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The MWCConnection 2020 Postseason Top 10 Players

Concluding the week with the best players in the MWC.

NCAA Football: Idaho Potato Bowl-Ohio vs Nevada Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Here’s our preseason list for comparison.

Without further ado, here are the top ten players in the Mountain West after the 2020, voted on by the MWCConnection team.

1) QB Carson Strong (Nevada)

  • 2020 stats: 2587 passing yards, 69.4%, 22 TDs, 7.9 ypa

2) WR Khalil Shakir (Boise State)

  • 2020 stats: 52 receptions, 719 receiving yards (867 total yards), 13.8 ypc, 6 TDs

3) TE Trey McBride (Colorado State)

  • 2020 stats: 22 receptions, 330 receiving yards, 15 ypc, 6 TDs

4) WR Bailey Gaither (San Jose State)

  • 2020 stats: 41 receptions, 725 receiving yards, 17.7 ypc, 4 TDs.

5) RB Ronnie Rivers (Fresno State)

  • 2020 stats: 100 rushes, 507 rushing yards, 772 total yards. 9 total TDs

6) DB Tariq Thompson (San Diego State)

  • 2020 stats: 41 tackles. 25 solo tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 FF, 1 INT, 3 passes defended

7) QB Nick Starkel (San Jose State)

  • 2020 stats: 1906 passing yards, 65.1%, 16 TDs, 7.9 ypa

8) DB Avery Williams (Boise State)

  • 2020 stats: 19 tackles, 15 solo, 1 FF, 1 pass defended, 35 kick and punt returns, 762 total return yards, 21.77 average yards per return, 4 total return TDs, 2 blocked punts.

9) RB Xavian Valladay (Wyoming)

  • 2020 stats: 99 rushes, 550 yards, 655 total yards, 4 TDs.

10) OL Nolan Laufenberg (Air Force)

  • 2020 stats: State for an offensive lineman are hard to come by, but the Falcons rushed for yards on the season and it was noticeable when he was not in the lineup. For the season they averaged 305.7 rushing yards per game and 2.7 rushing TDs per game.

Team Breakdown:

  • Boise State: 2
  • San Jose State: 2
  • Air Force: 1
  • Colorado State: 1
  • Fresno State: 1
  • Nevada: 1
  • San Diego State: 1
  • Wyoming: 1


  • 10 players received votes. Those who did not crack the top 10 were: Dom Peterson (Nevada) and Jalen Cropper (Fresno State)
  • The position breakdown is: That comes out to 8 on offense, 2 on defense. 2 quarterbacks, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight end, 1 offensive lineman, and 2 defensive backs.
  • Five players from our preseason list did not make this list. Excluding Warren Jackson who opted-out, Tre Walker had the biggest drop, followed by Dom Peterson.
  • On the opposite end, Strong, Gaither, Rivers, Starkel, and Williams went from no votes in the preseason to their respective positions in the top 10.
  • There were no unanimous selections, but the top three were pretty much consensus picks in some order.

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.