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19 Broncos earn All-Mountain West honors

NCAA Football: Boise State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

As we twiddle our thumbs waiting for the Mountain West Conference football championship game this Saturday, we can at least feast our eyes on post regular-season awards.

And feast we shall.

The Broncos made out like bandits with 19 footballers getting recognized for playing this game very well. Or, at least, well enough to be singled out in some capacity.

In the lead-off spot with a Defensive Player of the Year Award, the conference’s head coaches and select media chose Boise State’s own Idaho native: Mr. Leighton Vander Esch. I cannot do his season justice with my own words, so I am going to let the Bronco’s press release do it for me:

Vander Esch's selection marks the first time that a Bronco has taken home the Mountain West's top defensive award, and he becomes Boise State's first conference defensive player of the year since Korey Hall earned the WAC's top honor in 2006.

The Riggins, Idaho, native has put together one of the top all-around defensive campaigns in recent Bronco history in 2017. Heading into this Saturday's Mountain West Championship Game, Vander Esch leads the team in tackles (113), has intercepted two passes, forced three fumbles, recorded 3.0 sacks and 5.5 tackles-for-loss. He leads a defense that ranks 25th in the country with 339.0 yards allowed per game, and 19th against the run, allowing just 124.9 rushing yards per game. Individually, Vander Esch ranks 24th in the FBS, and third in the Mountain West, with 9.4 tackles per game, as well as ninth in the country (and second in the conference) with 5.9 solo tackles per game.

At the heart of what makes Boise State so great is the ability to find the “diamond in the rough” and unleash said diamond unsuspecting opponents. This recognition is a great one for Mr. Vander Esch and a testament to what one can achieve if given an opportunity and having the sheer will to be great.

But Vander Esch is not alone in his accolades. Heck, he might not even be in this position without some of the other guys around him. And the some of those “other guys” were also recognized by the conference.

MWC honors

1st Team 2nd Team Honorable Mention
1st Team 2nd Team Honorable Mention
Cedrick Wilson, WR, Sr Brett Rypien, QB, Jr Ezra Cleveland, OL, Fr
Jake Roh, TE, Sr Archie Lewis, OL, Sr Haden Hoggarth, PK, Jr
Mason Hampton, OL, Sr Avery Williams, PR/KR, Fr Alexander Mattison, RB, So
Curtis Weaver, DL, Fr Jabril Frazier, DL, Jr Tyson Maeva, LB, So
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Jr David Moa, DL, Jr Durrant Miles, DL, Jr
Tyler Horton, CB, Jr Kekoa Nawahine, DB, So John Molchon, OL, So
DeAndre Pierce, DB, So

That is a lot of Broncos that “did a good” while on the football field.

There are always debates about the landing spots of some of these guys. One interesting selection (though I am not arguing it) is Mr. Brett Rypien’s selection to the second-team. While Nick Stevens’ spot on the first-team seems about right, I am curious how well the other MWC QBs did that Rypien could have his struggles early and still make such an impact to get second-team. Though, being fair, his latter part of the season did hit his stride.

At any rate, congratulations to all the Broncos that made this list. Well-deserved!

Your Turn

Who is missing? Who should be on the first-team? Second-team? Perhaps any others on the Honorable Mention?