Mountain West Football: Key Newcomers Atop Each Week 3 Depth Chart
Ten Mountain West teams will play in Week 3. We identify new names atop each depth chart who could be important.
Which unfamiliar names are worth following?
Air Force — Caleb Rillos, TE
Kyle Patterson was our staff’s preseason pick to be the top tight end in the Mountain West this year and while he’s been as good as ever while on the field (88.3 overall PFF grade, first in conference), he’s also split reps and starts with the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Golden, Colorado native through two games. Rillos has mostly held his own in the early going, sporting a 60.2 run-blocking grade for the Falcons, so it’ll be interesting to see if the 50-50 timeshare holds over the next few weeks.
Wyoming — Wyatt Ekeler, S
One small change that’s been made to the most recent Cowboys depth chart is that Ekeler, the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers star Austin Ekeler, is no longer tied to Miles Williams with an “or”. He’s played well through the team’s first three games, compiling 17 total tackles, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble, and they’ll need those fundamentals with the Air Force Falcons coming to Laramie on Friday night.
Boise State — Billy Bowens, WR
The time is now for Broncos pass catchers to step up and help Hank Bachmeier re-establish himself, but the results through two games have been decidedly mixed. Bowens, a redshirt senior, exemplifies that better than most: He led the team with ten targets last Friday but only had three catches for 50 yards, 41 of which came on one play. If he can step up and have another good game against UT Martin, it’ll make Boise State’s passing game that much more dangerous going forward.
Colorado State — Ches Jackson, OT
With the news that offensive tackle Brian Crespo-Jaquez will miss the rest of the year because of injury, the Rams are already undergoing some shuffling on the offensive line. Jackson, at least, is a veteran with a half-dozen career starts under his belt but the starting job isn’t necessarily a given. As Kelly Lytle of the Coloradoan noted, current starting center Jacob Gardner protected Carson Strong’s blindside for two years at Nevada, as well.
Nevada — Matt Freem, P
The Wolf Pack weren’t the only team in the Mountain West replacing a very good punter coming into 2022, but the dropoff from Julian Diaz to Freem hasn’t been too steep in the early going. In three games, he’s averaged a respectable 42.31 yards on 16 total punts, though Nevada may need a big game from him in order to win a potential slugfest against Iowa this weekend.