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CORONADO, Calif. -- Four Cougars received preseason accolades while media members picked BYU to finish fourth in the 2005 Mountain West Conference Preseason Poll, Monday at the annual MWC Media Day.
The Cougars received 164 points in the poll, including one first place vote, and finished behind Utah (246 points), New Mexico (215) and Wyoming (212). BYU was third in the conference in 2004 with a 4-3 record while finishing 5-6 overall.
"Ultimately, what I care about is where we finish at the end of the year," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I don't know how accurate the poll has been in the past nor do I care. But it gives us a starting place in terms of maybe respect and perception."
Trailing BYU are Colorado State (153), TCU (145), Air Force (96), San Diego State (87) and UNLV (32).
The MWC also announced its preseason all-conference team Monday, which includes four Cougars: Todd Watkins, Jake Kuresa, Manaia Brown and Cameron Jensen.
Watkins led the MWC with 1,042 yards receiving in 2004 and earned All-MWC first-team and All-America honorable mention honors. He was also named the nation's top deep threat by Sport's Illustrated. Several publications took notice after his successful 2004 campaign and have listed Watkins as one of the top receivers in the conference and the country. Phil Steele's College Football Preview and Lindy's Football Annual have named him to their preseason First-Team All-America teams. Various publications have named him a Preseason First-Team All-MWC performer.
Kuresa was a key cog in the BYU offensive line in 2004, starting all 11 games at right tackle. He helped anchor an offensive unit that averaged 24.3 points, 105.8 yards rushing and 279.5 yards passing per game. Street & Smiths named Kuresa a preseason Honorable All-American while Lindy's Football Annuals, Street & Smiths and Blue Ribbon Yearbook/ESPN.com selected him as a Preseason First-Team All-MWC candidate. Lindy's Football Annuals also labeled Kuresa the league's "best pass blocker."
Brown is coming off a 2004 season in which he recorded 26 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss (4.5 sacks) and earned All-MWC honorable mention honors. For the 2005 season, Brown has been named a Preseason First-Team All-MWC candidate by Lindy's Football Annuals, Phil Steele's College Football Preview, College Football News and Street & Smiths. Phil Steele's has also ranked him the 25th best defensive end in the country while College Football News lists him as the second best defensive end in the conference.
After a breakout year in 2004 in which he led the Cougars in tackles with 103, Jensen enters the 2005 season with high expectations. Several preseason publications expect him to exceed the All-MWC honorable mention status he earned in 2004, including Phil Steele's college football preview, which lists Jensen as an Honorable Mention All-American. Phil Steele's, Lindy's Sports Annuals, Athlon Sports, Street & Smiths, Blue Ribbon Yearbook/ESPN.com and College Football News list him as a Preseason First-Team All-MWC performer. Jensen is also one of 50 candidates for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded by the Football Writers Association of America to the nation's top defensive player.
The Cougars will kickoff the 2005 season at home against Boston College, Saturday September 3 at 1:30 p.m. BYU's first conference game will be at home against TCU, Saturday September 24.
Written by BYU Athletic Media Relations