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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Biggest Surprises in the West Division

A deep division is filled with depth

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Fresno State at San Jose State Photo by Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2021 Mountain West season was filled with unexpected results and surprising starts. This edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” is going to focus on the biggest surprises of the 2021 football season within the West Division. Sometimes players exceed expectations while others fail to meet them. Let’s take a look at how some players stacked up.

The Good

Jake Haener/Carson Strong (Fresno State/Nevada)

I lumped these two together for a reason. These two guys were a ton of fun to watch and had two of the most prolific passing seasons in Mountain West history. These two guys combined for over 8,000 yards passing and 69 touchdowns. We have one more year of Haener, but Carson Strong will look to make an impact for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Charles Williams (UNLV)

I have to give it to Williams. After 2020, I didn’t think he would be able to regain his form. He finished second in the Mountain West in total rushing yards and first in yards per game. Williams was one of the few bright spots on a UNLV offense that struggled to put up points.

Cam Thomas (San Diego State)

Cam Thomas wreaked havoc on Mountain West offenses all year. The Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year finished the season with 11.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. the junior entered the NFL draft and was a third-round selection of the Arizona Cardinals.

The Bad

San Jose State Receivers

It turns out that replacing Tre Walker and Billy Gaither wasn’t all that easy. Some of it may have been due to injuries at the quarterback position, but there was a noticeable drop-off at the wide receiver position this year. The Spartans addressed some of those issues in the transfer portal. Should we expect a bounce-back year by this crew in 2022?

Tyson Maeva (Fresno State)

I thought Maeva would come in and put up crazy numbers in Fresno. The former Boise State linebacker had a very disappointing season, finishing with only 44 tackles. I remember watching Maeva early in his career and thinking he had a chance to play at the next level.

The Ugly

Chevan Cordeiro (Hawaii)

This one doesn’t really fall on Cordeiro, but what a frustrating season. Cordeiro was hampered by injuries, and the Hawaii staff never really seemed like they knew how to utilize the talent they had. Now Cordiero is in San Jose and will be looking to defeat his former school. The Hawaii-San Jose State game is one I will have circled on my calendar.

That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Which player from the West Division surprised you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.