PODCAST: Ranking Mountain West Position Rankings

PODCAST: Ranking Mountain West Position Rankings Plus, we get into some NIL talk Contact/Follow @MWCwire Who is at the top after spring football? Jeremy and Matt discuss the position rankings that Matt put together and we discuss what he discovered …

PODCAST: Ranking Mountain West Position Rankings


Plus, we get into some NIL talk


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

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Who is at the top after spring football?

Jeremy and Matt discuss the position rankings that Matt put together and we discuss what he discovered going through and ranking not just the top players from each team but going through the depth. The rankings are not a power ranking but an overall look at the depth.

Plus, they get into name, image, and likeness and how it is the big story among college sports and the impact it has in the Mountain West.

You can find the Mountain West Wire podcast below or subscribe to the show via Stitcher RadioTuneInSpotifyiTunes, and more. Listen in, subscribe and rate it and let us know what you think!

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Mountain West Dropping Divisions For 2023

Mountain West Eyeing No Divisions In 2023 Divisions are a thing of the past, hopefully Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Best teams for the title game It is official, Mountain West will not have divisions starting in 2023. NEWS: Mountain West …

Mountain West Eyeing No Divisions In 2023


Divisions are a thing of the past, hopefully


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Best teams for the title game

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It is official, Mountain West will not have divisions starting in 2023.

Divisions in the Mountain West could be a thing of the past, according to a report from Brett McMurphy. The conference is looking to scrap the Mountain and West Divisions for the 2023 season.

This is a long time coming and the only reason there have been divisions is because to be able to host a conference title game, a league either had to play a round-robin — that is what the Big 12 did when it dropped to 10 teams — or have divisions and the top finishers play each other.

It has been rare in the Mountain West that see a team with a better conference record miss out on the title game due to the division they were in. The best example was in 2014.

Which saw the Mountain Division have four teams with the same or better record than the West Division champion. If there were no divisions and the best two teams played that year, then the conference title game would have been Boise State vs. Colorado State in a rematch.

The main reason to drop divisions is that it will give the Mountain West a boost in opponents and help the league champion get into a New Year’s Six game, or in the future a playoff spot.

The 2020 COVID-19 season dropped divisions out of necessity as games were canceled and moved around, so it just made sense to not deal with divisions to play whoever was available.

A division-less format doesn’t mean play whoever because it would still make sense to have a rotation and also keep rivalries protected.

Pods Or Protecting Rivals?

The pod system isn’t new and our own Matt Kenerley about this a few years ago by piggybacking off of Bill Connelly’s idea of no divisions for college football. Plus, added a few tweaks of his own.

Mountain West Football: Could Pods Be An Alternative To Contraction?

The idea is to keep protected rivalries so that teams like Wyoming and Colorado State could still have the Border War or UNLV and Nevada would still be going after the “Fremont Canon.”

An eight-league slate makes sense for the Mountain West and that would allow for three protected games and rotate the other five games.

One example from Kenerly’s piece is setting teams up in pods where they always play these three teams each year.

This list does a good job of setting everyone up so that the majority of the rivalries aren’t missed.

Air Force: Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State
Boise State: Fresno State, Utah State, Wyoming
Colorado State: Air Force, New Mexico, Wyoming
Fresno State: Boise State, San Diego State, San Jose State
Hawaii: Nevada, San Diego State, UNLV
Nevada: Hawaii, San Jose State, UNLV
New Mexico: Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV
San Diego State: Fresno State, Nevada, San Jose State
San Jose State: Fresno State, Nevada, San Diego State
UNLV: Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico
Utah State: Air Force, Boise State, Wyoming
Wyoming: Boise State, Colorado State, Utah State

Here is what a schedule would look like with these teams.

There would be a rotation of those five non-protected opponents similar to now how the opposite division opponents rotate every two years with new teams coming in after a home and home.

This makes a lot of sense and there are more creative ways in the pod piece which would leave an open week at the end of the season for what would amount to a semifinal of sorts of cross pod play.

However, don’t expect the Mountain West to get that creative. Expect the league to have a setup similar to what has been described with three permanent opponents and rotating among the other five.

