)

Bradlee Van Pelt QB Colorado State Rams (2000- 2003)

Took the Rams to three straight bowl games with two bowl wins and a conference title.  Van Pelt had a 20-8 record as a starter and was one of the most dynamic players in league history with his run first pass second mentality.

  • First-team All-Mountain West (2002 and 2003)
  • Offensive Player of the Year in Mountain West (2003)