Mountain West Football: One Month In, 12 Players We Should Be Talking More About

Mountain West Football: One Month In, 12 Players We Should Be Talking More About

Air Force

Mountain West Football: One Month In, 12 Players We Should Be Talking More About



Linebacker Daiyan Henley

Henley has been one of the most active defenders anywhere in the conference during this young season and the Wolf Pack must be glad that Lawson Hall has a partner at linebacker who can help clean up near the line of scrimmage. Only Boise State’s JL Skinner and Utah State’s Justin Rice have averaged more tackles per game than Henley, and he’s added a pair of pass breakups for good measure.

New Mexico

Defensive end Joey Noble

The Lobos are still a work in progress, but the senior defensive end is one of Rocky Long’s undeniable success stories. Noble led UNM in both sacks and tackles for loss during the truncated 2020 season and has quietly picked up where he left off in this young campaign, having already surpassed last year’s production with six tackles for loss and two sacks in four games so far.

San Diego State

Offensive tackle Zachary Thomas

Perhaps the most underappreciated offensive lineman anywhere in the Mountain West, Thomas has made good on preseason expectations as an all-conference player. Through four weeks, he’s the lone lineman in the Mountain West to be named to Pro Football Focus’s team of the week and has been key to a resurgent running game that’s nearly a full yard per play better than it was in 2020.

San Jose State

Punter Will Hart

2021 hasn’t exactly gone as planned for the Spartans, but Hart has done some major heavy lifting to rectify what had been a lingering years-long weakness. He’s averaged 44.73 yards per punt through four games, which would be the team’s best such figure since 2015 and explains why San Jose State ranks 33rd in net punting after finishing 120th and 117th in 2019 and 2020, respectively.


Kicker Daniel Gutierrez

Gutierrez has kicked for the Rebels since 2017, but it wasn’t until fall camp earlier this year that he finally earned a scholarship and he’s spent the past month making that decision look wildly overdue. Through four games, he’s 7-of-7 on field goal tries, including three successes from 40 yards or more, which makes him one of just six FBS kickers to be perfect on that many attempts so far.

Utah State

Running back Calvin Tyler Jr.

The Aggies have looked revitalized on offense so far in 2021, but perhaps no one has made a bigger difference in that reformation than the transfer from Oregon State. In four games, he’s already accounted for nearly all of the production that Jaylen Warren and Devonta’e Henry-Cole provided on the ground in 2020 with 414 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 67 attempts, including four runs of 20 or more yards.


Defensive lineman Victor Jones

On a deep and talented defensive line, no Cowboy has gotten off to a faster start than Jones, who returned to the team over the summer after an indefinite suspension which limited him to three games in 2020. September has essentially been a career-best stretch for the senior from Sacramento as he’s paced the Pokes with 3.5 sacks, giving opposing offenses one more impact player to prepare for.


More MWWire