This is going to be done with every conference at the FBS level as the NCAA is loosening up its title game format. This will make for more competitive conference title games and guarantee the two teams with the best record to be playing for that conference championship.


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Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Defensive Back Rankings

Which Mountain West secondaries are in the best shape after spring football practice season?

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Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Defensive Back Rankings


Which Mountain West secondaries are in the best shape after spring football practice season?


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

Who looks best equipped to defend the pass?

12. Hawaii

Projected starters/depth: Hugh Nelson II (CB), Leonard Lee (S?), Ty Marsh (S?), Virdel Edwards II (CB?), Jalen Perdue, Von Killins

This group has undergone some major upheaval thanks to graduations and the transfer portal, meaning they return just one player (Nelson II) who played at least 100 snaps in 2021. Turning the page from Todd Graham to Timmy Chang, however, seems to have revitalized them as much as any other unit on the team since Lee, after being removed from the roster late in the former coach’s tenure, came back and starred in the Warriors’ spring game last month.

We may not know until August, however, who the most prominent contributors will be. With 15 defensive backs listed on the roster for the moment, Chang and new defensive coordinator Jacob Yoro will almost certainly keep the competition open as long as possible.

11. Utah State

Projected starters/depth: Michael Anyanwu (CB), Monte McGary (S), Dominic Tatum (S?), Andre Grayson (CB), Ajani Carter, Hunter Reynolds, Jaden Smith, Gurvan Hall Jr., Luke Marion

A unit that was definitely of the bend-but-don’t-break variety last year now faces the challenge of replacing a few starters (Cash Gilliam, Cam Lampkin, Shaq Bond). Granted, the cupboard isn’t totally bereft of experience — Anyanwu started the majority of games opposite Lampkin last year, Grayson spent a fair share of snaps operating out of the slot, and all three among Tatum, McGary, and Reynolds spent time in the starting lineup with Bond — but it’s worth noting that just one returning Aggie (Grayson) had a PFF overall grade above 70.0. In other words, there’s an element of “prove it” here that demands a little more production from all the promise.

10. Nevada

Projected starters/depth: Isaiah Essisima (CB), Tyson Williams (S), Emany Johnson (S), Jaden Dedman (CB?), Jojuan Claiborne (S), Bentlee Sanders, Mikael Bradford, Christian Swint

For all of the losses that the Wolf Pack had to graduation, the transfer portal, and the NFL, the secondary remains remarkably intact. That’s good news considering that, despite facing over 33 attempts per game, only San Diego State and Wyoming allowed fewer yards per pass to opponents in 2021.

The challenge for 2022 is that, at least according to Pro Football Focus’s grading system, Nevada has to replace its top safety (Jordan Lee) and top two cornerbacks (Berdale Robins, A.J. King). Rebuilding depth at the latter position is probably the most pressing matter, but with options ranging from Essissima to Michigan transfer Darion Green-Warren and sophomores Dorian Blackwell among 22 defensive backs on the current roster, you can’t say they don’t have plenty from which to choose.

9. Colorado State

Projected starters/depth: Robert Floyd (CB), Tywan Francis (S), Jack Howell (S), Langston Williams (CB?), A.J. King, Henry Blackburn, Chigozie Anusiem, D’Andre Greeley

2021 was a frustrating year for the Rams pass defense, though things didn’t really fall apart on that front until November, but the upside is that they might benefit from a fresh start under new coordinator Freddie Banks and have a surprising amount of depth from which to draw.

Question is, though Floyd flashed some hands and big play ability and Howell was a Freshman All-American last year, how good can they be in year one under Jay Norvell? This isn’t a unit that hasn’t been terribly proficient about getting its hands on footballs in recent years — the Rams haven’t ranked in the top half of the Mountain West by passes defended since 2017 — so the new coaching staff might take as much time as it can get to identify its best options.

8. UNLV

Depth chart: Nohl Williams (CB), Johnathan Baldwin (S), Tyson Player (S?), Jerrae Williams (CB), Trent Holloway, Ricky Johnson, Cameron Oliver

If it seems strange that a unit which gave up 8.3 yards per attempt is ranked this high, consider that they may have turned a corner late in 2021 by improving their opponent’s completion rate and YPA in November. At the very least, Nohl Williams is the best young corner in the Mountain West that no one talks about while Johnson shined when given more playing time down the stretch.

