Fresno State linebacker Jeff Allison is the Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year, one of four Bulldogs to make first team all-conference with six on the second team and four gaining honorable mention.
“That’s great news for Jeff,” coach Jeff Tedford said, after the Bulldogs practiced through the rain on Wednesday for a matchup against Boise State in Saturday’s conference championship game. “He’s deserving of it. He has had a great season and it’s nice that he has been recognized as the player that he is.”
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Senior left tackle Christian Cronk, senior cornerback Tank Kelly and junior defensive end Mykal Walker also are on the first-team..
Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien is the offensive player of the year in the conference, Wyoming kicker Cooper Rothe is the special teams player of the year, Nevada running back Toa Taua is the freshman of the year and Utah State coach Matt Wells is the coach of the year.
Boise State cornerback Tyler Horton, an Edison High grad, also is a first-team selection.
Fresno State wideout KeeSean Johnson, junior tight end Jared Rice, senior right guard Micah St. Andrew, junior safeties Juju Hughes and Mike Bell and junior punter Blake Cusick were second-team selections and senior quarterback Marcus McMaryion, senior linebacker George Helmuth, junior cornerback Jaron Bryant and junior defensive tackle Jasad Haynes were honorable mention.
Fresno State had only one first-team selection last season when it became only the second team in FBS history to go from double-digit losses to double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons – Allison, one of three repeat first-team selections. It also had four second team selections – Johnson and seniors center Aaron Mitchell, kicker Jimmy Camacho and defensive end Tobenna Okeke.
“I think it’s good to have the kids recognized for their hard work and their dedication, the success they’ve had on the field, that the people around are noticing that,” Tedford said.
Allison is the second Fresno State player to be the defensive player of the year in the Mountain West, following safety Phillip Thomas in 2012.
The 235-pound junior is leading a defense that is ranked first in the conference in points allowed, total defense and red zone defense, is second against the pass and third against the run.
Allison is the Bulldogs leader and tied for fourth in the conference with 109 total tackles, 9.1 per game. He had 10 or more tackles in five games including a career-high 17 in a victory over Nevada in the conference opener, plus 5.0 tackles for loss and two interceptions.
“Jeff plays really hard,” Tedford said. “He has great football instincts and can really run. He plays very physical ... but also runs sideline to sideline and makes plays.”
All-Mountain West Conference
Offense, first team
QB – Brett Rypien, Sr., Boise State
WR – John Ursua, Jr., Hawai‘i
WR – Preston Williams, Jr., Colorado State
RB – Nico Evans, Sr., Wyoming
RB – Alexander Mattison, Jr., Boise State
TE – Josh Oliver, Sr., San José State
OL – Ezra Cleveland, So., Boise State
OL – Keith Ismael, So., San Diego State
OL – Quin Ficklin, Sr., Utah State
OL – Christian Cronk, Sr., Fresno State
OL – John Molchon, Jr., Boise State
PK – Cooper Rothe, Jr., Wyoming
PR/KR – Savon Scarver, So., Utah State
Defense, first team
DL – Curtis Weaver, So., Boise State
DL – Mykal Walker, Jr., Fresno State
DL – Jabril Frazier, Sr., Boise State
DL – Korey Rush, Sr., Nevada
LB – Kyahva Tezino, Jr., San Diego State
LB – Jeff Allison, Jr., Fresno State
LB – Malik Reed, Sr., Nevada
DB – Tyler Horton, Sr., Boise State
DB – Tank Kelly, Sr., Fresno State
DB – Dakari Monroe, Sr., San José State
DB – Andrew Wingard, Sr., Wyoming
P – Ryan Stonehouse, So., Colorado State
Offense, second team