COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Several Mountain West football players have earned national honors after impressive Week 3 showings.
Fresno State cornerback Carlton Johnson earned a pair of honors from the National College Football Awards association (NCFAA) Tuesday, claiming Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe National Defensive Player of the Week honors. Johnson matched the Fresno State and MW records with three interceptions and added three tackles in the Bulldogs’ 29-0 shutout win at Arizona State on Saturday. It was the first shutout victory for the Bulldogs over an Autonomous 5 program since 1986. The win pushed Fresno State’s winning streak to 12 games, second in the FBS only to Georgia’s current 20-game run.
Johnson’s recognition this week officially adds him to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the top defensive player in college football. The Moreno Valley, California, native is also added to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, recognizing the nation’s top defensive back. He was not on either preseason watch list this year.
Colorado State’s Tory Horton claimed a trio of honors after making 16 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown and throwing for a 30-yard TD in the Rams’ 43-35 double-overtime setback at No. 21/18 Colorado. Horton earned a spot on the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for his efforts and was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the Senior Bowl and the Offensive Breakout Player of the Week by the Shrine Bowl. The Hornung Award honors the most versatile player in the FBS.
Joining Horton on the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll this week is UNLV wide receiver/return specialist Jacob De Jesus. De Jesus had three catches for 62 yards and a score, rushed once for 2 yards, returned one punt for 22 yards and returned four kickoffs for 101 yards as the Rebels downed Vanderbilt 40-37.
UNLV placekicker Jose Pizano was named one of three Lou Groza National Collegiate Place Kicker Award Stars of the Week. The senior matched the school record for kicking points with 16 in the contest, hitting 4-of-5 field goals, including the game-winner from 36 yards with 5 seconds left. Pizano, who was also 4-for-4 on PATs, also connected on field goals of 31, 34 and 27 yards on the day.
Boise State wide receiver Eric McAlister earned Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week honorable mention. McAlister had six catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 42-18 win over North Dakota. The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community, and tenacity; specifically tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals. In addition, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas High School and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four year D1 Texas college.
Carlton Johnson, Sr., CB, Fresno State
Bronko Nagurski Trophy Player of the Week
Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week
Tory Horton, Sr., WR/RS, Colorado State
Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll
Senior Bowl Co-Offensive Player of the Week
Shrine Bowl Offensive Breakout Player of the Week
Jacob De Jesus, Jr., WR/RS, UNLV
Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll
Jose Pizano, Sr., PK, UNLV
Lou Groza National Collegiate Place Kicker Award Star of the Week
Eric McAlister, So., WR, Boise State
Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week (honorable mention)