If the cornerback situation has upside, then, the real questions start at safety. Both Phillip Hill and Bryce Jackson entered the transfer portal this off-season, so Player and Baldwin could be real X-factors whose play could help determine the Rebels’ ceiling this year.

7. Wyoming

Projected starters/depth: Cameron Stone (CB), Miles Williams (S?), Isaac White (S?), Jakorey Hawkins (CB?), Keonte Glinton (NB), Deron Harrell, Blake Harrington

New faces, same old production? That’s what head coach Craig Bohl and defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel are counting upon and the early returns from the team’s spring game are certainly promising.

The Cowboys might be replacing the bulk of last year’s starts, but White started three of the last four games in Esaias Gandy’s stead while Glinton had a pair of November starts at the nickelback position and both Harrell and Hawkins had previous starting experience at Wisconsin and Ole Miss, respectively. Given this coaching staff’s track record, chances are they’ll figure out how best to deploy their new athletes.

6. New Mexico

Projected starters/depth: Donte Martin (CB), Jerrick Reed II (S), Ronald Wilson (S), Tavian Combs (S), Antonio Hunt (CB?), A.J. Odums, Hunter Sellers

This unit had some very uneven results from week to week last year, but when you realize that only San Diego State allowed a lower completion rate and that a below-average November obscures some solid early-season work, it’s easier to recognize Rocky Long has indeed been up to something here.

Can this unit take another collective step forward? Combs made some major improvements throughout the fall and Wilson held his own when given more playing time in the second half of 2021, while Reed II further established himself as a reliable anchor, so the safety trio has big potential. Cornerback has a little more uncertainty past Martin, who’s now a redshirt senior, but bet against Long at your own risk.

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Mountain West Football: Spring Practice Linebacker Rankings

Nearly every Mountain West football team is looking for a new anchor or two within the middle of their defenses this spring.

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Mountain West Football: Spring Practice Linebacker Rankings


Nearly every Mountain West football team is looking for a new anchor or two within the middle of their defenses this spring.


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

Who could be the best athletes in the middle?

12. Nevada

Projected starters/depth: Naki Mateialona, Josiah Bradley, Davion Blackwell, Drue Watts, Marcel Walker, Adam Weynand

With Lawson Hall and Trevor Price gone after graduating and Jordan Lee and Lamin Touray leaving via the transfer portal, the Wolf Pack have more of a hard reset on their hands here than at any other position. That’s not to say the likeliest candidates to replace them don’t have experience — Mateialona, Bradley, and Blackwell are all either juniors or seniors — but it remains to be seen how they’ll handle larger roles.

Bradley, in particular, is someone worth keeping an eye on now that the former four-star recruit may secure a starting spot. With so many unknowns, however, it’s mostly a wait-and-see game to see how things progress into the fall.

11. Hawaii

Projected starters/depth: Penei Pavihi, Isaiah Tufaga, Demarii Blanks, Riley Wilson, Wynden Ho’ohuli, Steele Dubar

The Warriors will definitely miss Darius Muasau, who left for UCLA through the transfer portal, but they aren’t starting from scratch. Pavihi and Tufaga aren’t the flashiest options in the Mountain West, but both have previous starting experience that Hawaii may need. Their standing atop the eventual depth chart may not be a given, however, considering the team has 15 linebackers on the current roster, including Nebraska transfer Ho’ohuli or junior college transfers Blanks and Noah Kema. This group could take a while to sort out.

10. Utah State

Projected starters/depth: Anthony Switzer, AJ Vongphachanh, Kina Maile, Kaleo Neves, MJ Tafisi

The Aggies are also replacing a lot of last year’s talent in this unit, but it’s easy to give them the benefit of the doubt, after how well things came together in 2021, that they’ll figure things out.

At a minimum, Utah State has pulled together an interesting mix of established veterans like Vongphachanh, impact transfers like Switzer and Tafisi, and young recruits like Maile who look ready for a bigger role. It’ll be a tall task to be as disruptive as the front seven was down the stretch last season, but the Aggies have beaten the odds before and this ranking could look silly by December.

