Mountain West Conference media days in Las Vegas concluded on Thursday with the media being allowed to talk with two players from each team in the league. The media spoke to the head coaches on Wednesday. You can see the recap of that here.
The conference also released their preseason all-conference teams, as well as announcing the preseason players of the year.
QB Carson Strong - Nevada
WR Romeo Doubs - Nevada
WR Khalil Shakir - Boise State
RB Xazavian Valladay - Wyoming
RB Ronnie Rivers - Fresno State
OL Keegan Cryder - Wyoming
OL John Ojukwu - Boise State
OL Jack Snyder - San José State
OL Zachary Thomas - San Diego State
OL Jake Stetz - Boise State
TE Cole Turner - Nevada
DL Cade Hall - San José State
DL Cameron Thomas - San Diego State
DL Scott Patchan - Colorado State
DL Viliami Fehoko - San José State
LB Chad Muma - Wyoming
LB Caden McDonald - San Diego State
LB Darius Muasau - Hawai‘i
DB Kekaula Kaniho - Boise State
DB Jerrick Reed II - New Mexico
DB Cortez Davis - Hawai‘i
DB Tre Jenkins - San José State
P Ryan Stonehouse - Colorado State
PK Brandon Talton - Nevada
PR Calvin Turner - Hawai‘i
KR Savon Scarver - Utah State
Offensive Player of the Year: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
No surprise here, Strong is the face of Mountain West football in 2021. Pivotal fall for Nevada and Strong, nothing short of a Mountain West championship game appearance is expected.
Defensive Player of the Year: Cade Hall, DL, San José State
Hall returns to a Spartan defensive line that should be one of the best in college football. It’s not often we see repeat winners of the player of the year award, but Hall has the ability to accomplish exactly that.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Savon Scarver, KR, Utah State
Finally, Avery Williams is gone. Scarver is an exceptional talent who might run away with this award in 2021.
Well then, looks like Spartan quarterback Nick Starkel showed up to Mountain West media days looking to add some spice.
Nick Starkel: “We heard some grumbling maybe Boise had known a couple days (prior) that they were going to cancel the game because they let their players go home for Thanksgiving, which is against protocol.”— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) July 22, 2021
I confirmed with a Boise State official this is inaccurate. pic.twitter.com/fRZ5V1PIrN
I’m guessing Nevada quarterback Carson Strong will be full-go, no restrictions come opening day, but this feels worth noting at the least.
Media Days: Nevada QB Carson Strong said he had knee surgery about 5 months ago. He’s not 100% but he said he’s still throwing. #MWFB— Ron Counts (@Ron_BroncoBeat) July 22, 2021
Calvin Turner Jr. is incredible, adding American Sign Language to the long list of things he can do. Also, am I losing my mind or has Hawaii’s shade of green changed under Adidas?
This topic is not going away, folks. I sincerely hope this doesn’t become a serious factor in the Mountain West this fall.
UNM will not require its athletes to get vaccinated. But there are a lot of good reasons to do so for Lobo players/teams, even beyond the obvious hope that it helps prevent contracting and spreading COVID-19. https://t.co/Bm4D2UlMH2 via @ABQJournal— Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) July 22, 2021
Hawaii’s Calvin Turner Jr. and Cortez Davis are looking forward to something few ever thought would happen: The Warriors will play on campus. It’s exciting, they should be excited. But of course, Hawaii is playing on campus because Aloha Stadium has essentially been condemned. It’s a bad circumstance, but major kudos to Hawaii for the making the best of it.
Home Sweet Home; With construction near completion, @HawaiiFootball is ‘very excited’ to be playing on campus in 2021 • For more @MountainWest Media Days coverage https://t.co/H1NVkfO11l + https://t.co/9oZimTtTXJ @_ctjr @1Tez_Davis #HawaiiFB #GoBows pic.twitter.com/TI6acDT4Hu— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) July 22, 2021
Boise State’s Kekaula Kaniho was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy last season, a crazy impressive accomplishment (it’s essentially the “Academic Heisman”). Kaniho decided to take up the NCAA’s offer of another year of eligibility. Kaniho was announced to the preseason All-Conference team.
