LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football had seven players named to Athlon Sports 2013 Preseason all-Mountain West teams that were announced Wednesday as four offensive players and three defensive players were recognized for the Aggies.
Fresno State had the most preseason selections with 11, while San Jose State had nine. Boise State and Colorado State both had eight preseason selections, followed by Utah State (7), San Diego State (7), Nevada (6), Hawai’i (5), New Mexico (5), Wyoming (5), UNLV (4) and Air Force (3).
Senior center Tyler Larsen and sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell were both named to the preseason all-MW first-team, while senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz was named to the second-team. Aggies selected to Athlon Sports preseason all-MW third-team include senior linebacker Jake Doughty, senior cornerback Nevin Lawson, junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton and senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian.
Larsen, a 6-4, 312-pounder from Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS) enters his senior season having started 38 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak on the team. Overall, Larsen is a two-time first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honoree and the first USU offensive lineman to accomplish that feat since 1997.
During the 2012 season, Larsen tied for the team lead along with Schultz with an 86 percent overall performance grade, including 78 percent in technique and 83 percent in effort. He carried out the right assignment 97 percent of the time, including four games where he graded out at a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 90 percent two times in total performance, and above 80 percent 12 times in effort and seven times in technique. Overall, he posted 65.5 knockdowns on the season. Fackrell, a 6-5, 245-pounder from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS) earned first-team all-WAC honors and was the first Aggie in school history named a Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-American a year ago as he finished the season 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). Those 87 stops rank tied for third all-time at Utah State among freshmen. He also finished second on the team with seven quarterback hurries, to go along with 3.0 sacks and three pass breakups.
Schultz, a 6-4, 308-pounder from Connell, Wash. (Connell HS) earned first-team all-WAC honors a year ago as he tied for the team lead along Larsen with an 86 percent overall performance grade, including 77 percent in technique and 82 percent in effort. He carried out the right assignment 98 percent of the time, including three games where he graded out at a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 85 percent 10 times in total performance, and above 80 percent 10 times in effort and six times in technique. He finished the year with 44.0 knockdowns and only allowed 1.5 sacks during the season.
Doughty, a 6-0, 230-pounder from Draper, Utah (Juan Diego HS) earned first-team all-WAC honors in 2012 after leading the team, ranking second in the conference and tied for 71st in the nation with 109 tackles (8.4 pg). He also recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack during the season, to go along with four pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.
Lawson, a 5-10, 186-pounder from Lauderhill, Fla. (Piper HS) earned second-team all-WAC honors a year ago as he ranked eighth on the team and 36th in the conference with 63 tackles (4.8 pg). He also ranked second on the team and ninth in the WAC with 10 passes defended (0.77 pg).
Keeton, a 6-2, 200-pounder from Houston, Texas (Cypress Creek HS) earned first-team all-WAC honors in 2012 as he ranked third in the conference and 17th nationally in total offense (307.1 ypg), second in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (154.7), third in the WAC and 29th nationally in passing (259.5 ypg, and eighth in the conference in rushing (47.6 ypg). He finished the year completing 275-of-407 passes for 3,373 yards with 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions and rushed for 619 yards on 129 carries (4.8 ypc) with eight touchdowns. He finished his sophomore season by setting single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,992), completions (275) and completion percentage (.676), while his 407 pass attempts rank seventh all-time at USU for a single-season. H was also named the WAC’s Offensive Player of the Week four times during the season, becoming the first player in school history to accomplish that feat and the first WAC player to do so since 2010.
Markosian, a 6-2, 302-pounder from Salt Lake City, Utah (Juan Diego HS) earned second-team all-WAC honors a year ago as he graded out at 84 percent for overall performance. In all, he carried out the right assignment 98 percent of the time, including four games where he graded out at a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 80 percent 12 times in total performance and seven times in effort, while posting 67.0 knockdowns on the season and allowed only two sacks.
Utah State returns 49 lettermen (offense-23, defense-22, specialists-4) and 18 starters (offense-8, defense-7, specialists-3) from its most successful team in school history as USU ended the 2012 season with a school-best 11-2 record as it set school records for wins (11) and home wins (6), while recording just its second bowl win in school history with a 41-15 victory against Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. USU also won its first outright conference championship since 1936, as it went 6-0 in the Western Athletic Conference, and just its third in school history joining the 1921 and 1936 teams that both won Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles.
Utah State ended the 2012 season nationally ranked for just the third time in school history as it finished the year ranked 16th in the Associated Press poll, 17th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll and 22nd in the Bowl Championship Series standings. USU also finished the 2012 season winning its final seven games, which is tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history.
Utah State will open the 2013 season on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Utah and play its first Mountain West game the following weekend at Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 7. USU’s first home game of the 2013 campaign will be on Saturday, Sept. 14 against Weber State, while its first home Mountain West game will be on Saturday, Oct. 12 against Boise State.
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