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Sakoda, Johnson and Whittingham earn All-MWC honors

Sakoda, Johnson and Whittingham earn All-MWC honors



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The Mountain West announced its 2008 All-Conference football teams and individual award winners today as selected by the nine head coaches and media panel. Utah quarterback Brian Johnson was chosen as the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, while TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year. Utah place kicker/punter Louie Sakoda earned the MWC Special Teams Player of the Year award for the third straight season. Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson was honored as MWC Freshman of the Year, while Kyle Whittingham of Utah was selected as the MWC Coach of the Year.

**OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR**
**BRIAN JOHNSON, SENIOR, QB, UTAH**
![](http://graphics.fansonly.com/schools/mwc/graphics/brian-johnson.jpg)- Johnson is Utah's second MWC Offensive Player of the Year (Alex Smith-2004). - Johnson is the seventh quarterback since the inception of the league to be named MWC Offensive Player of the Year. - Ranks second in the MWC and 17th nationally in pass efficiency (148.3). - Ranks fourth in the MWC and 43rd in the FBS in total offense (231.6). Also ranks fourth in the league and 40th nationally in passing yards per game (219.7). - Named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week three times in 2008. - One of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award honoring the nation's top quarterback. - One of 10 finalists for the Manning Award, given to the nation's top quarterback by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
JERRY HUGHES, JUNIOR, DE, TCU
- Hughes is TCU's first MWC Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Hughes is the second defensive end since the inception of the MWC to be named defensive player of the year.
  • Has recorded 48 tackles (30 solo) and two interceptions, including one for a touchdown, in 2008.
  • Leads the nation in sacks with an MWC single-season record of 14.
  • Leads the MWC and ranks tied for eighth nationally with 18.5 tackles for loss.
  • Is currently tied for top spot in the MWC and in the FBS with six forced fumbles.
  • Is currently tied for the MWC lead and tied for third nationally with three fumble recoveries.
  • Named MWC Defensive Player of the Week three times in 2008. Hughes is just the second player in league history to be named defensive player of the week three times in the same season (Beau Bell, UNLV-2007).
  • Walter Camp Football Foundation and FWAA/Bronko Nagurski Trophy National Defensive Player of the Week after his MWC record four sacks and two forced fumbles in a 32-7 win over BYU.
  • Anchors a TCU defense that is ranked No. 1 in the nation in run defense (48.7 yards per game) and second in total defense (215.1 yards per game), scoring defense (10.9 points per game) and sacks (41).
  • One of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy honoring the nation's top defensive player.
  • A finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LOUIE SAKODA, SENIOR, PK/P, UTAH
- Sakoda is the MWC Special Teams Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. He is the first player in league history to garner a player of the year honor three straight times.
  • Ranks second in the nation in kick-scoring points and sixth in points scored from all positions with 115.
  • Has made 21-of-23 field goals, including 15-of-15 from 47 yards or less. His two misses were from 48 and 54 yards.
  • His 21 field goals in 2008 eclipse his own school record of 19 set last year.
  • Has converted 52-of-53 point-after attempts, with the solo miss being a blocked kick. He tied the school record for PATs in a game with a 9-for-9 effort against San Diego State.
  • Ranks fourth in MWC and 32nd nationally in punt average (41.7).
  • 42% of his punts (21-of-50) have been downed inside the 20-yard line, including 12 inside the 15.
  • Named the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week five times in 2008.
  • 2008 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, along with being a finalist for the Draddy Trophy, Wuerffel Trophy and the Lowe's Senior Class Award.
  • One of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, honoring the nation's best place kicker.
  • One of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, honoring the nation's best punter.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
TIM JEFFERSON, FRESHMAN, QB, AIR FORCE
- Jefferson is the first conference freshman of the year honoree in Air Force history.
  • Jefferson became just the fourth freshman starting quarterback in school history when he moved into the lineup at San Diego State on Oct. 11, 2008.
  • Rushed for 373 yards (4.3 avg.) and two touchdowns in 2008.
  • Has completed 37-of-66 passes for 557 yards with five touchdowns this season.
  • Is currently 5-2 as starter and is the first Air Force quarterback to win his first five starts since Chance Harridge won his first six games in 2002.
  • Selected as the MWC Offensive Player of the Week once this season.

COACH OF THE YEAR
KYLE WHITTINGHAM, UTAH
- Selected as conference coach of the year for the first time in his career after leading Utah to a 12-0 regular season record and a perfect 8-0 mark in MWC play.
  • Has led Utah to a No. 6 BCS ranking, which equals the highest BCS standing by an institution from a non-automatic qualifying conference. Utah also accomplished the feat in 2004.
  • Second Utah coach to win the MWC Coach of the Year honor. Urban Meyer won the award in 2003 and 2004.

