The Mountain West’s media doesn’t have much confidence in the Nevada Wolf Pack football team this season.
The media, gathering for the annual Mountain West Football Media Days pre-season press conferences in Las Vegas, has picked the Pack to finish third in the West Division behind San Diego State and Fresno State and ahead of San Jose State, Hawaii and UNLV. Boise State was picked to win the Mountain Division ahead of Utah State, Colorado State, Air Force, Wyoming and New Mexico.
The media also picked a pre-season All-Mountain West team. Nevada defensive end Ian Seau and punter Alex Boy were named to the team.
The Wolf Pack, which opens the 2015 season on Sept. 3 against UC Davis at Mackay Stadium, finished 7-6 last season.
Seau, who has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists, was a second team All-Mountain West selection after the 2014 season. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman had 10.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks last season. He also had 31 tackles, five passes defended, two forced fumbles and one interception. Boy was also second team All-MW last season. He averaged 44.3 yards per punt last year, ranking first in the conference and 11th in the nations in yards per punt.
Colorado State junior wide receiver Rashard Higgins was named Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while Utah State senior linebacker Kyler Fackrell was selected Defensive Player of the Year. San Diego State senior placekicker Donny Hageman was named Special Teams Player of the Year.
Higgins, a junior, was a 2014 consensus first-team All-American after leading the country with 1,750 receiving yards and 17 touchdown receptions. The native of Dallas, Texas, is one of three players nationally to be named to the 2015 Maxwell Award Watch List, Biletnikoff Award Pre-Season Watch List and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List. He was one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award in 2014. Fackrell is returning to the Aggies’ starting lineup after missing all but one quarter of the 2014 season following a knee injury suffered in Utah State’s season-opening game at Tennessee. In 2013, Fackrell was a 2013 All-MW second-team honoree. He was third on Utah State in tackles with 82, while his 13 tackles for loss (minus-43 yards) led the team. Fackrell recorded five sacks, forced two fumbles and came away with one interception in 2013.
In his lone season at San Diego State, Hageman converted 20-of-25 field goal attempts and was a perfect 37-for-37 on PATs in 2014. Hageman’s 80 percent accuracy on field goal kicks ranked second in the MW and tied for 30th in the FBS. He also averaged 62.7 yards per kickoff on 19 attempts (1,192 yards) with five touchbacks. From Sept. 6-Oct. 18, made eight straight field goals. His 97 points in 2014 ranked second on the team.
Preseason All-Conference Team
QB – Chuckie Keaton, Sr., Utah State
WR – Rashad Higgins, Jr., Colorado State
WR – Devote Boyd, So., UNLV
RB – Donnel Pumphrey, Jr., SDSU
RB – Marteze Waller, Sr., Fresno State
OL – Marcus Henry, Sr., Boise State
OL – Rees Odhiambo, Sr., Boise State
OL – Alex Fifita, Sr., Fresno State
OL – Ben Clarke, Sr., Hawai’i
OL – Pearce Slater, Sr., SDSU
TE – Steven Walker, Sr., Colorado State
DL – Alex Hansen, Sr., Air Force
DL – Kamalei Correa, Jr., Boise State
DL – Ian Seau, Sr., Nevada
DL – Eddie Yarbrough, Sr., Wyoming
LB – Tanner Vallejo, Jr., Boise State
LB – Kyler Fackrell, Sr., Utah State
LB – Nick Vigil, Jr., Utah State
DB – Weston Steelehammer, Jr., Air Force
DB – Donte Deayon, Sr., Boise State
DB – Darian Thompson, Sr., Boise State
DB – Damontae Kazee, Jr., SDSU
P – Alex Boy, Jr., Nevada
PK – Donny Hageman, Sr., SDSU
Ret. – Carlos Wiggins, Sr., New Mexico
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year – Rashard Higgins, Jr., WR, Colorado State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year – Kyler Fackrell, Sr., LB, Utah State
Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year – Donny Hageman, Sr., PK, SDSU