Fresno State Football receives 9 All-MW pre-season picks in annual Phil Steele Magazine

Fresno State linebacker Justin Rice recovers and scores a touchdown during a home victory against the University of Nevada Las Vegas at Bulldog Stadium on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Larry Valenzuela/The Collegian)

The Phil Steele Magazine has released its annual FBS all-conference team projections, and this year nine Bulldogs landed selections on its 2020 preseason All-Mountain West (MW) team.

Three of the five returning players from the 2019 All-MW team are first and second-team preseason selections in 2020.

Senior linebacker Justin Rice was the only player from Fresno State to have a first-team selection. Rice was also selected for the 2020 Bednarik Award watch list.

Rice is entering his final season with a career total of 125 tackles, 73 solo tackles, 3 sacks and four forced fumbles. 

Last year, Rice began his first full year on defense and was selected as a first-team All-MW linebacker. He also led the Bulldogs’ in tackles, was third in the MW for tackles, tied for fourth in the NCAA with four forced fumbles and ranked No. 5 in forced fumbles per game. 

Four Bulldogs’ seniors landed on Phil Steele’s second-team list. Those four were offensive tackle Syrus Tuitele, running back Ronnie Rivers, defensive tackle Kevin Atkins and linebacker Arron Mosby. 

The Fresno State third-team selections were exclusive to its special team unit, as Rivers landed on the list for the second time as a punt returner. Rivers was joined alongside senior long snapper Jacob Westberry.

The fourth team selections for the Bulldogs featured both redshirt senior defensive end Kwami Jones and sophomore defensive tackle Leonard Payne Jr.

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