How the MWC was won in 2021 was nothing short of brilliant. The Utah State Aggies took over with new head coach Blake Anderson and QB Logan Bonner. One of the best turnaround stories of college football in recent memory, the Aggies dominate our All-Mountain West Team of the Year for 2021.
All-Mountain West Football Team Honors for 2021
The Mountain West was a tremendous conference in 2021. They had terrific defensive performances and amazing offensive outputs. It also stands to be perhaps the most top-loaded conference in terms of top quarterback play during the 2021 season. While the majority of their quarterbacks are moving on, we take one look back at the best individual performances.
It’s important to note that these are awards and honors from Pro Football Network for each individual’s prowess on the field this season. This is in no way a projection of their NFL Draft status nor a report on actual conference awards that were already handed out. These honors are from Pro Football Network, as judged upon by our team of college football analysts.
Let’s get to the overall awards.
- Mountain West Coach of the Year: Blake Anderson, Utah State
- Mountain West Player of the Year: Carson Strong, Nevada
- Mountain West Newcomer of the Year: Logan Bonner, Utah State
- Mountain West Game of the Year: Air Force vs. Nevada, Week 12
The MWC was led by those aforementioned quarterbacks. Routinely making trips to the upper echelon of our FBS QB Rankings, the Mountain West saw brilliant quarterback play. From Carson Strong to Jake Haener, from Logan Bonner to Hank Bachmeier — even Haaziq Daniels ran the option with brilliant precision for Air Force in the conference. Picking players for our individual awards was a fun but arduous task.
- MWC Offensive Player of the Year: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
- MWC Quarterback of the Year: Carson Strong, Nevada
- MWC Running Back of the Year: Charles Williams, UNLV
- MWC Wide Receiver of the Year: Deven Thompkins, Utah State
- MWC Offensive Lineman of the Year: William Dunkle, San Diego State
- MWC Offensive Line of the Year: San Diego State Aztecs
- MWC Offensive Rookie of the Year: Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson, San Diego State
The votes for the top player in the conference were resoundingly for Carson Strong. However, no one was knocking the ability Trey McBride continued to showcase in 2021. He added more highlights to his already full highlight reel and added more elements to his game that he’ll take with him on Sundays. McBride was the reason for success at Colorado State more often than not this year.
Strong was the top passer in the conference full of incredible quarterbacks. He led the MWC with 4,186 yards and 36 touchdowns. Even more impressive, despite a conference-leading 524 pass attempts, he still led the Mountain West with his 70% completion rate.
Charles Williams was incredibly effective for the Rebels in 2021. UNLV got the short end of the stick in some of their games until breaking through late in the year, but Williams did all he could. He finished with 1,261 rushing yards on 254 carries and a conference-best 15 rushing touchdowns.
San Diego State bowls over the competition
Leading their way to the Mountain West Championship Game, the SDSU offensive line was dominant in both facets in nearly every game. From left to right, LT Zachary Thomas, LG Chris Martinez, C, Alama Uluave, RG William Dunkle, and RT Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson were easily the conference’s best unit. They paved the way for a potent rushing attack and kept whoever was under center clean from pressure.
Dunkle was the best of the bunch as he routinely found second-level defenders. His efforts in the run game were nothing short of dominant, and he was just as solid in pass protection. Crenshaw-Dickson earns Rookie of the Year after playing fewer than 10 snaps a year prior. This unit was among the best not only in the MWC but in the country.
First-Team All-MWC Offense
QB: Carson Strong, Nevada
RB: Brad Roberts, Air Force
RB: Charles Williams, UNLV
WR: Deven Thompkins, Utah State
WR: Romeo Doubs, Nevada
WR: Khalil Shakir, Boise State
TE: Trey McBride, Colorado State
FLEX: Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State
LT: Dontae Bull, Frenso State
LG: Julio Garcia, UNLV
C: Alama Uluave, San Diego State
RG: William Dunkle, San Diego State
RT: Aaron Frost, Nevada
Second-Team All-MWC Offense
QB: Logan Bonner, Utah State
RB: Greg Bell, San Diego State
RB: Xazavian Valladay, Wyoming
WR: Jalen Cropper, Fresno State
WR: Nick Mardner, Hawai’i
WR: Isaiah Neyor, Wyoming
TE: Cole Turner, Nevada
FLEX: Calvin Turner Jr., Hawai’i
LT: Zachary Thomas, San Diego State
LG: Jermaine Ledbetter, Nevada
C: Leif Fautanu, UNLV
RG: Hawk Wimmer, Air Force
RT: Gene Pryor, Hawai’i
Honorable Mention All-MWC Offense
QB: Jake Haener, Fresno State
RB: Toa Taua, Nevada
RB: David Bailey, Colorado State
WR: Derek Wright, Utah State
WR: Brandon Bowling, Utah State
WR: Josh Kelly, Fresno State
TE: Derrick Deese Jr., San Jose State
FLEX: Dante Wright, Colorado State
LT: Jack Snyder, San Jose State
LG: Chris Martinez, San Diego State
C: Bula Schmidt, Fresno State
RG: Amani Trigg-Wright, UNLV
RT: Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson, San Diego State
Led by some incredibly-talented pass rushers, the All-MWC Defensive Team from the 2021 college football season is one to behold.
