2018 Mountain West Football Top 50 Players: Honorable Mentions
Here is the list of Mountain West football players that got some love from our staff but did not make our top 50.
Who couldn’t make the cut in 2018?
It’s never easy to make our top 50, and a total of 35 Mountain West athletes didn’t receive enough support to do so in 2018. This doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t worthy of a nod, so we present to you some notable names from this group, followed by the entire list.
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Tyrone Owens, RB, New Mexico
After ascending to the top 20 in last year’s list, the Lobos’ lead runner wasn’t quite as explosive as he’d been in 2016 and didn’t get quite as much love from our staff. He did manage to earn 5.5 yards per carry and score four touchdowns on 143 rushing attempts, but a lot more will be expected of the senior as UNM hopes to remain competitive in the Mountain division.
Ron’quavion Tarver, WR, Utah State
The senior receiver was once again the Aggies’ most productive pass-catcher but aside from increasing his touchdown haul from three to seven, most of his numbers stalled; like Owens, Tarver also fell out of the top 50. His yards per catch dipped from 13.1 to 11.9 and his catch rate fell from 64.8% to 57.8%, but improved quarterback play should be able to help Tarver crack 1,000 yards for the first time.
Zach Wallace, OT, Wyoming
Another of last year’s top 50 entrants to miss the cut, the steady Wallace proved a stabilizing presence on a unit that was often plagued by injury in 2017. The three-year starter has 37 starts under his belt, but he’ll have to help improve an attack that, among other metrics, ranked last in the Mountain West in yards per carry and 116th nationally in Success Rate.
Asotui Eli, OL, Hawaii
The versatile Eli is another three-year offensive line starter who helped propel former Warriors running back Diocemy Saint Juste to the school’s single-season rushing record. With 36 starts at both center and guard, the senior will be a critical component of a retooled run-and-shoot offense.
Bryson Bridges, DE, San Jose State
Last year often wasn’t pretty for the Spartans defender, but the senior Bridges quietly racked up 31 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. If he can get back to being as disruptive as he was in 2016 (5.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles), that would go a long way toward helping SJSU improve its 128th-ranked defensive line Havoc Rate (percentage of plays with TFL, forced fumble or pass defense).
Netane Muti, OL, Fresno State
The road-grading Muti had a dramatic impact on a much-improved Bulldogs offense, starting 14 games at left guard as part of a line that allowed just ten sacks and ranked sixth nationally in Stuff Rate (percentage of runs stopped at or behind the line). He’ll move to tackle and protect Marcus McMaryion’s blind side in 2018, so pass rushers beware.
Asauni Rufus, S, Nevada
Rufus’s 2017 season was cut short by injury, which might help to explain why the senior failed to make this year’s top 50. In nine starts last year, he collected 5.5 tackles for loss and forced three fumbles, so a clean bill of health should enable him to be a key component of a veteran-laden Wolf Pack secondary.
The Complete List
Air Force — Arion Worthman; Boise State — Tyson Maeva; Colorado State — Rashaad Boddie, K.J. Carta-Samuels, Ryan Stonehouse; Fresno State — Mike Bell, George Helmuth, Netane Muti; Hawaii — Asotui Eli, Solomon Matautia; Nevada — Sean Krepsz, Asauni Rufus; New Mexico — Jay Griffin IV, Emmanuel Joseph, Tyrone Owens, Tevaka Tuioti; San Diego State — John Baron II, Noble Hall, Fred Trevillion, Kahale Warring; San Jose State — Bryson Bridges, Tyler Nevens, Jamal Scott; UNLV — Nathan Jacobson, Charles Williams; Utah State — Roman Andrus, Dominik Eberle, Gaje Ferguson, Ja’Marcus Ingram, Jordan Love, Ron’quavion Tarver, Christopher ‘Unga; Wyoming — Kevin Prosser, Zach Wallace, Trey Woods