Although the 2020 season is still up in the air, Athlon Sports released its preseason picks for the 2020 All-Mountain West (MW) team, which includes seven Fresno State Bulldog seniors. Last year’s All-MW picks Kevin Atkins, Ronnie Rivers and Justice Rice were once again picked to repeat as selections.
Rice is predicted to finish with First-Team All-MW honors, a feat he achieved last year after a stellar 2019 season. He led Fresno State with 112 total tackles (65 solo, 47 assisted), racked up 9.3 tackles per game and 5.4 solo tackles per game, all of which were good enough for third, fourth and second in the MW, respectively.
His work on defense made a mark on the national level, as he was one of 12 players in FBS to record at least four fumbles, one of 25 players to cause at least six turnovers and the only player in the nation to have four forced fumbles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Also predicted to repeat his success from last season, Rivers was projected as a Second-Team All-MW selection and Third-Team Specialist for punt returning.
Last season was a breakout season for Rivers, rushing for 899 yards on 177 attempts and gaining 1,367 all purpose yards, as well as leading the MW with 16 total touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns.
During MW play, Rivers scored at least one touchdown in every conference game last season. He also had four 100-yard rushing games against Colorado State, Hawai’i, Utah State and San Jose State, the last of which he rushed for a season high 177 yards.
Joining Rivers on the second-team is offensive lineman Syrus Tuitele. The 6-foot-6, 300 pound senior appeared in eight games, and started all eight games at right tackle, but failed to finish the season due to injury.
While on the field, Tuitele was part of an offensive line that helped rush for 2,162 yards, pass for 2,720 yards and only allow two sacks all season in 2019.
Defensive lineman Atkins and linebacker Arron Mosby were chosen as Third-Team All-MW selections, both of which are coming off decent 2019 campaigns.
Atkins received a nod at MW Honorable Mention in 2019, leading the Bulldog defensive line with 31 total tackles and earning a team-high five sacks. He also ranked third on the team with a total of seven tackles for loss (TFL).
Mosby appeared in all 12 games for the Bulldogs in 2019, racking up a career high 78 tackles (40 solo, 38 assisted), which was good enough for fourth on the team. He also added three forced fumbles and 5.5 TFL.
Lineman Matt Smith, who is coming off a season where he started the first eight games before suffering a season-ending injury, was a fourth-team offensive selection.
Defensive end Kwami Jones, who earned a total of 11 tackles, 2.5 TFL and one sack after appearing in four games, was a fourth-team defensive selection.
If the 2020 football season does take place, the Bulldogs’ first game will be on Sept. 5 at home against Idaho State.