9. New Mexico

Projected starters/depth: Ray Leutele, Reco Hannah, Syaire Riley, Dion Hunter, Cody Moon

This is a group that got a lot of practice battling through unenviable situations last year, which means that there might be a lot of breakout potential should the New Mexico offense hold up its end of the bargain more consistently next fall.

Hunter, in particular, could be emblematic of this unit’s promise. The redshirt freshman from Rio Rancho made his first career start in last year’s regular season finale against Utah State, where he promptly racked up eight tackles and finished the year, according to Pro Football Focus, as the team’s top-graded linebacker. However it shakes out, the Lobos can also say they are loaded for bear at the position with sixteen players listed there on the current roster.

8. San Jose State

Projected starters/depth: Kyle Harmon, Alii Matau, Matthew Tago, Jordan Cobbs, Rahyme Johnson, Soane Toia, Bryun Parham

Harmon is a tackling machine with few peers within the Mountain West, but what really made the Spartans potent last year was that this unit got more disruptive overall, which made the defensive end duo of Viliami Fehoko and Cade Hall more effective, as well. Five SJSU linebackers had at least four tackles for loss in 2021 and two of them are gone now, so there’s an expectation that role players like Tago, Johnson and Parham can shore up some of those losses.

7. Wyoming

Projected starters/depth: Easton Gibbs, Shae Suiaunoa, Connor Shay, Cole DeMarzo, Tommy Wroblewski

When it comes to replacing NFL talents here, this isn’t Craig Bohl’s first rodeo. Gibbs was quietly pretty good in his own right as Chad Muma’s wrecking crew partner last season while Suiaunoa, Shay and DeMarzo could provide the right amount of depth to keep coordinator Jay Sawvel’s 4-2-5 defense humming along.

6. Boise State

Projected starters/depth: Demitri Washington, Ezekiel Noa, D.J. Schramm, Isaiah Bagnah, Brandon Hawkins, George Tarlas

The Broncos have a lot of strengths upon which they’ll be able to depend heading into 2022, but their linebacker play in recent years has been more good than great. That’s not to say they can’t re-establish some level of dominance next year, but it will depend on getting more out of the EDGE position, in particular, where Bagnah (two sacks vs. UCF last year, three vs. Nevada) and Washington (4.5 sacks as a freshman in 2019) have flashed potential but haven’t yet become Curtis Weaver-level difference makers.

Noa and Schramm, meanwhile, at least give Boise State a pair of experienced high-floor performers at middle linebacker. Tarlas, a sixth-year senior transfer from Weber State, is an intriguing wild card to keep an eye on after he picked up eight tackles for loss, five sacks, and four forced fumbles for the Wildcats in 2021.

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PODCAST: 2022 NFL Draft Recap

PODCAST: 2022 NFL Draft Recap How did the Mountain West fare in the NFL Draft? Contact/Follow @MWCwire Who earned a good landing spot? Jeremy and Matt are back with a belated NFL Draft recap show (blame Jeremy for being slow this week) and how the …

PODCAST: 2022 NFL Draft Recap


How did the Mountain West fare in the NFL Draft?


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

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Who earned a good landing spot?

Jeremy and Matt are back with a belated NFL Draft recap show (blame Jeremy for being slow this week) and how the Mountain West players fit into their new NFL homes. Who was drafted and not drafted. We go over the surprise picks and what free agent pick ups could find their way onto a 53-man roster once the season begins this fall.

You can find the Mountain West Wire podcast below or subscribe to the show via Stitcher RadioTuneInSpotifyiTunes, and more. Listen in, subscribe and rate it and let us know what you think!

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Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Wide Receiver/Tight End Rankings

How do the Mountain West’s wide receivers and tight ends stack up across the conference after spring practices?

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Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Pass Catcher Rankings


How do the Mountain West’s wide receivers and tight ends stack up across the conference after spring practices?


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

Lots of turnover means lots of room for improvement.

