Just Three Falcons Get Recognized
2 x All-Conference Performer Jordan Jackson Omitted
In case you missed it, our very own MWwire recently released their 2021 Preseason All-Mountain West Conference football team selections. The process by which players were chosen was by voting polls submitted by the staff of contributors.
While I have a lot of respect for my dearest cohorts of the MWwire, I am feeling compelled to do wellness checks on them as I look at these ludicrous voting results. Air Force always endures plenty of turnover, but the cupboards are far from bare. Just ask New Mexico and Utah State, both of whom the Falcons beat the breaks off of last year by a combined 63-7.
Why do I bring this up you ask? Because according to my fellow staffers, both of these teams are going to have more All-Conference performers than Air Force. This type of suggestion isn’t just flawed, its downright reckless. The disrespect levied to Air Force was so bad, they were last in All-Conference nominees, with three. That is even less than UNLV!
Perhaps Jeff Monken somehow leveraged resources out there at West Point, and infiltrated the MWwire from within? That would be the only reasonable explanation such blasphemy and errant judgement took place. At this point, we may never now how such malfeasance took place, but it doesn’t mean we do not have an obligation to address these fallacies.
Number of honors by team (it goes four deep)
Air Force – 3
Boise State – 22
Colorado State – 10
Fresno State – 8
Hawaii – 6
Nevada – 13
New Mexico – 5
San Diego State – 11
San Jose State – 13
UNLV – 4
Utah State – 8
Wyoming – 13https://t.co/UemKGASUjb
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) July 14, 2021
GOT IT RIGHT
At least Demonte Meeks, Tre Bugg III and Kyle Patterson got some respect from the contingent of voters. Despite the fact that Meeks may very well be the best linebacker in the G5, he landed on the second team defense. Both Patterson and Bugg III were fourth team nominees.
All jest aside, there are some fantastic linebackers in the MWC, and seeing Chad Muma and Justin Rice (again) tabbed as first team nominees is no slight to anyone, that includes Meeks. Similarly, tight end is, and has been a position of strength in the conference, so it was great to see Kyle Patterson grabbing attention outside of Colorado Spring.
If you haven’t listened to the MWwire’s recently released Air Force season preview podcast, skip to the next paragraph if your avoiding spoilers. Otherwise, its worth noting our good friends Jeremy Mauss and Matthew Kenerly suggested that Tre Bugg III could end up being the best cornerback in the conference. In the immortal words of Mills Lane, “I’ll allow it”.
Every year there are players that emerge out of nowhere to have an impact and land on the All-Conference team. That is not what we are talking about here. Defensive lineman, Jordan Jackson has previously been a multiple time All-Conference selection for his outstanding play. Yet somehow, he didn’t even manage to get recognized on any of the four teams?
While running back is a loaded position group in the MWC, Brad Roberts warrants consideration. He was used primarily at fullback last season, and despite running through the heart of a defense, he led the conference in rush yards per game (115) and was second in yards per carry (7.2). Roberts will inevitably correct this mistake when he finishes the season as an All-Conference standout.
No shortcuts. Work for it.
— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) June 16, 2021
The last name that appeared an oversight is Corvan Taylor. If you look at the returning talent pool of safeties in the conference, it’s tough to make a case for eight other players above Taylor. In just five games last year, Taylor had two interceptions and averaged 6.6 tackles per game. Keeping in mind, two of the five games he played in were against Army and Navy, two teams that rarely throw the ball. One of the most balanced safeties in the conference, Corvan Taylor may be primed for a very big season.
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF….
Beyond what could be deemed fairly obvious oversights from the list which were previously mentioned, there are a few other players one could argue should also be considered.
The first place to look would be offensive line. I know, I know, they are replacing all five starters. I get it. But rest assured, someone from the Air Force offensive line will earn All-Conference honors in 2021. They churn out top performers like a factory, so don’t be surprised when Ryan Booth, Hawk Wimmer, Kris Campbell or one of the other players vying for a spot surface.
Lakota Wills is another player who has been a solid contributor for a few seasons now (last years turnback not withstanding). When healthy, his play hasn’t been far off from that of the kind of talent that get All-Conference honors. Look for Wills to make the most of his final year at Colorado Springs.
There are a handful of other players who could land on the All-Conference Team should things break right for the Falcons this year. Here are a few names with short “if” scenarios that could make it happen;
Brandon Lewis (WR/SB)- if he gets enough touches
Haaziq Daniels (QB)- if he stays healthy and the pass game progresses (circa 2019)
James Jones IV (DB)- if he can provide turnovers to complement solid tackling
While its been fun critiquing the list of preseason All-Conference players that was recently released, the reality is its an inexact science. Air Force in particular is a difficult team to assess their players chances for awards and recognition, especially because of their playing style and philosophy. Conventional statistics aren’t always going to tell the story of just how productive any given player has been for the Falcons.
Regardless of any of that, Air Force still manages to routinely turn out All-Conference performers, and 2021 will be no different. The question is, how many will they have? Here’s a hint, you just read about a few of them.