Athlon Sports places eight Aggies on preseason All-Mountain West football team

FILE - Utah State's Savon Scarver (11) carries the ball on a kick return during the first half of the Frisco Bowl NCAA college football game against Kent State on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

LOGAN, Utah  Utah State football had eight players named to the Athlon Sports 2020 preseason all-Mountain West teams, it was announced Wednesday by the publication, highlighted by the first-team selection of senior kick returner Savon Scarver.

Offensively, senior Jordan Nathan made the third team as an all-purpose player, while junior offensive lineman Alfred Edwards and sophomore offensive lineman Karter Shaw were both tabbed to the fourth team.

Nathan also made the list as a specialist, landing on the fourth team as a punt returner.

Defensively, senior safety Shaq Bond made the second team and senior nickelback Troy Lefeged Jr. made the third team. Senior linebacker Kevin Meitzenheimer and senior defensive end Justus Te’i both landed on the fourth team.

Scarver earned first-team all-Mountain West honors in 2019 as a returner as he was first in the MW and second nationally in kickoff returns for touchdown with two (0.17 pg), and first in the league and 11th in the nation in kickoff return yards (27.9 ypr).

Nathan finished the 2019 season ranked second on the team in both receptions and receiving yards as he caught 56 passes for 581 yards with one touchdown. He also carried the ball seven times for 40 yards with one touchdown, returned 11 punts for 93 yards and had two kickoff returns for four yards.

Edwards started all 12 games he played in at left tackle last season, finishing the year playing in 764 offensive snaps. He recorded seven knockdowns during the season, including a season-best three against Nevada.

Shaw started all 13 games at right guard last year and finished the season playing in 889 snaps, including a season-high 89 against Colorado State. He posted a team-best 39 knockdowns, including a season-high eight against BYU.

Bond earned honorable mention all-MW honors in 2019 as he finished the season fourth on the team with 83 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss. He led the team with three interceptions and ranked third with his eight passes defended, including five pass breakups.

Lefeged started all 13 games a year ago and led the Aggies with 104 tackles. He also tied for second on the team with 2.0 sacks and tied for fourth with 6.0 tackles for loss. The native of Montgomery Village, Md., also recorded three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and four pass breakups.

Meitzenheimer finished third on the team in 2019 with 89 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss, to go along with one interception, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.

Te’i matched his jersey number with 51 tackles last season, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also had three pass breakups and one quarterback hurry, to go along with a team-best three fumble recoveries to rank first in the MW and sixth in the nation (0.23 pg).

Utah State went 7-6 overall in 2019, including a 6-2 mark in the MW to finish third in the Mountain Division. It was just the 26th time in school history that USU has won at least seven games, while its six league wins are tied for the sixth-most in school history. USU also played in its 14th bowl game in school history in 2019, including its eighth in the past nine seasons.

The Aggies are slated to open the 2020 campaign by hosting Pac-12 foe Washington State on Thursday, Sept. 3, on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