- MWC Defensive Player of the Year: Cameron Thomas, San Diego State
- MWC Defensive Lineman of the Year: Dom Peterson, Nevada
- MWC Linebacker of the Year: Chad Muma, Wyoming
- MWC Defensive Back of the Year: Cortez Davis, Hawai’i
- MWC Defensive Rookie of the Year: Kaonohi Kaniho, Boise State
- MWC Defensive Line of the Year: Fresno State Bulldogs
- MWC Secondary of the Year: San Diego State Aztecs
Cameron Thomas was a one-man wrecking crew for SDSU this season. He finished tied for the conference lead with 10.5 sacks while accumulating the pass-rush triple-double with double-digit QB hits, hurries, and sacks. Thomas was remarkable and paved the way for Jonah Tavai and the rest of the SDSU line to have favorable matchups.
On the interior, Dom Peterson had a bigger impact on his defensive line than any other player in the conference. Peterson rarely was gassed, and the big man constantly found the quarterback in the pass-rushing game. What separates him from the rest of the conference, however, was his ability to find the running back in the run game while also possessing an innate ability to navigate towards the passing lanes and get his hands up.
Then there’s Chad Muma, who put his name on the map. Coming into the year, few outside the MWC knew Muma would turn out as he has in 2021. And yet, few now know him as nothing short of an amazing athlete.
Fresno State’s defensive line, SDSU’s secondary earn honors
Earning our award for the top unit, the Bulldogs’ defensive line was as formidable as they come. Fresno State had three players rank in the top 20 in total sacks. From Kevin Atkins and David Perales’ 7 sacks apiece to Arron Mosby’s 5, it didn’t matter where they rushed from — the Bulldogs got pressure more than they didn’t.
The Aztecs got it done another way as well. While Cameron Thomas was wreaking havoc with his pass rushing, the secondary was as strong as ever. Patrick McMorris, Trenton Thompson, Tayler Hawkins, Dallas Branch, and Andrew Aleki each pulled down multiple interceptions. McMorris was second in the conference with 4 picks, while Thompson finished second with 13 pass breakups.
First-Team All-MWC Defense
EDGE: Cameron Thomas, San Diego State
EDGE: Arron Mosby, Fresno State
DI: Dom Peterson, Nevada
DI: Jonah Tavai, San Diego State
LB: Chad Muma, Wyoming
LB: Kyle Harmon, San Jose State
LB: Daiyan Henley, Nevada
CB: Kaonohi Kaniho, Boise State
CB: Berdale Robins, Nevada
CB: Nehemiah Shelton, San Jose State
S: Trenton Thompson, San Diego State
S: Khoury Bethley, Hawai’i
FLEX: Cortez Davis, Hawai’i
Second-Team All-MWC Defense
EDGE: Scott Patchan, Colorado State
EDGE: Tristan Nichols, Nevada
DI: Kevin Atkins, Fresno State
DI: Jordan Jackson, Air Force
LB: Jacoby Windmon, UNLV
LB: Cam’ron Carter, Colorado State
LB: Riley Whimpey, Boise State
CB: Ricky Johnson, UNLV
CB: Tyric LeBeauf, Boise State
CB: Robert Floyd, Colorado State
S: Patrick McMorris, San Diego State
S: Shaq Bond, Utah State
FLEX: Darius Muasau, Hawai’i
Honorable Mention All-MWC Defense
EDGE: David Perales, Fresno State
EDGE: Viliami Fehoko, San Jose State
DI: Cole Godbout, Wyoming
DI: Scott Matlock, Boise State
LB: Levelle Bailey, Fresno State
LB: Ezekiel Noa, Boise State
LB: Easton Gibbs, Wyoming
CB: Cameron Oliver, UNLV
CB: Cameron Lockridge, Hawai’i
CB: Donte Martin, New Mexico
S: JL Skinner, Boise State
S: Jordan Lee, Nevada
FLEX: Cash Gilliam, Utah State
Mountain West Special Teams
There was something truly special about the special teams in the Mountain West this season. Matt Araiza transcended the position and became a household name with his ridiculous efforts in 2021.
- MWC Kicker of the Year: Jonah Dalmas, Boise State
- MWC Punter of the Year: Matt Araiza, San Diego State
- MWC Specialist of the Year: Matt Araiza, San Diego State
Araiza was downright awesome in 2021. He booted punt after punt with great gusto while also handling placekicking and kickoff duties. Truly putting the special in special teams, Araiza finished the year with a conference-best 43.9 net punt average and 40 punts knocked back inside the 20.
First-Team All-MWC Specialists
Kicker: Jonah Dalmas, Boise State
Kickoff Specialist: Matt Araiza, San Diego Stae
Punter: Matt Araiza, San Diego State
Kick Returner: Savon Scarver, Utah State
Punt Returner: Thomas Pannunzio, Colorado State
Special Teamer: Deonte Perry, Fresno State
Second-Team All-MWC Specialists
Kicker: Matt Araiza, San Diego State
Kickoff Specialist: Julian Diaz, Nevada
Punter: Ryan Stonehouse, Colorado State
Kick Returner: Jordan Byrd, San Diego State
Punt Returner: Romeo Doubs, Nevada
Special Teamer: Dondi Fuller, UNLV
Honorable All-MWC Specialists
Kicker: Brandon Talton, Nevada
Kickoff Specialist: Kyler Halvorsen, Hawai’i
Punter: Will Hart, San Jose State
Kick Returner: Jamaal Bell, Nevada
Punt Returner: Jordan Byrd, San Diego State
Special Teamer: Rahyme Johnson, San Jose State
Congratulations to all those players selected. For any questions regarding these selections or the process behind them, please ask on Twitter (@CamMellor).