Big Sky Conference Releases Football All-Conference Teams - News, Sports and Weather

Big Sky Conference Releases Football All-Conference Teams

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The Big Sky Conference has announced its Football All-Conference team and individual award winners for the 2015 regular season.

The team was selected by the league’s coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their student-athletes. Then, the votes were compiled by the league office.

Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp is this year’s Offensive Player of the Year, and is also a first-team wide receiver. A three-time first-team receiver in the Big Sky, Kupp was a consensus selection to this season’s first-team. He led the FCS in five categories – receptions (114), receptions per game (10.4), reception yards (1,642), reception yards per game (149.3) and touchdown receptions (19). Kupp also has set eight Big Sky records in his career .

Kupp is one of two wide receivers to win the Offensive Player of the Year award, with the other being Idaho’s Eric Yarber in 1985. Kupp is considered to be a strong candidate for the STATS National Offensive Player of the Year award.

Southern Utah defensive end James Cowser is the recipient of this season’s Defensive Player of the Year award, in part due to his role leading the Big Sky’s top defense. Cowser, who is a two-time all-Big Sky first-team player, finished the season with 11 sacks and 17 tackles-for-loss. In the process of posting those statistics, Cowser set the FCS all-time record in both categories, as well as besting the Big Sky records posted by Idaho State’s Jared Allen.

Cowser is a candidate for National Defensive Player of the Year, and was a consensus first-team selection.

For the first time ever in the history of the Freshman of the Year award, the league’s coaches unanimously voted for two players to win the award- Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus and North Dakota running back John Santiago.

Cookus finished the season by throwing for 3,110 yards and 37 touchdowns, and led the nation for most the season in passer efficiency. Cookus also received the league’s first-team all-Big Sky honors at quarterback, as he kept Northern Arizona in the playoff hunt until the final week of the season.

Santiago led all FCS freshman running backs and the Big Sky Conference with 1,459 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, while also leading all FCS rookies with a UND regular-season record of 2,159 all-purpose yards (1,459 rush, 81 receiving, 38 punt return, 581 kick return).

He became the first true freshman to lead the Big Sky in rushing in the 53-year history of the league and burst onto the national scene with an FCS-leading nine 100-yard rushing games in 2015, including surpassing that total in all eight of his league games.

Santiago was voted a consensus all-Big Sky first-team running back, to add to his list of accomplishments in the 2015 season.

Both Cookus and Santiago are candidates for the National Freshman of the Year award.

Portland State quarterback Alex Kuresa won the league’s Newcomer of the Year award, and his victory symbolizes the effort of a Portland State team that barged its way into the league’s upper echelon, as the Vikings finished the regular season with a 9-2 record.

Kuresa helped manage Portland State’s offense in two wins over FBS opponents, including the Pac-12’s Washington State. Kuresa threw for 1,863 yards and 16 touchdowns, while also rushing for 707 yards on the season. A transfer from Snow College, Kuresa is the first Portland State player to win the award, and was also an all-Big Sky honorable mention at quarterback.

Other individual notables on the all-conference list include Northern Colorado earning two special teams honors, as Hakeem Deggs was named first-team all-Big Sky special teams player of the year, and Ellis Onic II was named first-team all-Big Sky return specialist.

Southern Utah safety Miles Killebrew earned all-Big Sky honors at multiple positions, being named a first-team safety and a second-team special teams players.

Montana State guard JP Flynn earning his third all-Big Sky selection, placing on the third team.

Overall, Northern Arizona led all teams by placing five players on the first team, followed by Southern Utah and Montana placing four players on the first team.

Southern Utah and Montana led all teams with 12 players selected for all-Big Sky honors, with North Dakota and Portland State adding 11 players to the mix.

All-Conference List

First Team

Name                                  School                                         Year                                               Position                                                  Hometown

*Cooper Kupp                   Eastern Washington                 Jr.                                                          WR                                           Yakima, Wash.

Emmanuel Butler             Northern Arizona                      So.                                                         WR                                            Phoenix, Ariz.

Jamaal Jones                    Montana                                     Sr.                                                          WR                                      Spanaway, Wash.

Clay DeBord                     Eastern Washington                 Sr.                                                           OT                                             Asotin, Wash.

John Weidenaar               Montana State                           Sr.                                                           OT                                      Manhattan, Mont.

Sean Meehan                    North Dakota                             Sr.                                                           OG                                                Trevor, Wis.

Aaron Neary                     Eastern Washington                 Sr.                                                           OG                                         Richland, Wash.

Joe Hawkins                      Weber State                              Sr.                                                              C                                        Vero Beach, Fla.

Beau Sandland                 Montana State                           Sr.                                                            TE                                      Simi Valley, Calif.

Case Cookus                     Northern Arizona                      Fr.                                                           QB                               Thousand Oaks, Calif.

*John Santiago                 North Dakota                             Fr.                                                           RB                                       St. Francis, Minn.

Casey Jahn                        Northern Arizona                      Sr.                                                           RB                                                Peoria, Ariz.

Joe Protheroe                   Cal Poly                                      So.                                                           FB                                           Concord, Calif.

Ryan Hawkins                   Northern Arizona                      Sr.                                                            PK                                                Peoria, Ariz.

Hakeem Deggs                 Northern Colorado                   RSo.                                                        ST                                         Plaquemine, La.

Ellis Onic II                         Northern Colorado                   RSo.                                                        RS                                              Dallas, Texas

Tyler Kuder                       Idaho State                                 RSr.                                                         DT                                           Payette, Idaho

Caleb Kidder,                    Montana                                     RJr.                                                         DT                                            Helena, Mont.

*James Cowser                 Southern Utah                           Sr.                                                           DE                                    Fruit Heights, Utah

Tyrone Holmes                 Montana                                     Sr.                                                           DE                                       Eagle Point, Ore.

Michael Needham            Southern Utah                           So.                                                        OLB                                        St. George, Utah

Herbert Gamboa               Montana                                     Sr.                                                         OLB                                 San Clemente, Calif.

Will Ratelle                        North Dakota                             Sr.                                                           ILB                                               Edina, Minn.

Darnell Sankey                 Sacramento State                     Sr.                                                           ILB                                          San Jose, Calif.

Marcus Alford                   Northern Arizona                      Sr.                                                           CB                                             Oxnard, Calif.

LeShaun Sims                   Southern Utah                           Sr.                                                           CB                                         Las Vegas, Nev.

Miles Killebrew                 Southern Utah                           Sr.                                                              S                                         Las Vegas, Nev.

Patrick Onwuasor             Portland State                            Sr.                                                              S                                       Inglewood, Calif.

Ryan Hawkins                   Northern Arizona                      Sr.                                                              P                                                Peoria, Ariz.

Second Team

Name                                  School                                         Year                                               Position                                                  Hometown

Madison Mangum             Idaho State                                 Sr.                                                          WR                                               Boise, Idaho

Mike Sharp                        Southern Utah                           Jr.                                                          WR                                        St. George, Utah

Kendrick Bourne              Eastern Washington                 Jr.                                                          WR                                             Portland, Ore.

John Schmaing                 Montana                                     Sr.                                                           OT                                            Billings, Mont.

Kyle Smith                         Portland State                            Jr.                                                            OT                                                 Elmira, Ore.

Brandon Anderson          North Dakota                             Sr.                                                           OG                                              Sartell, Minn.

Cameron Young               Weber State                              Jr.                                                           OG                                                Cove, Texas

Colton Boas                       North Dakota                             Sr.                                                              C                                       Bloomfield, Iowa

R.J. Rickert                        Northern Arizona                      Sr.                                                            TE                                               Gilbert, Ariz.

Dakota Prukop                  Montana State                           Jr.                                                           QB                                             Austin, Texas

David Jones                      Portland State                            Sr.                                                           RB                                                Kent, Wash.

Xavier Finney                   Idaho State                                 Sr.                                                           RB                                       Oceanside, Calif.

Zach Adler                        North Dakota                             Sr.                                                            FB                                              Omaha, Neb.

Daniel Sullivan                  Montana                                     Sr.                                                            PK                                      Mill Creek, Wash.

Miles Killebrew                 Southern Utah                           Sr.                                                          STP                                         Las Vegas, Nev.

Eric Wilkes                         Weber State                              So.                                                           RS                                         Las Vegas, Nev.

Taylor Sheridan                Montana State                           Sr.                                                           DT                                           Littleton. Colo.

Sadat Sulleyman              Portland State                            Sr.                                                           DT                                      Spanaway, Wash.

Samson Ebukam               Eastern Washington                 Jr.                                                            DE                                             Portland, Ore.

Davond Dade                    Portland State                            So.                                                          DE                                    Los Angeles, Calif.

Brian Labat                        North Dakota                             Jr.                                                         OLB                                 Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Tre’von Johnson              Weber State                              Jr.                                                         OLB                                  Salt Lake City, Utah

Kendrick Van Ackeren    Montana                                     Sr.                                                           ILB                                        Bellevue, Wash.

Emmett Tela                      Weber State                              So.                                                          ILB                                                 Provo, Utah

Devonte Johnson            Weber State                              Sr.                                                           CB                                             Denver, Colo.

Xavier Coleman                Portland State                            Jr.                                                            CB                                             Portland, Ore.

Eddie Horn                        Northern Arizona                      Sr.                                                              S                                           Hayward, Calif.

Cole Reyes                        North Dakota                             So.                                                             S                                           Schaumber, Ill.

Mitch Meindel                   North Dakota                             RSo.                                                           P                                         Waukesha, Wis.

Third Team

Name                        School                             Year                                Position                                   Hometown

Ellis Henderson                 Montana                                     RJr.                                                        WR                                     Vancouver, Wash.

Mitch Herbert                    Montana State                           So.                                                         WR                                              Eugene, Ore.

Shane Harrison                 Sacramento State                     Sr.                                                          WR                                      Chatsworth, Calif.

Jacob Julian                      Northern Arizona                      Jr.                                                            OT                                            Prescott, Ariz.

Mike Davis                         Portland State                            Sr.                                                           OT                                                Chico, Calif.

JP Flynn                             Montana State                           Jr.                                                           OG                                       Bettendorf, Iowa

Cam Keizur                        Portland State                            Jr.                                                           OG                                         West Linn, Ore.

Stephen Sippel                 Cal Poly                                      Sr.                                                              C                                             Folsom, Calif.

Steven Wroblewski          Southern Utah                           Sr.                                                            TE                                          Brainerd, Minn.

Ammon Olsen                   Southern Utah                           Sr.                                                           QB                                               Draper, Utah

Chad Newell                     Montana State                           Jr.                                                            RB                                            Billings, Mont.

Kori Garcia                         Cal Poly                                      Jr.                                                            RB                                    Los Angeles, Calif.

Anthony Norris                 Southern Utah                           Sr.                                                            FB                                         Las Vegas, Nev.

Jonathan Gonzales          Portland State                            Jr.                                                              K                                   Apple Valley, Calif.

Connor Strahm                 Montana                                     RSo.                                                      STP                                              Eugene, Ore.

Ellis Henderson                 Montana                                     RJr.                                                         RS                                     Vancouver, Wash.

Matt Sommer                    Eastern Washington                 Jr.                                                            DT                                                 Salem, Ore.

Daniel Fusi                        Portland State                            Sr.                                                           DT                                        Santa Ana, Calif.

Mikhail Dubose                 Northern Colorado                   Jr.                                                            DE                                                 Chicago, Ill.

Brandon Dranka               North Dakota                             So.                                                          DE                                                 Huntley, Ill.

Taylor Nelson                   Southern Utah                           So.                                                        OLB                                     Vancouver, Wash.

Burton De Koning            Cal Poly                                      Sr.                                                         OLB                                             Folsom, Calif.

Matt Holley                        Southern Utah                           Gr.                                                          ILB                                         Las Vegas, Nev.

Jeremiah Kose                  Montana                                     RSr.                                                        ILB                                       Oceanside, Calif.

Nate Harris                         Montana                                     RSr.                                                         CB                                                Chino, Calif.

Aaron Sibley                     Portland State                            Sr.                                                           CB                                               Decatur, Ga.

Todd Raynes                     Eastern Washington                 Jr.                                                               S                                        Kenmore, Wash.

Taylor Risner                     Northern Colorado                   Jr.                                                               S                                           Wiggins, Colo.

Tate Lewis                         Southern Utah                           Jr.                                                               P                                          Plain City, Utah

                                                                                                 Honorable Mention                           

WR: KW Williams, Idaho State; Ben Roberts, Montana; Darnell Adams, Portland State; Dejzon Walker, Northern Arizona; Justin Brown, Southern Utah; and Chris Martin, UC Davis

OT: Calvin Steyn, Weber State; Andrew Eide, Southern Utah; Parker Smith, UC Davis; Lars Hanson, Sacramento State; and Weston Walker, Cal Poly

OG: Wesley Wingrove, Idaho State; Devon Dietrich, Montana; Randin Crecelius, Portland State; Thomas Gomez, Eastern Washington; Evan Ross, Southern Utah; Joey Kuperman, Cal Poly; and Eric Rodriguez, Northern Arizona

C: Keyan Norman, Southern Utah; Christian Diehm, Idaho State; Blake Porter, Northern Arizona; and Joel Horn, Montana State

TE: Tui Satuala, Weber State, and Michael McCauley, Northern Colorado

QB: Alex Kuresa, Portland State, and Chris Brown, Cal Poly

RB: Jordan Robinson, Sacramento State; Trae Riek, Northern Colorado; John Nguyen, Montana; Malik Brown, Southern Utah; and Eric Wilkes, Weber State

FB: Derek Baljeu, UC Davis, and Cory Thomson, Weber State

PK: Luke Daly, Montana State, and Brady Stuart, UC Davis

STP: Logan Jones, Montana State, and Chris Santini, Cal Poly

RS: Kahlil Dawson, Portland State, and Josh Kelley, UC Davis

DT: Shad Ennis, Southern Utah; Sefesi Va’aivaka, Southern Utah; Marcus Paige-Allen, Cal Poly; and Chuntony Johnson, Northern Colorado

DE: Noah Johnson, North Dakota; Michael Doman, Portland State; Zach McDonnell, Northern Arizona; and Chance Bearnson, Southern Utah

OLB: Kyle Newsom, Northern Colorado; Jake Gall, Eastern Washington; Delvin Batiste, Northern Arizona; and Mac Bignell, Montana State

ILB: Jeremy Lutali, Portland State, and Josh Bamrick, Northern Arizona

CB: Taron Johnson, Weber State; JR Nelson, Montana; and Karlton Dennis, Cal Poly

S: Yamen Sanders, Montana; Walter Santiago, Portland State; and B.J. Nard, Cal Poly

P: Chris Lider, Montana, and Smith Heath, Sacramento State

Offensive Player of the Year: Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington

Defensive Player of the Year: James Cowser, Southern Utah

Freshmen of the Year: Case Cookus, Northern Arizona; John Santiago, North Dakota

Newcomer of the Year: Alex Kuresa, Portland StatE


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