San Diego State Football: Jordan Byrd is MWwire’s 2022 Special Teams Player of the Year
The Aztecs star returner made good on our staff’s preseason and won a razor-thin vote as Mountain West football’s top specialist.
Continuing to make his explosive mark.
Mountain West Wire’s 2022 postseason honors:
All-Conference Teams | Offensive Player of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year | Special Teams Player of the Year | Freshman of the Year | Newcomer of the Year | Breakout Player of the Year | Coach of the Year | Coordinator of the Year
Mountain West football was as flush as ever with top-notch specialists of all kinds in 2022, but San Diego State’s just edged out his competition — by a margin of just one point, no less — to claim our staff’s bid as postseason special teams player of the year.
That’s because he continued to excel as a punt and a kick returner this fall. Byrd finished the season as the only player in the Mountain West with a touchdown on a punt return and a kick return, ultimately averaging 6.8 yards per return on the former and 25.6 yards per return on the latter.
Aztecs' Jordan Byrd thankful for opportunity to leave a 'legacy' https://t.co/mhoJRi6mie
— The San Diego Union-Tribune (@sdut) November 17, 2022
San Diego State RB Jordan Byrd reflects on his career at San Diego State: pic.twitter.com/m13CiU4urU
— 97.3 The Fan (@973TheFanSD) November 15, 2022
Jack Browning, P/K, San Diego State; Daniel Gutierrez, K, UNLV (35 votes)
Both Browning and Gutierrez ended up just one point shy of the top honor, but both had strong seasons thanks to their reliable legs.
Browning proved himself a worthy successor to Matt Araiza, leading the Mountain West with an average of 46.1 yards per punt that was nearly two full years better than the second-best average. He also landed 28 of his 64 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line and helped the Aztecs rank sixth among FBS teams with a net average of 42.7 YPP, and that doesn’t even get into his contributions as a kicker, for which he pulled double duty and connected on 17-of-21 field goal tries.
Gutierrez, meanwhile, rewrote the Rebel record books by remaining as steady as ever. He made 17 consecutive field goals during one stretch of the 2022 season, and his 18-of-19 performance on field goal kicks not only made him one of just 15 FBS kickers to clear 90%, that helped him set more records for career field goals (55), career points (280), and career field goal percentage (85.2%) at UNLV.
Also received votes: 21 points — John Hoyland, K, Wyoming | 14 points — Jonah Dalmas, K, Boise State | 12 points — Aaron Rodriguez, P, New Mexico | 5 points — Matthew Shipley, P/K, Hawaii | 4 points — Terrell Vaughn, KR, Utah State | 2 points — Clayton Stewart, P, Wyoming | 1 point — Matthew Dapore, K, Air Force