EDIT: We are re-running our five posts from Kickoff Week, which originally debuted in July. We are running all posts as they originally were, regardless of changes due to players opting-out, transferring, or declaring for the NFL draft.
If you haven’t been able to see the rest of our Kickoff Week coverage from this week, be sure to catch up from the content we rolled out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
There are many ways to measure the strength of a team or conference. During this week, we’ve tried to capture that from as many angles as possible. Today’s post is a simple list of what we view as the top ten players in the Mountain West Conference. Yes, it’s hard to compare different positions and sides of the ball but it’s also hard not to make a top 10 list of best players when doing internet blogs.
Without further ado, here are the top ten players in the Mountain West heading into 2020, voted on by the MWCConnection team of writers.
1) WR Warren Jackson (Colorado State)
- 2019 stats: 77 receptions, 1119 yards, 8 TDs, 14.5 ypc.
2) DB Tariq Thompson (San Diego State)
- 2019 stats: 51 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 FF, 3 INTs, 8 passes defended
3) WR Khalil Shakir (Boise State)
- 2019 Stats: 63 receptions, 872 receiving yards, 13.8 ypc. 66 rushing yards, 3.5 ypc. 9 total TDs
4) WR Tre Walker (San Jose State)
- 2019 stats: 79 receptions, 1161 yards, 2 TDs, 14.7 ypc.
5) DE Dom Peterson (Nevada)
- 2019 stats: 40 tackles, 15 TFLs, 9 sacks, 2 FF
6) RB Xazavian Valladay (Wyoming)
- 2019 stats: 1265 rushing yards, 5.1 ypc, 11 receptions, 211 receiving yards, 19.2 ypc. 8 total TDs
7) RB George Holani (Boise State)
- 2019 stats: 1014 rushing yards, 5.3 ypc, 26 receptions, 206 receiving yards, 7.9 ypc. 10 total TDs.
8) DB Kekaula Kaniho (Boise State)
- 2019 stats: 61 tackles, 10 TFLs, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FF, 6 passes defended
9) OL Nolan Laufenberg (Air Force)
- 2019 stats: No stats could be found (per usual for offensive lineman)
10) TE Trey McBride (Colorado State)
- 2019 stats: 45 receptions, 560 receiving yards, 12.4 ypc. 4 TDs
- Boise State: 3
- Colorado State: 2
- Air Force: 1
- Nevada: 1
- San Diego State: 1
- San Jose State: 1
- Wyoming: 1
- 20 total players received votes. Those who did not crack the top 10 were: Dwayne Johnson Jr, Hank Bachmeier, Savon Scarver, Jalen Walker, Trey McBride, Cameron Thomas, Solomon Byrd, Jalen Cropper, Justin Rice, and Charles Williams.
- Donald Hammond III would have been likely first or at least second before his change in status as a cadet based on votes at the time.
- Seven players on this list play offensive, which means three players are on the defensive side of the ball. Position wise, 3 are wide receivers, 2 running backs, 2 defensive backs, and then 1 each of tight end, offensive line and defensive end.
- Seven players from last December’s list graduated/were drafted. The three holdovers (Jackson, Walker, Thompson) all remained on this list.
- Out of those players, Jackson went from fifth all the way to first, Thompson rose from fourth to second, and Walker was ninth and now is sitting at fourth.
- Warren Jackson was either first or second on everyone’s list, which makes sense as he was votes the top player. After that, it was more of a mixed bag with votes.
There it is. So let’s hear it. Who did we snub? Who did we put on here that shouldn’t be? Let’s hear you feedback in the comments section.