Athlon Sports 2020 Preseason All-Mountain West Teams

First-Team Offense

QB – Hank Bachmeier, Boise State

RB – Xazavian Valladay, Wyoming

RB – Charles Williams, UNLV

AP – Khalil Shakir, Boise State

WR – Warren Jackson, Colorado State

WR – Tre Walker, San José State

TE – Trey McBride, Colorado State

C – Keegan Cryder, Wyoming

OL – Nolan Laufenberg, Air Force

OL – Parker Ferguson, Air Force

OL – Ilm Manning, Hawai’i

OL – John Ojukwu, Boise State

First-Team Defense

DL – Dom Peterson, Nevada

DL – Cameron Thomas, San Diego State

DL – Scale Igiehon, Boise State

DL – Keshawn Banks, San Diego State

LB – Demonte Meeks, Air Force

LB – Justin Rice, Fresno State

LB – Riley Whimpey, Boise State

CB – Jalen Walker, Boise State

CB – Darren Hall, San Diego State

– Kekaula Kaniho, Boise State

S – Tariq Thompson, San Diego State

First-Team Specialists

K – Brandon Talton, Nevada

P – Ryan Stonehouse, Colorado State

KR – Savon Scarver, Utah State

PR – Avery Williams, Boise State

Second-Team Offense

QB – Donald Hammond, Air Force

RB – George Holani, Boise State

– Kadin Remsburg, Air Force

AP – Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State

WR – Romeo Doubs, Nevada

WR – Jared Smart, Hawai’i

TE – Marcus Williams, New Mexico

C – Kyle Stapley, New Mexico

OL – Syrus Tuitele, Fresno State

OL – Jackson Snyder, San José State

OL – Solo Vaipulu, Hawaii

OL – Logan Harris, Wyoming

OL – Julio Garcia, UNLV

Second-Team Defense

DL – Jordan Jackson, Air Force

DL – Manny Jones, Colorado State

DL – Garrett Crall, Wyoming

DL – Solomon Byrd, Wyoming

LB – Jacobi Hearn, New Mexico

LB – Chad Muma, Wyoming

LB – Dequan Jackson, Colorado State

LB – Demetri Washington, Boise State

CB – Cortez Davis, Hawai’i

CB – Avery Williams, Boise State

S – Dwayne Johnson, San Diego State

S – Shaq Bond, Utah State

Second-Team Specialists

K – Matt Araiza, San Diego State

P – Tyson Dyer, New Mexico

KR – Elijah Lilly, New Mexico

PR – Dante Wright, Colorado State

Third-Team Offense

QB – Chevan Cordeiro, Hawai’i

RB – Miles Reed, Hawai’i

RB – Toa Taua, Nevada

AP – Jordan Nathan, Utah State

WR – Randal Grimes, UNLV

WR – Dante Wright, Colorado State

WR – Elijah Cooks, Nevada

TE – John Bates, Boise State

C – Taaga Tuulima, Hawai’i

OL – Nate Brown, Nevada

OL – Teton Saltes, New Mexico

OL – William Dunkle, San Diego State

OL – Zachary Thomas, San Diego State

Third-Team Defense

DL – Kevin Atkins, Fresno State

DL – Cade Hall, San José State

DL – Ravontae Holt, Wyoming

DL – Ellison Hubbard, Colorado State

LB – Troy Lefeged Jr., Utah State

LB – Lawson Hall, Nevada

LB – Kyle Harmon, San José State

LB – Arron Mosby, Fresno State

CB – Milton Bugg, Air Force

CB – EJ Muhammad, Nevada

S – Jay Lenard, San José State

S – Keyon Blankenbaker, Wyoming

Third-Team Specialists

K – Matt Mercurio, San José State

P – Joel Velazquez, Boise State

KR – Jordan Byrd, San Diego State

PR – Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State


Fourth-Team Offense

QB – Carson Strong, Nevada

RB – Timothy Jackson, Air Force

RB – Bryson Carroll, New Mexico

WR – Bailey Gaither, San José State

WR – CT Thomas, Boise State

WR – Kobe Smith, San Diego State

TE – Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State

OL – Alfred Edwards, Utah State

OL – Gene Pryor, Hawaii

OL – Barry Wesley, Colorado State

OL – Karter Shaw, Utah State

OL – Jake Stetz, Boise State

OL – Matt Smith, Fresno State

Fourth-Team Defense

DL – Justus Te’i, Utah State

DL – Kwami Jones, Fresno State

DL – Blessman Ta’ala, Hawai’i

DL – Jackson Cravens, Boise State

LB – Kevin Meitzenheimer, Utah State

LB – Ezekiel Noa, Boise State

LB – Lakota Wills, Air Force

CB – Donte Martin, New Mexico

CB – Rashad Ajayi, Colorado State

S – Kai Kaneshiro, Hawai’i

S – Tyson Williams, Nevada

S – Rome Weber, Wyoming

Fourth-Team Specialists

– Andrew Shelley, New Mexico

P – Stan Gaudion, Hawai’i

KR  – Tyleek Collins, UNLV

PR – Jordan Nathan, Utah State

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