12. Hawaii

Projected major contributors: Zion Bowens, Jonah Panoke, Koali Nishigaya, Caleb Phillips (TE), Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala, James Green III, Kameula Borden (TE)

When Nick Rolovich revived the run-and-shoot at Hawaii in 2018, it turned John Ursua, Cedric Byrd, and Jojo Ward into breakout stars. The difference for new head coach Timmy Chang is that, despite shepherding what’s expected to be another wide open passing attack, there are a few more unknowns this time around.

Bowens could be a prime candidate himself to blow up that it’s his time to shine atop the depth chart, especially if he can extrapolate a little of the 23.6 yards per catch he’s averaged on his 17 career catches to date. Panoke hasn’t had as much opportunity to stretch the field (22 career catches, 9.9 YPC), but since they are 6-1 and 6-2, respectively, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see them get plenty of chances to do so. Mokiao-Atimalala, meanwhile, impressed at the spring game and could play his way toward being a crucial third cog out of the slot. Being last here, then, doesn’t mean the capacity to light opponents up is absent.

11. Wyoming

Projected major contributors: Joshua Cobbs, Treyton Welch (TE), Parker Christensen (TE), Alex Brown, Wyatt Wieland, Gunner Gentry, Colin O’Brien (TE)

With Isaiah Neyor gone to Texas and Ayden Eberhadt out of eligibility, the Cowboys have exactly one wide receiver, Cobbs, who caught more than ten passes in 2021. Nearly half of his receptions came in Wyoming’s last three games, however, so it isn’t unreasonable to expect that he can continue to progress and become the next quality field stretcher for this offense.

Elsewhere, Wyoming’s current crop of pass catchers is probably best known for their blocking ability, especially at tight end. The word is already out that they’re trying to rectify this, but that’s something we’ve heard before. As long as they keep handling their primary duties with aplomb, however, the main difference between Wyoming as a harmless bowl contender and a dark horse conference title contender could come down to how well others like Brown and Gentry step up and provide the explosiveness this attack needs.

10. Nevada

Projected major contributors: Jamaal Bell, Tyrese Mack, B.J. Casteel, Spencer Curtis, Carlton Brown III (TE), Aaron Smith

After being gutted by departures to Fort Collins and the NFL, the Wolf Pack have regrouped here and have more intrigue than you may suspect. Bell impressed in last year’s Quick Lane Bowl loss and appears well-equipped to become The Guy in this year’s offense, while Casteel was a solid contributor for three years at Arizona, in offenses that often struggled to move the ball.

Beyond that, who knows? Curtis and tight end Cooper Shults followed new head coach Ken Wilson from Oregon, but they have two career catches between them. Mack has just two career receptions, as well, so there’s work to be done to build depth even if the players at the top have promise.

9. New Mexico

Projected major contributors: Andrew Erickson, Luke Wysong, Keyonte Lanier, Trace Bruckler (TE), Trae Hall, Connor Witthoft (TE)

This is a group that skewed young last year and took a lot of lumps because of spotty quarterback play, but the good news is they’re still relatively young and they’ll get every opportunity to grow together. Erickson wasn’t much of a factor in 2021, which makes it easy to forget he averaged 15 yards a catch as a freshman the year before. If Wysong and Lanier can add some strength to their track-star speed, that could be a trio capable of doing damage in a hurry.

Bruckler is a player to keep an eye on, too. According to Pro Football Focus, only Trey McBride had a higher pass-catching grade (80.4) among Mountain West tight ends marked with at least 90 receiving snaps recorded. Kyle Jarvis has moved on, so it’ll be interesting to see how coordinator Derek Warehime deploys him.

8. UNLV

Depth chart: Kyle Williams, Jeffrey Weimer, Kaleo Ballunguey (TE), Kalvin Souders, Ricky White, Senika McKie, Zyell Griffin, Shelton Zeon III (TE)

It won’t get nearly as much attention as the quarterback competition, but this group should be expected to take a collective step forward, as well. Williams, the Mountain West freshman of the year two seasons ago, was banged up throughout 2021 but is now the team’s most proven pass-catcher now that Steve Jenkins is at Southern Utah.

