As we roll on toward the start of summer camps and, ultimately, a new season, the Mountain West becomes the latest to unveil its preseason selections.
The media that covers the MWC has tapped defending champion Boise State as its favorite to win the Mountain division, while San Diego State is the favorite in the West. The Broncos received 28 of a possible 30 first-place votes, while the Aztecs garnered 27. The other three West votes went to Fresno State, which claimed that division in 2014 but fell to Boise in the conference championship game.
Individually, Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins was named as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year; Utah State linebacker Kyler Fackrell the Defensive POTY; and San Diego State kicker Donny Hageman the Special Teams POTY.
Below is the media’s predicted order of finish in bot divisions, followed by the first-team all-conference squad.
Mountain Division (First-Place Votes), Total Points
1. Boise State (28) 177
2. Utah State (2) 150
3. Colorado State 108
4. Air Force 90
5. Wyoming 64
6. New Mexico 41
1. San Diego State (27) 177
2. Fresno State (3) 141
3. Nevada 113
4. San José State 91
5. Hawai‘i 70
6. UNLV 38
DL Eddie Yarbrough* Sr. Wyoming
DL Alex Hansen** Sr. Air Force
DL Kamalei Correa* Jr. Boise State
DL Ian Seau** Sr. Nevada
LB Tanner Vallejo** Jr. Boise State
LB Kyler Fackrell Sr. Utah State
LB Nick Vigil* Jr. Utah State
DB Weston Steelhammer* Jr. Air Force
DB Donte Deayon** Sr. Boise State
DB Darian Thompson* Sr. Boise State
DB Damontae Kazee** Jr. San Diego State
QB Chuckie Keeton Sr. Utah State
WR Rashard Higgins* Jr. Colorado State
WR Devonte Boyd** So. UNLV
RB Donnel Pumphrey* Jr. San Diego State
RB Marteze Waller** Sr. Fresno State
OL Marcus Henry* Sr. Boise State OL Rees Odhiambo** Sr. Boise State
OL Alex Fifita Sr. Fresno State
OL Ben Clarke Sr. Hawaiʻi
OL Pearce Slater Sr. San Diego State
TE Steven Walker* Sr. Colorado State
P Alex Boy** Sr. Nevada
PK Donny Hageman Sr. San Diego State
Ret. Carlos Wiggins Sr. New Mexico
* – member of the 2014 All-Mountain West first team.
** – member of the 2014 All-Mountain West second team.
Iowa is the latest football program caught up in the maelstrom of needed, necessary change.
Saturday, Iowa announced that longtime strength & conditioning coach Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave. Additionally, an independent review will be conducted into allegations that Doyle directly contributed to “racial disparities in the Iowa football program.”
The development came after former Hawkeye football players took to social media en masse in the past couple of days to accuse Doyle of creating a hostile environment. Specifically, as it pertained to black Iowa football players. One former player spoke of Doyle mocking black football players that “made you walk around the football facility on eggshells … and caused anxiety that could be unbearable at times with your dreams and career on the line.”
“There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program,” former starting offensive lineman James Daniels wrote in a tweet. “Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”
In a video statement, Kirk Ferentz described the past 24 or so hours as “a defining moment” for his program.
“I appreciate the former players’ candor and have been reaching out to many of them individually to hear more about their experiences in our program,” the longtime coach stated. “I am planning on talking to all of them in the coming days. This is a process that will take some time, but change begins by listening first.
“Many of the discussions have centered around our Strength and Conditioning program and Coach Chris Doyle. I have spoken with him about the allegations posted on social media. They are troubling and have created a lasting impact on those players. Therefore, Coach Doyle has been placed on administrative leave immediately while there is an independent review. He and I agree that all parties will have their voices heard and then a decision about how to move forward will be made.”
Doyle has been the strength coach at Iowa since 1999. Last year, he was the highest-paid at his position in the country.
For the second time in a week, Troy has added a Power Five opponent to its future football slates.
Late last month, it was Iowa added to the 2024 schedule. This week, Troy announced a future football game against Missouri. That one-off matchup will take place Nov. 21, 2026.
Obviously, the game will take place at Missouri’s Memorial Stadium.
Troy and Mizzou have played four times previously, the first in 2002 and the most recent this past season. Mizzou won three of those matchups, with the Trojans knocking off a 14th-ranked Tigers squad in 2004 at Troy. All three of the Missouri wins came in Columbia.
The game against Missouri will actually be the second in 2026 for Troy football against an SEC school. Troy had previously announced a home-and-home series with Mississippi State that starts that season. In 2027, the Bulldogs will travel to the Trojans.
Since becoming an FBS program in 2001, Troy has played 25 games against members of the SEC. The Trojans are 3-22 in those matchups. The other two wins came against Mississippi State in 2001 and LSU in 2017.
After winning 10-plus games in three straight seasons from 2016-18, Troy tumbled to a 5-7 record in 2019. That was the Trojans’ first season under Chip Lindsey. Lindsey replaced Neal Brown, who left to take the head job at West Virginia.
For the first time in a couple of a few months, an Ole Miss football player has hit the transfer portal.
In February, it was cornerback Deantre Prince hitting the transfer database. Four months later, former Ole Miss football teammate Charles Wiley has done the same. The Jackson Clarion Ledger was the first to report the move.
Wiley will be leaving the SEC as a graduate transfer. That will allow the linebacker/edge rusher to play immediately in 2020. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.
Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.
NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.
Wiley was a four-star member of the Ole Miss football Class of 2016. The Stockbridge, Ga., native was the No. 23 player regardless of position in the Peach State. He was also the No. 17 weakside defensive end in the country.
Wiley took a redshirt as a true freshman. The next three seasons, he played in a combined 33 games. The 6-2, 244-pound defender started three of those contests, with all three coming in 2018.
All told, Wiley has been credited with 57 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 5½ sacks. He set career-highs in tackles for loss (six) in 2018 and sacks (three) this past season.
A touted member of a Duke football recruiting class a couple of years ago has found a new home. And at a lower rung on the collegiate ladder.
In May, it was confirmed that Tahj Rice took the first step in leaving Duke football by entering the NCAA transfer database. On Twitter this past week, Rice announced that he has committed to Eastern Kentucky. And he’s changing his surname for good measure.
“Thank you Duke for the moments and memories it won’t be forgotten,” the defensive tackle wrote. “I’m excited to say I’ve transferred to @ekusports and I’ve decided to change my last name to Mcclung because it’s LONG [overdue].”
According to his official Duke bio, Rice is the son of Iana and Marcus McClung.
As Eastern Kentucky plays at the FCS level, Rice/McClung will be eligible to play immediately in 2020. He’ll have another seaosn he can use in 2021 as well.
Rice was a four-star member of the Duke football Class of 2018. The Louisville product was rated as the No. 15 strongside defensive end in the country. He was also the No. 3 recruit regardless of position in the state of Kentucky.
Most notably, Rice was the highest-rated signee in the Blue Devils’ class that year. In fact, he was the only four-star signee for Duke that cycle.
Rice played in 24 games the past two seasons. He would’ve played in a 25th, but an appendectomy cost him an appearance in the 2018 Independence Bowl.
During his time with the Blue Devils, he was credited with 16 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks.
Rice is one of at least five Duke football players ( the others are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE) who have left the Blue Devils since the calendar flipped from 2019 to 2020.