‘How you do anything is how you do everything’ - #Kahuku’s Kekaula Kaniho hopes that by winning the “Academic Heisman” the next generation of #Hawaii athletes can chase being great on the field and off the field @BroncoSportsFB @KahukuSports // https://t.co/9oZimTtTXJ pic.twitter.com/CbqvMJCWFK— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) July 22, 2021
Is Fresno State poised to jump back into the championship scene? Running back Ronnie Rivers sure thinks so. Nevada received most of the first place votes in the preseason standings, but that division is notorious for being unpredictable. Fresno State, Hawaii, San Diego State, and San Jose State will all have something to say about that.
(prove me wrong UNLV)
Ronnie Rivers and David Perales representing @FresnoStateFB @MountainWest media days. Rivers said, "I feel championship vibes from this team."— Stephen Hicks (@StephenABC30) July 22, 2021
Hear more tonight at 6 PM on @ABC30! pic.twitter.com/WPyfgfEXbm
Speaking of UNLV, star linebacker Jacoby Windmon is a uh, well, inside linebacker now. He was playing edge previously. Don’t often see such a position change. The Rebels will be looking to prove a lot of naysayers wrong this fall, picked to finish last in the West Division.
As @JW1NDMON enters his junior season moving from the edge to inside linebacker he tells me that he looks up to @PatrickWillis52 and @LarryGrant95 for inspiration.— Paloma Villicana FOX5 (@PalomaVillicana) July 22, 2021
"They made it. I want to be able to be in their position. I want to keep growing as much as I can." pic.twitter.com/eBRCOp0Sd2
Wyoming stars Chad Muma and Xazavian Valladay appeared to enjoy themselves yesterday. This fall will be Wyoming Football’s 125th anniversary, and with a seemingly softish schedule, this could be the year Craig Bohl’s boys breakout.
Let’s be real: plenty of fans play the “nobody believes in us!” card this time of year. Some might be right, but most will be wrong. Air Force fans, however, have to be wondering why the 2020 season is being held against them. This team went 11-2 in 2019, then proceeded to have more than half the team opt out for the 2020 season, and are now projected to finish 4th in the Mountain Division. Beware of those Falcons. They’re a genuine sleeper.
Colorado State tight end Trey McBride might’ve been the most shocking omission from the preseason All-Conference list. Best believe this Ram will be a problem this fall.
In a league deep with tight ends, Colorado State's @mcbtrey stands out to Mountain West coaches— Mike Brohard (@mbrohard) July 21, 2021
"He's an explosive player, and he's got to be one of the best tight ends in the country."
Tell them, Lawson. The NCAA Football video game cannot return soon enough.
How does Lawson Hall feel about the NCAA's decision to allow players to gain a profit off their name & likeness?— Nevada Sports Net (@NevadaSportsNet) July 22, 2021
"I remember when they ended the NCAA '14 game. I was hurt because I was getting ready to be in the video game. If I get the chance this year that would be great" pic.twitter.com/zRyEeK95Ys
New Mexico safety Jerrick Reed made preseason All-Conference. Like UNLV, the Lobos will be out to prove the doubters wrong. Wins over Wyoming, Fresno State last season proved this team could be a stingy out this fall.
San Diego State was picked to finish 3rd in the West Division. The Aztecs participating in media days appeared to have fun, but you can bet this program will be looking to reestablish order after having lost out on winning the West every year since 2017. Aztecs will continue to play in Carson, California for one more season before breaking in their awesome new stadium.
More from Turner Jr. and Davis.
It’s a new era in Logan. Add the Aggies to the list of programs looking to silence the detractors this fall.