Griffin, meanwhile, is an underrated field stretcher (20.1 YPC on 17 receptions in the last two years). Beyond him, though, where the production will come from is a mystery: The tight end position hasn’t really generated many big plays in Marcus Arroyo’s time at the helm, which could make transfers McKie and White critical pieces of the puzzle as the Rebels look to surprise this fall.

7. San Diego State

Projected major contributors: Jesse Matthews, Tyrell Shavers, Brionne Penny, Mekhi Shaw, Jay Rudolph (TE), Mark Redman (TE), Aaron Greene (TE)

The Aztecs have always had talents here that have been overlooked, mostly because the team has never emphasized the pass all that much, and even despite losing Daniel Bellinger to the NFL and Kobe Smith and other to the transfer portal, there’s a lot of breakout potential in this bunch.

We already know what Matthews can do, but Shavers (who had at least two catches in five of the last seven games in 2021) and Penny (who stood out throughout practices and had three scores in the spring game) could take the aerial attack to a new level if coordinator Jeff Hecklinski wanted to. Bellinger won’t be easy to replace at tight end, but there’s a trio of athletes who will get every chance to do so and Rudolph has already seen a good bit of playing time as his running mate over the past two seasons.

6. Utah State

Projected major contributors: Justin McGriff, Brian Cobbs, Xavier Williams, Josh Sterzer (TE), Kyle Van Leeuwen, Parker Buchanan (TE)

The Aggies are replacing a ton of talent, but if the new arrivals from the transfer portal can play as well as the ones who came in a year ago, this ranking could look absurdly low by September. Cobbs was never more than a part-time starter at Maryland, but he’s averaged just under 15 yards per catch in his career and looks the part of an outside receiver at 6-2 and 205 pounds. The same is true of Williams, who never found much playing time at Alabama but is a former four-star recruit with plenty to prove. McGriff could take on a larger share of targets, as well, so Logan Bonner should enjoy having a wealth of big bodies to whom he can throw.

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Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Quarterback Rankings

Which Mountain West football teams are in the best shape under center after spring practice season?

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Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Quarterback Rankings


Which Mountain West football teams are in the best shape under center after spring practice season?


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

The game’s most important position is in flux across the conference.

12. New Mexico

Projected depth: CJ Montes, Isaiah Chavez, Myles Kendrick

It got ugly for the Lobos once Terry Wilson was knocked out by injury midseason, but Chavez has shown a capacity to surprise over the past two years while Montes was thrust into a nigh unwinnable situation against Colorado State’s lethal pass rush and should be at least a little better than he showed that day with more experience under his belt. They’ll get a chance to grow with the rest of the rest of the offense after last year’s trials by fire, but it may be a while before we know whether anyone has separated themselves from the pack.

11. Nevada

Projected depth: Nate Cox, Jake Barlage, Drew Scolari

Shane Illingworth should compete for the starting job when he joins the Wolf Pack later this year, so the job for now will probably fall to Cox, who stepped in for Carson Strong at the Quick Lane Bowl last December. That game probably wasn’t emblematic of how capable Cox is, but with the program turning over a new leaf or three under new head coach Ken Wilson, the competition to replace Strong permanently could be opened up to options like Barlage and Scolari who haven’t yet seen the field.

Note: Drew Scolari retired shortly before this article was posted, according to Nevada Sports Net’s Chris Murray.

10. Hawaii

Projected depth: Brayden Schager, Cammon Cooper, Jake Farrell, Armani Edden

New head coach Timmy Chang has given the Warriors program a much-needed shot in the arm and enters his first spring with an intriguing quarterback competition on his hands. On the one hand, Schager had some early struggles as a starter when Chevan Cordeiro missed time with injury but improved week after week. Cammon Cooper, on the other hand, learned about the run-and-shoot under Nick Rolovich at Washington State, transferred to Hawaii when Todd Graham was still the head coach, and stuck around for the chance to be QB1.

At the team’s spring game, though, Schager seemed to put a little distance between he and Cooper in the competition. It’s far from over, of course, but whoever wins the job will have plenty to prove.

