a major over turn following the 2018 season, the Fresno State Bulldogs continue
to rack up preseason honors as they were once again picked to finish first in
the West Division on Tuesday at the 2019 Mountain West football media days held
in Las Vegas.
The Bulldogs earned 17
first-place votes in the West Division poll, earning 122 total points. The three-time MW champion Bulldogs look to earn a trip
back to the MW title game and earn back-to-back championships.
selection marks the fourth time—and second in as many years—the ‘Dogs have
received a division-leading bid in the preseason media polls dating back to the
inception of division play in 2013. The ‘Dogs have prevailed and won the West
in every season they were chosen as first-place picks (2013, 2014 and 2018).
For what it’s worth, the Boise State Broncos were selected to finish atop the Mountain Division for the sixth consecutive season, receiving 15 first-place votes and 120 points total.
All eyes on the ‘Dogs
with the first-place finish, the Bulldog senior trio of tight end Jared Rice, linebacker Mykal Walker and defensive back Juju Hughes continue to obtain preseason
accolades, securing spots on the preseason all-conference team.
Rice, Walker and Hughes are three of four
Bulldog holdovers from 2018 to be selected to either the All-MW first or second
team a season ago, the fourth being senior punter Blake Cusick.
came a day after Walker was announced as one of 51 candidates for the Butkus
Award, given to the nation’s best linebacker, and after Hughes was named to the
2019 Jim Thorpe Award watch list, for the nation’s top defensive back, along
with Bulldogs’ defensive back Jaron Bryant.
Hughes and Bryant are one of eight defensive back duos in the
nation to be selected by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to represent their
respective teams on the Thorpe watch list.
For Bryant, this is the first preseason award list he has
been named to following an All-MW honorable mention selection in 2018, after
logging 12 pass defenses and one interception to go along with his 50 recorded
tackles (43 solo).
Bryant also became the first player
in NCAA history to return two blocked field goals for touchdowns in the same
quarter during the Bulldogs’ season opener, earning him an MW special teams
player of the week selection for Sept. 3.