NOTABLES
- Five student-athletes were repeat first-team all-Conference selections from 2007, including Utah punter Louie Sakoda, BYU offensive linemen Ray Feinga and Dallas Reynolds, tight end Dennis Pitta and defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen.
  • TCU senior Jason Phillips is a first team honoree for the second time in his career. He was selected as a first team linebacker in 2006 and was a second team honoree in 2005 and 2007. Phillips also is the second player in MWC history, and first defensive player, to be honored on the first or second team all four years of his career (DonTrell Moore, New Mexico was a first team honoree 2002-05).
  • UNLV junior WR Ryan Wolfe is a first team honoree for the second time in his career. He was selected as a first team wide receiver in 2006 and was an honorable mention pick last year.
  • Austin Collie (WR-BYU), Stephen Hodge (DB-TCU), Jason Phillips (LB-TCU), Blake Schlueter (OL-TCU), Zane Beadles (OL-Utah), Robert Conley (OL-Utah), Brice McCain (DB-Utah) and Louie Sakoda (PK-Utah) are all first-team selections in 2008 after being second-team honorees in 2007.
  • TCU has claimed a first-team kick returner honoree in each of its four years as a member of the MWC (Jeremy Kerley - 2008, Brian Bonner-2006-07, Cory Rodgers-2008).
  • Devin Moore is the first Wyoming running back and Ward Dobbs if the first Cowboy linebacker to be selected to the first team since the inception of the MWC.
  • Of the 50 first and second-team selections, 26 were seniors, 21 juniors and three sophomores. The first team had 16 seniors, seven juniors and two sophomores. The 21 juniors on both teams eclipse the previous high of 18 in both 2000 and 2002.
  • BYU has claimed the first team tight end position four consecutive years (Dennis Pitta-2007-08, Jonny Harline-2005-06).
  • Jake Paulson is the first Air Force defensive lineman to be chosen to the first team in MWC history.
  • Brian Johnson is the second Utah quarterback selected to the first team in MWC history (Alex Smith-2004).
  • Utah has had a first team defensive lineman honoree eight consecutive years (Paul Kruger in 2008) and nine out of 10 years.

**ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL FIRST-TEAM**
**Offense**
**Pos.****Player****Cl.****School**
QBBrian JohnsonSr.Utah
WRAustin CollieJr.BYU
WRRyan Wolfe\*Jr.UNLV
RBGartrell Johnson IIISr.Colorado State
RBDevin MooreSr.Wyoming
TEDennis Pitta\*#Jr.BYU
OLRay Feinga\*Sr.BYU
OLDallas Reynolds\*Sr.BYU
OLBlake SchlueterSr.TCU
OLZane BeadlesJr.Utah
OLRobert ConleySr.Utah
PKLouie SakodaSr.Utah
PR/KRJeremy KerleySo.TCU
**Defense**
**Pos.****Player****Cl.****School**
DLJake PaulsonSr.Air Force
DLJan Jorgensen\*Jr.BYU
DLJerry Hughes#Jr.TCU
DLPaul KrugerSo.Utah
LBRobert HensonSr.TCU
LBJason Phillips\*Sr.TCU
LBWard DobbsSr.Wyoming
DBGlover QuinSr.New Mexico
DBBrice McCainSr.Utah
DBStephen HodgeSr.TCU
DBSean SmithJr.Utah
PLouie Sakoda\*Sr.Utah
**\*--Two-Time First-Team Selection \#--Unanimous Selection**
**ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL SECOND-TEAM**
**Offense**
**Pos.****Player****Cl.****School**
QBMax HallJr.BYU
WRRashaun GreerJr.Colorado State
WRFreddie BrownSr.Utah
RBHarvey UngaSo.BYU
RBRodney FergusonSr.New Mexico
TEKory SperrySr. Colorado State
OLNick CharlesJr.Air Force
OLTravis BrightSr.BYU
OLShelley SmithJr.Colorado State
OLErik CookJr.New Mexico
OLMarshall NewhouseJr.TCU
PKRyan HarrisonSr.Air Force
PR/KRIan ClarkJr.New Mexico
**Defense**
**Pos.****Player****Cl.****School**
DLCody MooreSr.TCU
DLMatt PanfilSr.TCU
DLKoa MisiJr.Utah
DLJohn FletcherJr.Wyoming
LBDavid NixonSr.BYU
LBJason BeauchampJr.UNLV
LBStevenson SylvesterJr.Utah
DBChris ThomasJr.Air Force
DBDeAndre WrightSr.New Mexico
DBSteven ColemanSr.TCU
DBRafael PriestJr.TCU
PAnthony HartzJr.Colorado State
**HONORABLE MENTION**
**Air Force:**Chris Campbell, Jr., OL; Andrew Pipes, Sr., C; Reggie Rembert; So.; KR; Ken Lamendola, So., LB; Hunter Altman; Sr., LB.
**BYU:**C.J. Santiago, Sr., P; David Tafuna, Sr., DB.
**Colorado State:**Tim Walter, Jr., C; Jason Smith, Sr., PK; Ricky Brewer, So., LB, Mychal Sisson, Fr., LB.
**New Mexico:**Zach Arnett, Sr., LB; Herbert Felder, Sr., LB.
**San Diego State:**Russell Allen, Sr., LB; B.J. Williams, So., DE; Corey Boudreaux, Sr., DB.
**TCU:**Andy Dalton, So., QB; Jimmy Young, So., WR; Marcus Cannon, So., OL; Aaron Brown; Sr., KR; James Vess, Sr., NT; Nick Sanders; Jr., CB; Anson Kelton, Fr., P.
**UNLV:**Casey Flair, Sr., WR, Frank Summers, Sr., RB; Johan Asiata, Sr., OL; Malo Tuamua; So., DL.
**Utah:**Zane Taylor, So., OL; David Reed, Jr., KR; Greg Newman, Sr., DL; Mike Wright; Jr., LB.
**Wyoming:**Kyle Howard, Sr., OL; Mitch Unrein, Jr., DL; Tim Bond; Sr., C; Chris Prosinski, So., DB.
**OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR** Brian Johnson, Sr., QB, Utah
**DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR** Jerry Hughes, Jr., DE, TCU
**SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR** Louie Sakoda, Sr., PK/P, Utah
**FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR** Tim Jefferson, QB, Air Force
**COACH OF THE YEAR** Kyle Whittingham, Utah

The Mountain West Conference

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