Two CSU football players were placed onto preseason watch list honors early Thursday.
Rams wide receiver Dante Wright was placed on the Hornung Award watch list, handed to the nation’s most versatile player on either side of the ball. Offensive tackle Barry Wesley earned a spot on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list, awarded to the player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Wright was one of 50 players in the nation added to the watch list and just one of six in the Mountain West. The other five MW athletes were Utah State’s Deven Thompkins (WR), Nevada’s Toa Taua (RB), Boise State’s Avery Williams (CB), Fresno State’s Ronnie Rivers (RB) and San Diego State’s Jordyn Byrd (RB).
One of the youngest players on the Hornung Award watch list, Dante completed his true freshman campaign in 2019. He proved to be a stellar addition to the Rams roster, hauling in 57 receptions for 807 yards and four touchdowns. On top of his play in the receiving game, Wright carried the ball 17 times and racked up 214 yards and two more scores. In addition to his offensive snaps, Colorado State utilized Dante as their lead punt returner where he took his 20 returns for another 135 yards to add to his resume. He finished 2019 with 1,154 yards from scrimmage, which led the team, and six touchdowns,
Wright had at least three receptions in every game and had just three contests where he went without a rushing attempt. He not only proved to be one of the most versatile players on the roster, but in the entire nation. With a year of experience and likely even more touches in 2020 as his rapport with his QB and coaching staff strengthen, the Rams receiver has what it takes to come home with the Hornung Award come the conclusion of the season.
The other CSU athlete to earn a place on award watch lists yesterday, Wesley was one of 114 nominees to make the Wuerffel Trophy watch list. There were five other Mountain West players who were named, them being Utah State’s Justus Te’i (DE), New Mexico’s Teton Saltes (OT), Boise State’s Donte Harrington (C), Nevada’s Lawson Hall (LB), Hawai’i’s Hekili Keliiliki (RB) and lastly San Jose State’s Christian Webb (DE).
A leader both on and off the field, Colorado State’s junior offensive tackle has started every game over the past two seasons. What makes this more impressive is the fact that Wesley had to walk onto the Rams football program in 2017. He has proved just as versatile as teammate Dante Wright, taking snaps at every offensive line position as a redshirt freshman and making starts at both left and right guard last season.
In 2019, Barry cemented himself as a first-class tackle in the Mountain West in both pass protection and run-blocking. Not only did he allow just two sacks all season long in a pass-heavy offense, but he was stout at creating running lanes for his backs to his at full speed. He was also extremely disciplined, being called for less than a handful number of penalties in 12 contests started.
Although his impact on the gridiron has been nothing less than tremendous, what lands Wesley on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list is what he has done off of it. He is an active participant in the John Mosely Student-Athlete Mentoring program, a member of the President’s Multicultural Student Advisory Committee and has attended the Black Student-Athlete Summit for the past three years.
His campus involvement led to him being named the 2019 Albert C. Yates Student Leadership Award winner, given annually to a student who displays strong involvement through leadership and commitment. His Fort Collins community service has included a trip with the Green and Global program, working with Larimer County Boys and Girls Club and taking part in on-campus activities for the youth in the surrounding area.
Both Wright and Wesley are among the top-10 Rams returning players entering the 2020 season.
Here are all of the Rams who have earned preseason watch list honors thus far: