LOGAN, Utah – Utah State had six football players earn various all-Mountain West accolades, including nose guard Travis Seefeldt, who garnered second-team honors, as the league office announced its postseason football awards Tuesday.
In all, Utah State had four offensive players and two defensive players recognized for a total of six all-conference awards. Boise State led the Mountain West with 15 all-conference honorees, followed by San Diego State (12), Air Force (9), Colorado State (8), Hawai’i (8), New Mexico (8), Wyoming (8), Utah State (6), San José State (6), UNLV (6), Nevada (5) and Fresno State (4).
Along with Seefeldt’s second-team honor, Utah State also had four players earn honorable mention all-Mountain West accolades in offensive lineman Austin Albrecht, defensive end Ricky Ali’ifua, tight end Wyatt Houston, offensive lineman Jake Simonich and offensive center Austin Stephens.
San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, while SDSU’s Demontae Kazee was named the MW Defensive Player of the Year and SDSU’s Rashaad Penny was named MW Special Teams Player of the Year, as each player is earning their respective honor for the second-straight season. Wyoming’s Logan Wilson earned Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors and Wyoming’s Craig Bohl was named the Mountain West Coach of the Year.
For Simonich and Stephens, it marks the third time in their careers that they have earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors, while Albrecht is earning honorable mention all-conference accolades for the second-straight season.
Aggies who earned all-Mountain West honors for the first time in their careers this season include Ali’ifua, Houston and Seefeldt.
<strong>Seefeldt</strong>, a 6-1, 305-pound graduate nose guard from Peoria, Ariz. (Liberty HS), finished the season ranking ninth on the team, and first among defensive linemen, with 41 tackles. He also ranked tied for third on the team with 6.0 tackles for loss and was tied for seventh with his 1.5 sacks. Seefeldt also tied for the team lead with one forced fumble and ranked tied for second with three quarterback hurries, while adding one pass breakup. In all, Seefeldt recorded at least two tackles in all 12 games he started, including posting a career-high nine stops against Colorado State, which included a career-best 2.0 tackles for loss.
<strong>Albrecht</strong>, a 6-5, 300-pound senior offensive lineman from Sandy, Utah (Alta HS), had an overall performance grade of 87 percent for the season. During the year, he graded out at 90 percent in effort, including eight games over 90 percent, 87 percent in assignment, including five games over 90 percent, and 78 percent in technique, including five games over 80 percent. He also recorded a team-best 90 knockdowns during the year, including a season-high 12 against San Diego State.
<strong>Ali’ifua</strong>, a 6-2, 280-pound senior defensive end from San Leandro, Calif. (San Leandro HS), finished the season ranking first on the team with both 3.5 sacks and 8.0 tackles for loss, as part of his 29 total tackles. He also had a team-high four quarterback hurries and tied for the team lead with one forced fumble, while ranking tied for fourth on the team with three pass breakups. During the season, he recorded at least two tackles in 10 of the 12 games he started, and posted a tackle for loss in eight games, including each of his last five to end the season.
<strong>Houston</strong>, a 6-4, 255-pound senior tight end from Tualatin, Ore. (Horizon Christian HS), finished the season leading all Mountain West tight ends with 35 receptions, while ranking second among all tight ends in the conference with 330 receiving yards. Overall, Houston ranked third on the team in both receptions and receiving yards, and ranked tied for second with his two receiving touchdowns. Of his 35 receptions, 17 resulted in a first down, with 10 of those happening on third down. Houston finished the season catching at least one pass in all 12 games, including multiple receptions in 10 contests, as he led the Aggies in receptions five times during the year, including against both Fresno State and Wyoming as he caught a career-high five passes.
<strong>Simonich</strong>, a 6-5, 305-pound senior offensive lineman from Danville, Calif. (San Ramon Valley HS), had an overall performance grade of 87 percent for the season. During the year, he graded out at 91 percent in effort, including nine games over 90 percent, 87 percent in assignment, including five games over 90 percent, and 79 percent in technique, including nine games over 80 percent. He also recorded 49 knockdowns during the year, including a season-high eight against both Arkansas State and Weber State.
<strong>Stephens</strong>, a 6-3, 315-pound senior offensive center from West Des Moines, Iowa (Valley HS/Iowa Western CC), had an overall performance grade of 89 percent for the season. During the year, he graded out at 93 percent in effort, including 10 games over 90 percent, 89 percent in assignment, including six games over 90 percent, and 85 percent in technique, including 10 games over 80 percent. He also recorded 30 knockdowns during the year, including a season-high five against both San Diego State and Weber State.
Utah State concluded its 2016 season with a 3-9 record and finished in sixth place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 1-7 league ledger.
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