9. Wyoming

Projected depth: Andrew Peasley, Evan Svoboda, Jayden Clemons

With Levi Williams and Sean Chambers out the door, Craig Bohl’s “help wanted” initiative means that the quarterback room this spring will look a little different. The question: Will any of the new arrivals be an improvement for a passing attack that has completed 56% of its throws just once in the last six years?

Gavin Beerup, who had been the lone holdover from last year’s depth chart, is now playing wide receiver. Peasley is the option with the most previous in-game experience, but he currently owns a 53.8% career completion rate (though his yards per attempt did improve from 5.7 in 2020 to 8.1 in 2021). Svoboda, while possessing the prototype size and arm that Bohl values, is unproven for the moment at the FBS level. This group has the capacity to surprise, but then Cowboys fans have probably heard that before and are now simply waiting to see it.

8. Colorado State

Projected depth: Clay Millen, Giles Pooler, Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi

Jay Norvell got to inherit a quarterback who’d seen the field a fair amount, Ty Gangi, when he took over for Brian Polian at Nevada back in 2017, but his situation in Fort Collins this spring is different. Millen was recruited by the Wolf Pack as one of the program’s highest-rated high school prospects ever, and while he has familiarity with what Norvell and offensive coordinator Matt Mumme want to do on offense, the coaching staff made it clear that the presumed inside track doesn’t guarantee anything.

The good news for Rams fans? Millen received rave reviews throughout the spring, which takes the sting out of losing Evans Olaes, who played in three games for the Rams in 2021, to the transfer portal. His continued progress throughout the fall as the leader of an extremely young group will be one of the more fascinating narrative threads to follow across the conference.

7. San Diego State

Projected depth: Braxton Burmeister, Will Haskell, Marshall Eucker

Just when it seemed that the Aztecs had hit upon something to solve their long-standing passing game woes — they threw for over 300 yards in the Frisco Bowl win over UTSA, after all — both Lucas Johnson and Jordon Brookshire hit the transfer portal.

The good news is that San Diego State also dabbled in the quarterback pool, landing former Virginia Tech starter Burmeister to compete with the redshirt freshman Haskell while moving Jalen Mayden, who saw the field late in the championship game loss to Utah State, to the defensive backfield. The former seems to have solidified his hold on the starting job, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, so if he can play efficiently as Johnson and Brookshire were down the stretch in 2021, the concerns about this offense going backwards could quickly prove overblown.

6. Air Force

Projected depth: Haaziq Daniels, Zac Larrier, Ben Brittain, Jake Smith

Daniels probably doesn’t get enough credit as one of the more dangerous quarterbacks in the Mountain West, so hopefully it’s clear that the Falcons’ standing here has more to do with those competing to be his backup in Warren Bryan’s stead, as none of them have much live game experience. Considering the toll that a Falcons quarterback can take every week, earning the QB2 spot is a potentially significant role for the winner.

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College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Mountain West Spring Version 2022

Mountain West college football rankings and predictions with realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.

Mountain West college football rankings and predictions with the realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.


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The Mountain West isn’t exactly wide open, but with Boise State, Air Force, and San Diego State coming back strong, and with several new head coaches about to make a splash, this should be as wild an unpredictable a conference as any in college football.

The rankings are based on how good the teams should be and not the final projected records. Keeping in mind that this all could/might/will change when we make the final calls in August …

2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools

Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Specialist Rankings

A pair of record-setters have now moved on, so which Mountain West teams have the conference’s best punters and kickers this spring?

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Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Specialist Rankings


A pair of record-setters and more have now moved on, so which Mountain West teams have the conference’s best punters and kickers this spring?


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

Who looks like they could be truly special this fall?

12. San Jose State

Projected frontrunners: Taren Schive (K), Travis Benham (P)

Will Hart established a baseline of punting performance that the Spartans hadn’t seen since Michael Carrizosa left town and Matthew Mercurio established himself a reliable kicker with an 82% field goal rate over three seasons, but both of those guys are gone now to the pros and transfer portal, respectively. San Jose State is starting over, then, so will there be a drop-off?

Schive handled kickoffs for the Spartans last year and managed a solid 51.9% touchback rate, suggesting a strong leg that should be just fine among the conference’s new crop of specialists. Benham, meanwhile, improved his yards per punt across two years at the juco level but averaged only 37.4 YPP in his last extended action at City College of San Francisco in 2019.

