July 25, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - College Sports Madness has announced its preseason all-Mountain West Teams, highlighted by Utah State senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton being named Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and head coach Matt Wells as Preseason Coach of the Year.
In addition to being named Offensive Player of the Year, Keeton joins junior linebacker Kyler Fackrell, senior linebacker Zach Vigil and senior offensive lineman Kevin Whimpey on the all-conference first-team. Senior defensive lineman B.J. Larsen, senior safety Brian Suite and junior punt returner JoJo Natson were named to the second-team.
Entering his senior season, Keeton, a 6-2, 200-pound quarterback from Houston, Texas (Cypress Creek HS), is also the Mountain West Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, one of 25 college football players named to the first edition of the 2014 Heismanpundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Trophy Watch List, one of 17 players named to the 2014 Bleacher Report's Initial Heisman Trophy Watch List, one of 39 players named to the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List, one of 77 players named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, one of 40 players named to the College Football Performance Awards Quarterback of the Year Watch List, and a first-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.
Keeton was one of 30 players named to the first edition of the 2013 Heismanpundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Trophy Watch List as a junior a year ago, but played in just six games before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter against BYU on Oct. 4. Prior to his injury, Keeton had completed 136-of-196 passes for 1,388 yards (231.3 ypg) with 18 touchdowns and just two interceptions, while rushing for another 241 yards on 55 carries (402. ypg/4.4 ypc) with two more scores. Overall, that completion percentage of 69.4 percent broke his own single-season school record set in 2012, while his 18 touchdown passes rank tied for ninth all-time in school history.
Through his first five games of the 2013 season, Keeton ranked second in the nation with 17 touchdown passes, while also ranking first in the Mountain West (MW) and second in the nation in points responsible for (22.8 pg), second in the MW and 22nd in the nation in passing efficiency (161.6), third in the MW and eighth in the nation in completions (26.4), third in the MW and 11th in the nation in completion percentage (.710), third in the MW and 18th in the nation in total offense (317.2 ypg), and fourth in the MW and 25th in the nation in passing (272.4 ypg). Keeton also tied the school record with five touchdown passes in a game twice during his junior year, doing so in a 52-20 win at Air Force and again in a 70-6 home win against Weber State.
As a sophomore in 2012, Keeton earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors after ranking 17th nationally in total offense (307.1 ypg), 18th in passing efficiency (154.7) and 29th in passing (259.5 ypg). During the 2012 season, Keeton set single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), completions (275), completion percentage (.676) and total offense (3,992 yards), while tying the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 121 yards at Louisiana Tech.
Fackrell, a 6-5, 245-pound junior from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS) was named an honorable mention Sophomore All-American by College Football News and earned second-team all-Mountain West honors a year ago as he finished the season ranking first on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss, tied for first with two forced fumbles and second with his 5.0 sacks, while ranking fourth on the team with 82 total tackles (37-solo, 45-assist). Overall, he averaged 5.9 tackles per game to rank 35th in the Mountain West. During the season, he recorded three quarterback hurries, recovered one fumble, intercepted one pass and registered one pass breakup. He was also named the Mountain West's Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week following USU's 47-10 home win against Hawai'i as he recorded nine tackles, including 0.5 for loss, to go along with an interception return of 99 yards for his first career defensive touchdown, which ranks as the third-longest interception return in Utah State and Mountain West history.
As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Fackrell earned first-team all-WAC honors and was named Utah State's first-ever Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-American as he finished the year ranking second on the team and eighth in the WAC with three interceptions (0.23 pg), third on the team and 13th in the WAC with 8.0 tackles for loss (0.62 pg), and fourth on the team and 13th in the WAC with 87 tackles (6.7 pg), which ranks third all-time at in school history among freshmen.
Entering his junior season, Fackrell is also on the preseason all-Mountain West first-team, one of 40 college football players named to the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker of the Year Trophy Watch List, one of 76 players named to the Bednarik Award Watch List, one of 81 players named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, one of 51 players named to the Butkus Award Watch List, one of 123 players named to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, and a first-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.
