Mountain West Football: Post-Spring Practice Overall Rankings
After breaking each Mountain West football team by position, which ones are in the best shape overall with spring practices in the books?
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A snapshot of where everyone stands before the fall.
Positional Depth Rankings
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver/Tight end | Offensive line | Defensive line | Linebacker | Cornerback/Safety | Kicker/Punter
Position depth ranking: QB: 10 | RB: 8 | WR/TE: 12 | OL: 9 | DL: 11 | LB: 11 | CB/S: 12 | K/P: 6
What the ranking means: More so than other teams in the Mountain West who suffered a lot of early defections to the transfer portal, graduation, and the pros, the Warriors still probably have more questions on both sides of the ball. Unknowns aren’t the same as being bad, however, an important distinction to remember going into fall.
Why the ranking could be deceptive: The Warriors have a track record over the past 20 or so years of engineering faster-than-expected turnarounds and have interesting talents on offense (Brayden Schager, Dedrick Parson, Zion Bowens) that make it easy to envision this team as next year’s “thorn in the side”.
The biggest question heading into fall: After losing a ton of defensive talents like Darius Muasau, Cortez Davis, and Khoury Bethley, who will pick up the mantle for a unit that’s had a capacity to surprise over the last few seasons?
A reason for optimism: Even if the defense takes a while to find its footing, Ian Shoemaker’s offense seems like it’s coming along nicely and Schager, who looked more comfortable week after week stepping in for an injured Chevan Cordeiro last season, might be the quarterback of the future and the present at this point.
A name worth remembering: Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala, WR
Position depth ranking: QB: 11 | RB: 6 | WR/TE: 10 | OL: 12 | DL: 10 | LB: 12 | CB/S: 10 | K/P: 7
What the ranking means: Like Hawaii, Nevada is still picking up the pieces from its early off-season fallout, but the Wolf Pack may be slightly ahead of the curve since at least a couple of units (running back, defensive backfield) return a good chunk of last year’s production.
Why the ranking could be deceptive: Nevada hasn’t hit the same peaks as other teams in the conference recently, but they also haven’t truly cratered since going 2-10 in 2000. Even with so many new contributors in the fold, a lack of familiarity isn’t the same thing as a lack of talent and the program’s track record suggests January’s dire straits could be an afterthought by August.
The biggest question heading into fall: Now that Shane Illingworth is in the mix, how will the quarterback competition between he and Nate Cox unfold when fall camp arrives?
A reason for optimism: If Ken Wilson’s goal is to make the Wolf Pack offense more balanced, he may be flush with options behind the established duo of Toa Taua and Devonte Lee to make that happen. Wesley Kommer was a spring game standout while Cross Patton also received a lot of praise for his work throughout the spring.
A name worth remembering: Breylon Garcia, DL
10. New Mexico
Position depth ranking: QB: 12 | RB: 10 | WR/TE: 9 | OL: 11 | DL: 8 | LB: 9 | CB/S: 6 | K/P: 11
What the ranking means: Things aren’t as bleak in Albuquerque as you might think. The defense is pesky and the offense was extremely young, so given more time to grow together, it isn’t inconceivable that they’re back in a bowl game in the next two years.
Why the ranking could be deceptive: If New Mexico can solve their quarterback woes once and for all, they could sneak up on one or two more unsuspecting foes next season. Don’t believe me? Just ask Craig Bohl.
The biggest question heading into fall: After Terry Wilson’s injury left the offense in disarray last year, who will step up and solidify their hold on the QB1 job?
A reason for optimism: Beyond the likely regression to the mean on offense, replacing Joey Noble’s production on defense will be tough but not impossible, especially if the linebackers and secondary can make it tougher for opponents to throw.
A name worth remembering: Trace Bruckler, TE