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The MWCConnection 2021 Preseason Top 10 Players.

Who are on the top players in the conference this season?

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 on 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 who 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 2021, voted on by the MWCConnection team of writers.

1) QB Carson Strong (Nevada)

  • 2020 stats (9 games): 2858 passing yards, 70.1%, 27 TDs, 8.1 ypa

2) WR Khalil Shakir (Boise State)

  • 2020 stats (7 games): 52 receptions, 719 receiving yards (867 total yards), 13.8 ypc, 6 TDs

3) DE Cade Hall (San Jose State)

  • 2020 stats (7 games): 26 tackles, 12 TFLs, 10 sacks, 1 fumble recovery.

4) WR (RB) Calvin Turner Jr. (Hawaii)

  • 2020 stats (9 games): 877 total yards, 9.4 yards per touch, 10 total DBs

5) WR Romeo Doubs (Nevada)

  • 2020 stats (9 games): 58 receptions, 1002 receiving yards, 17.3 ypa, 9 TDs

6) RB Xazavian Valladay (Wyoming)

  • 2020 stats (5 games): 99 rushes, 550 yards, 655 total yards, 4 TDs.

7) DE Scott Patchan (Colorado State)

  • 2020 stats (4 games): 22 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks

8) DL Cameron Thomas (San Diego State)

  • 2020 stats (7 games): 35 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4 sacks, 1 passes defended.

9) RB Ronnie Rivers (Fresno State)

  • 2020 stats (6 games): 100 rushes, 507 rushing yards, 772 total yards. 9 total TDs

10) TE Trey McBride (Colorado State)

  • 2020 stats (4 games): 22 receptions, 330 receiving yards, 15 ypc, 6 TDs

Team Breakdown:

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


  • 17 total players received votes. Those who did not crack the top 10 were: George Holani, Kekaula Kaniho, Jack Snyder, Nick Starkel, Justin Rice, Kyle Harmon, and Savon Scarver.
  • 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, 3 running backs, 3 defensive linemen, and 1 quarterback.
  • Three players from last December’s list graduated/were drafted. There were five holdovers (Strong, Shakir, Valladay, Rivers, McBride).
  • Strong and Shakir were the unanimous top two players in our voting, respectfully. They were the top two players in December as well. Hall was one vote away from being the consensus third-best player.
  • Similarly, after the top seven players, there was a sharp drop-off.
  • McBride had the biggest drop, from 3rd to 10th. Starkel dropped off the list from December. Hall and Turner had the biggest rises, along with the other newcomers.
  • Valladay was voted the 6th best player last preseason as well.

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.