Vigil, a 6-2, 232-pound senior from Clearfield, Utah (Clearfield HS) earned second-team all-Mountain West honors a year ago as he ranked second on the team, seventh in the conference and 42nd in the nation with 8.9 tackles per game. Overall, he finished the year with 124 total tackles (47-solo, 77-assist), which was tied for the 17th-most in the nation at the FBS level. In all, his 47 solo tackles led the team, while he was also tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also ranked second on the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and was tied for fifth overall with 2.0 sacks, while adding one interception, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.
As a sophomore in 2012, Vigil earned second-team all-WAC honors as he ranked second on the team, fifth in the conference and 84th in the nation with 105 tackles (8.1 pg). He also led the team and ranked tied for sixth in the WAC with 9.5 tackles for loss (0.73 pg) and second on the team and tied for seventh in the WAC with 5.5 sacks (0.42 pg).
Vigil is also on the preseason all-Mountain West first-team, one of 40 college football players named to the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker of the Year Trophy Watch List, one of 123 players named to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, and a preseason first-team all-Mountain West selection by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports heading into the 2014 season.
Whimpey, a 6-5, 295-pounder from Highland, Utah is the most experienced returning member of the Utah State offensive line. As a junior, Whimpey started all 14 games at left tackle. He had an overall performance grade of 83 percent for the season, grading out at 88 percent in effort, including seven games over 90 percent. He finished the season with 35.0 knockdowns, including a season-high eight against BYU.
Larsen, a 6-5, 275-pounder from Logan, Utah (Logan HS) earned second-team all-Mountain West honors as a junior as he finished the season ranking second on the team with 4.0 sacks and three quarterback hurries, to go along with 8.0 tackles for loss and 31 total tackles (14-solo, 17-assist). He was also named a College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Defensive Lineman of the Week following his performance against No. 24 Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game as he had a career-high 2.0 tackles for loss, to go along with 1.0 sack, as part of his five total tackles.
Larsen is also on the preseason all-Mountain West first-team, while being named a preseason second-team all-Mountain West selection by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele heading into the 2014 season.
Suite, a 6-3, 205-pounder from Honolulu, Hawaii (Punahou HS) earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors as a junior as he ranked fourth on the team with 77 total tackles (37-solo, 40-assist) and had six or more tackles in eight games. He finished the season ranking first on the team, fifth in the Mountain West and 41st in the nation with five total interceptions (0.36 ipg), tied for first on the team in fumbles recovered with two and tied for fourth on the team with six pass breakups.
Suite was also named to both the SI.com and CBSSports.com all-Bowl Team following Utah State's 21-14 win against No. 24 Northern Illinois in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl as he tied his season-high with 11 tackles, to go along with a fumble recovery and interception.
Entering his senior season, Suite is also one of 34 players named to the inaugural Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award Watch List, one of 39 players named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, a first-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by Phil Steele and a second-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by Athlon Sports.
Natson, a 5-7, 151-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Boyd Anderson HS) earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors as a punt returner as a sophomore as he ranked fourth in the conference and 22nd in the nation with his punt return average of 11.3 yards as he returned 31 punts for 351 yards during the season. He also ranked first in the Mountain West and second in the nation with two punt returns for touchdown, and was the only player in the country with multiple touchdowns rushing (3), receiving (2) and returning (2) in 2013. He was also named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week and the College Football Performance Awards National Punt Returner of the Week following USU's 45-10 win at New Mexico as he returned a career-high five punts for a career-best 102 yards, including his first career punt return for touchdown of 65 yards.
Natson is also one of 40 players named to the College Football Performance Awards Punt Returner Trophy Watch List, and a preseason second-team all-Mountain West selection by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele heading into the 2014 season.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program on Twitter, @USUFootball, on Facebook at facebook.com/USUFootball or on Instagram, @usufootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter, @USUAthletics, Facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics and on Instagram @USUAthletics.
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