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Seven Mountain West players named to Phil Steele's All-American team

Defense and special teams are well represented on the notable four-deep.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Many postseason honors have already been handed out, but now that the regular season has finally come to an end and bowl season is just days away, well-know college football prognosticator Phil Steele released his yearly All-American selections.

Though the Mountain West's offensive playmakers like Donnel Pumphrey, Jeremy McNichols and Tyler Ervin surely garnered some consideration, four of Steele's seven selections from the conference played on the defensive side of the ball in 2015 and three were elite special teams contributors.

Boise State safety Darian Thompson and San Jose State punter Michael Carrizosa, in particular, led the way in being named second-team selections. Thompson, always one of the nation's best ballhawks, grabbed five interceptions in 2015, one of just 17 FBS players to reach that mark, and chipped in 63 tackles, as well.

Carrizosa, meanwhile, was one of the conference's two finalists for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation's best punter, after averaging 47.7 yards per punt (with a net average of 41.8 ypp) and placing 16 of just 43 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line.

Hayden Hunt, the MWC's other Ray Guy finalist, landed third-team honors behind Carrizosa and Guy Award winner Tom Hackett. He averaged 46.3 yards per punt and a net average of 43.4, the latter of which ranked second nationally. San Diego State linebacker Calvin Munson was also named to the third team after leading the conference's most dominant defense with 92 tackles, a figure which includes 14 1/2 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

The Aztecs' Rashaad Penny and Damontae Kazee made the fourth team, giving them a conference-best three selections. Penny finished fourth in the FBS by averaging 30.6 yards per kickoff return, and he also returned two kicks for scores, one of just nine players to do so. Kazee, meanwhile, had an argument as the nation's top corner after grabbing seven interceptions as the conference's Defensive Player of the Year. The two of them are joined by Utah State's Kyler Fackrell, who came back from injury to collect 76 tackles, 13 1/2 tackles for loss and four sacks.

Additionally, Steele also released his first, second, and third-team all-Mountain West selections. Boise State garnered eight first-team selections, the most in the conference, while SDSU had seven.

Offense

First Team Second Team Third Team
QB Brett Rypien, Boise State Nick Stevens, Colorado State Kenny Potter, SJSU
RB Donnel Pumphrey, SDSU Jeremy McNichols, Boise State Jacobi Owens, Air Force
RB Tyler Ervin, SJSU Don Jackson, Nevada Paul Harris, Hawai'i
RB Brian Hill, Wyoming James Butler, Nevada Marteze Waller, Fresno State
WR Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State Hunter Sharp, Utah State Hasaan Henderson, Nevada
WR Rashard Higgins, Colorado State Devonte Boyd, UNLV Jake Maulhardt, Wyoming
TE Billy Freeman, SJSU Jarred Gipson, Nevada Jake Roh, Boise State
C Marcus Henry, Boise State Nico Siragusa, SDSU A.J. Ruechel, Air Force
OL Rees Odhiambo, Boise State Alex Fifita, Fresno State Wes Schweitzer, SJSU
OL Pearce Slater, SDSU Austin Stephens, Utah State Chase Roullier, Wyoming
OL Fred Zerblis, Colorado State Jake Simonich, Utah State Eden Mahina, New Mexico
OL Sevrin Remmo, Air Force Ben Clarke, Hawai'i Austin Corbett, Nevada

Defense

First Team Second Team Third Team
DL Kamalei Correa, Boise State Alex Hansen, Air Force Jon Sanchez, SDSU
DL Ian Seau, Nevada Kennedy Tulimasealii, Hawai'i Christian Heyward, SDSU
DL Alex Barrett, SDSU Nik D'Avanzo, New Mexico Claudell Louis, Fresno State
DL Eddie Yarbrough, Wyoming Lenny Jones, Nevada Jordan Nielsen, Utah State
LB Calvin Munson, SDSU Cory James, Colorado State Tau Lotulelei, UNLV
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State Christian Tago, SJSU Dakota Cox, New Mexico
LB Ejiro Ederaine, Fresno State Nick Vigil, Utah State Julian Gener, Hawai'i
LB Jake Fely, SDSU Tanner Vallejo, Boise State Jordan Dobrich, Nevada
DB Damontae Kazee, SDSU Dameon Baber, Nevada Trent Matthews, Colorado State
DB Darian Thompson, Boise State Andrew Wingard, Wyoming Malik Smith, SDSU
DB Donte Deayon, Boise State J.J. Whittaker, SDSU Cleveland Wallace III, SJSU
OL Weston Steelhammer, Air Force Roland Ladipo, Air Force Jalen Davis, Utah State

Special Teams

First Team Second Team Third Team
K Tyler Rausa, Boise State Brent Zuzo, Nevada Donny Hageman, SDSU
P Michael Carrazosa, SJSU Hayden Hunt, Colorado State Rigoberto Sanchez, Hawai'i
KR Rashaad Penny, SDSU Carlos Wiggins, New Mexico D.J. May, Wyoming
PR Joe Hansley, Colorado State Andrew Rodriguez, Utah State Nick Nelson, Hawai'i