Wells named Mountain West coach of the year

LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Utah State head coach Matt Wells was named the Mountain West Conference coach of the year, while three Aggies earned 1st-team honors.
LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Utah State’s Matt Wells was named the Mountain West Coach of the Year, while 14 Aggies earned various all-conference accolades as the league office announced its postseason football honors Tuesday. In all, USU had four offensive players, eight defensive players and two specialists recognized to rank as the second-most in the league behind Fresno State’s 15 honorees.

Utah State players to earn first-team all-Mountain West honors include linebacker Jake Doughty, offensive center Tyler Larsen and cornerback Nevin Lawson, while linebacker Kyler Fackrell, defensive tackle B.J. Larsen, nose guard AJ Pataiali’i and linebacker Zach Vigil were all named to the second-team. Aggies who earned honorable mention all-league honors include safety Maurice Alexander, running back Joey DeMartino, placekicker Nick Diaz, offensive lineman Jamie Markosian, punt returner Bruce Natson, offensive lineman Eric Schultz and safety Brian Suite.

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, while Colorado State linebacker Shaquil Barrett was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. New Mexico’s Carlos Wiggins was named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year and San José State’s Tyler Winston earned Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors.

Overall, Utah State’s 14 total honorees rank fifth all-time in school history behind the 18 all-Big West Conference picks in 1997, the 17 all-Western Athletic Conference picks in 2012, the 16 all-Big West selections in 1996, and the 15 all-Pacific Coast Athletic Association picks in 1978.

As for Wells, he becomes just the fifth coach in school history and second in as many years to earn conference coach of the year honors as Gary Andersen earned WAC Coach of the Year accolades in 2012. Other Aggie coaches to earn coach of the year honors include Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991) and John L. Smith (1997), as they were all recognized by the Big West Conference.

Individually, Tyler Larsen becomes just the ninth Aggie in school history to be a three-time first-team all-conference selection joining Kent Ryan (1934-35-36), Murray Maughan (1938-39-40), Ralph Maughan (1942, 46-47), Guy McClure (1979-80-81), Dave Kuresa (1982-83-84), Brent Passey (1998-99-2000), Emmett White (1999-2000-01) and Bobby Wagner (2009-10-11).

Aggies who earned all-conference honors for the second time include Doughty, Fackrell, Lawson, Markosian, Schultz and Vigil, as Doughty, Fackrell and Schultz earned first-team all-WAC honors in 2012, while Lawson, Markosian and Vigil were all named to the WAC’s second-team a year ago.

Utah State players earning all-conference honors for the first time include B.J. Larsen, Pataiali’i, Alexander, DeMartino, Diaz, Natson and Suite.

Doughty, a 6-0, 234-pound senior linebacker from Draper, Utah (Juan Diego HS) ranks third in the Mountain West and tied for ninth in the nation in tackles (10.8 pg). On the season, Doughty leads the team with 140 tackles and four quarterback hurries and is third on the team with his 10.5 tackles for loss. He also had three pass breakups, two sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this year that he returned 86 yards for a touchdown, not to mention nine double-digit tackle outings.

Tyler Larsen, a 6-4, 312-pound senior center from Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS) graded out above 86 percent in every game this year and above 90 percent five times, while recording 46 knockdowns.

Lawson, a 5-10, 186-pound senior cornerback from Lauderhill, Fla. (Piper HS) ranks third in the Mountain West and tied for 19th in the nation in passes defended (1.31 pg), and tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 70th in the nation in interceptions (0.31 pg). Overall, he ranks sixth on the team in tackles (53) and leads the team with four interceptions and 13 pass breakups, to go along with 5.0 tackles for loss and one forced fumble.
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