11. New Mexico

Projected starters/frontrunners: George Steinkamp (K), Aaron Rodriguez (P)

Rodriguez was a busy man in his first full year as the Lobos punter, launching more punts than anyone else in the country, and he fit in just fine among first-year Mountain West specialists with a 42.8 YPP average.

Steinkamp, on the other hand, is the only Lobos kicker with prior game experience… though his first stint as the starter in 2020 didn’t go exactly as planned (6-of-11 on field goals). He held down kickoffs for UNM last season, however, and booted touchbacks 63.2% of the time, the third-best figure in the conference, so the leg strength is there if he can hold off newcomers Zach Benedict and Luke Drzewiecki.

10. Fresno State

Projected starters: Abraham Montano (K), Carson King (P)

Montano’s initial audition as the Bulldogs kicker could hardly have come in more intense circumstances, replacing an injured Cesar Silva on the road against a ranked Oregon team, but he was perfect that day and for the rest of the year (5-of-5 field goals, 14-of-14 extra points) and figures to be the frontrunner to handle Silva’s job for good now that he’s moved on.

King, like Utah State’s Stephen Kotsanlee, improved his yards per punt average from 2020 to 2021 (albeit not as drastically), but it’d be a surprise if he was pushed for the starting role. Fresno State’s specialists may not have a lot of flash, but it’s likely they’ll get the job done next fall.

9. San Diego State

Projected frontrunners: Jack Browning, Collyn Hopkins

Matt Araiza has ascended to new heights, so the job of replacing him should fall to Browning and Hopkins. No one should be expecting record-setting production from either specialist, but the longer track record of Aztec excellence on special teams means that the bar will still be relatively high.

8. UNLV

Projected frontrunners: Daniel Gutierrez (K), Ryan O’Hara (P)

Daniel Gutierrez quietly established himself as one of the best kickers in Rebels history over the past few years, so having him back is big for an offense still growing into its potential. O’Hara, meanwhile, stepped up and impressed down the stretch in handling kickoffs (50% in two games), so the leg is probably good enough to play. Evan Silva and Charlton Butt are also still around and could contribute should O’Hara falter.

7. Nevada

Projected starters/frontrunners: Brandon Talton (K), Matt Freem (P)

The Wolf Pack’s placement here is mostly splitting the difference between possessing one of the conference’s most reliable kickers (Talton) and an unproven entity at punter (Freem). Technically, Nevada has three placekickers on the current roster but Freem is the only one who’s seen the field as a punter in the past, doing so in two games back in 2020.

6. Hawaii

Projected depth: Matthew Shipley (K/P)

Shipley got a fraction of the attention that Matt Araiza did at San Diego State, but he was also a decent one-man show for the Warriors in 2021. There are still things on which he can improve, though: While his 85.7% field goal percentage ranked third in the Mountain West, Shipley’s 41.5 yards per punt average was next-to-last.

There’s still a chance he may not have to pull double duty again, though. Adam Stack put his name into the transfer portal back in December but is still listed on the team’s spring roster; he averaged 43.4 YPP in 2020. Shipley may not have to worry about handling kickoffs against, either, as Kyler Halvorsen did that job a year ago.

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2022 NFL Draft: Undrafted Free Agent Tracker

The NFL Draft is over, but plenty of Mountain West football players will find their way to the pros as free agents.


2022 NFL Draft: Undrafted Free Agent Tracker


The NFL Draft is over, but plenty of Mountain West players will find their way to the pros as free agents.


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS and @MWCwire

What teams have signed Mountain West players after the draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft is officially in the books, but those 262 players who were selected are not the only ones who will get a shot at the next level. Many more undrafted free agents will get signed and have a chance to make a 53-man roster over the summer and into the fall.

This list will be updated as Mountain West athletes are signed.

Air Force

XX

Boise State

XX

Colorado State

XX

Fresno State

XX

Hawaii

XX

Nevada

XX

New Mexico

XX

San Diego State

XX

San Jose State

XX

UNLV

XX

Utah State

XX

Wyoming

XX

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