2021 Big Sky Awards & All-Conference teams


FARMINGTON, Utah (Nov. 23, 2021) – The Big Sky announced its 2021 Football Players of the Year and All-Conference Teams on Tuesday, as selected by the league’s head football coaches. Eastern Washington’s Eric Barriere headlined the group as he was a unanimous selection for Offensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.

Tuesday’s All-Conference release consisted of a first team, second team, third team and honorable mention selections. Big Sky Champion Sacramento State produced a league-high 16 selections, followed by Montana with 14 overall picks among the All-Conference Teams. Sacramento State, Montana, Montana State and Weber State each tied for the most first-team selections with six apiece. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players in the selection process. 

Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere (3) in 2021/by Jason Bacaj – Skyline Sports

EWU’s Eric Barriere was once again selected as the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player to win the award in back-to-back seasons since fellow Eagle Cooper Kupp achieved the feat in 2015 and 2016. Barriere became the Big Sky’s all-time leader in career passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense this season, as the senior threw for 4,242 yards and 40 touchdowns this year to add to his record totals. Barriere, who was named the preseason favorite to win the award, earns his second career Big Sky Football Offensive Player of the Year honor after winning this past spring. 

Montana State’s Troy Andersen was honored as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first Bobcat to win the award since Brad Daly in 2013. The versatile linebacker is the leader of a stout Bobcat defense that has allowed just 13.2 points per game and a Big Sky-best 280.6 yards of total offense per game. Andersen averages 10.4 tackles per contest, which is tied for seventh in the nation this season. Andersen, who is a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, was an All-Big Sky offense player before making the move to defense in 2019. 

Newcomer of the Year was awarded to Montana’s Justin Ford, who has been a nuisance in the secondary all season long for the Griz. Ford leads the FCS in interceptions, after snagging eight in eight-straight games for Montana. The defensive back also helped the Griz hold foes to just 13.0 points per game, which ranked second in the nation. Ford, who transferred to Montana from the University of Louisville, is the first Griz player since Dalton Sneed in 2018 to win Newcomer of the Year. 

Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen (15) tackles San Diego wide receiver Vance Jefferson (87) in 2021/by Brooks Nuanez

NAU’s RJ Martinez was selected as the league’s Freshman of the Year, as the Lumberjack quarterback capped a successful first year in Flagstaff. Martinez made his first appearance for NAU in its upset at Pac-12 foe Arizona and played a total of eight games for the Lumberjacks in 2021. Martinez threw for 1,713 yards and 14 touchdowns, while rushing for nearly 200 yards and five scores on the ground. Martinez is NAU’s first Freshman of the Year since Case Cookus won the award in 2015. 

The league’s Big Sky Football Coach of the Year award will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Five Big Sky teams will continue play in 2021, as a league-record was selected for the 2021 FCS Playoffs. Eastern Washington and UC Davis will be in action this Saturday, while national seeds Sacramento State, Montana and Montana State await their opponents in the second round that starts next weekend. 

Follow all things #BigSkyFB on Twitter and Instagram at @BigSkyFB. Follow the Big Sky Conference (@BigSkyConf) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok for all the latest news around the league and use the hashtag #ExperienceElevated. 

2021 Big Sky Football Individual Award Winners
Offensive Player of the Year:
 Eric Barriere*, QB, EWU
Defensive Player of the Year: Troy Andersen, LB, MSU
Newcomer of the Year: Justin Ford, DB, Montana
Freshman of the Year: RJ Martinez, QB, NAU

* – Unanimous selection 

First Team All-Big Sky Offense
 Eric Barriere*, EWU
RB: Isaiah Ifanse*, MSU; Ulonzo Gilliam, UC Davis
FB: Logan Kendall*, Idaho 
WR: Talolo Limu-Jones, EWU; Lance McCutcheon, MSU; Pierre Williams, Sac State
TE: Marshel Martin, Sac State
OL: Lewis Kidd*, MSU; Braxton Jones, SUU; Tristen Taylor, EWU; Thomas Parker, Sac State; Noah Atagi, Weber State; Jake Parks, UC Davis

First Team All-Big Sky Defense 
 Jared Schiess, Weber State; Chase Benson, MSU
DE: Daniel Hardy, MSU; Josiah Erickson, Sac State
OLB: Patrick O’Connell, Montana; Conner Mortensen, Weber State
MLB: Troy Andersen, MSU; Tre Walker, Idaho
DB: Justin Ford, Montana; Eddie Heckard, Weber State; Robby Hauck, Montana; Anthony Adams, Portland State; Jordan Perryman, UC Davis

First Team All-Big Sky Special Teams
Kyle Sentkowski, Sac State
P: Brian Buschini, Montana
KR: Rashid Shaheed*, Weber State; Malik Flowers*, Montana
PR: Rashid Shaheed, Weber State
ST: Trevin Gradney – Montana
AP: Asher O’Hara*, Sac State

Second Team All-Big Sky Offense
Davis Alexander, Portland State
RB: Kevin Daniels, NAU; Dennis Merritt, EWU
FB: Ryan Rivera, Cal Poly
WR: Andrew Boston, EWU; Beau Kelly, Portland State; Tanner Conner, Idaho State; Rashid Shaheed, Weber State
TE: McCallan Castles, UC Davis
OL: Connor Pettek, UC Davis; Kooper Richardson, Sac State; Grant Stephens, UNC; Taylor Tuiasosopo, MSU; Brandon Weldon, Sac State; Conlan Beaver, Montana

Second Team All-Big Sky Defense 
 Alex Gubner, Montana; Bryce Rodgers, UC Davis
DE: George Tarlas, Weber State; VJ Malo, Portland State
OLB: David Hoage, UNC; La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis, SUU; Marte Mapu, Sac State; Callahan O’Reilley, MSU
MLB: Jace Lewis, Montana; Marcus Hawkins, Sac State
DB: Greg Filer III, Sac State; Ty Okada, MSU; Preston Smith, Weber State; Morgan Vest, NAU; Jaylin White, UC Davis

Second Team All-Big Sky Special Teams
Isaiah Gomez, UC Davis
P: Daniel Whelan, UC Davis
KR: Lan Larison, UC Davis
PR: Isaiah Thomas, UC Davis
AP: Trent Tompkins, UC Davis

Third Team All-Big Sky Offense
 Jake Dunniway, Sac State
RB: Cameron Skattebo, Sac State; Roshaun Johnson, Idaho
WR: Efton Chism III, EWU; Freddie Roberson, EWU; Terez Traynor, Idaho
TE: Hayden Meacham, Weber State
OL: Hunter Mayginnes, Montana; Logan Floyd, Idaho; Jonas Leader, NAU; Wyatt Musser, EWU; Terren Carey, Idaho State

Third Team All-Big Sky Defense
 Josh Jerome, EWU; Myles Cecil, Cal Poly
DE: Mitchell Johnson, EWU; Francis Bemiy, SUU; Charles Akanno, Idaho
MLB: Matt Shotwell, Cal Poly; Jack Sendelbach, EWU
DB: Calin Criner, EWU; Jerone Jackson, UNC; Kobe Singleton, SUU; Tre Webb, MSU; Malik Jeter, Sac State

Third Team All-Big Sky Special Teams
Blake Glessner, MSU
P: Sam Clark, Sac State

Big Sky Honorable Mention Team
Kassidy Woods, UNC; Mitch Roberts, Montana; Nate Bennett, Portland State; Coleman Owen, NAU; Hendrix Johnson, NAU
TE: Cole Grossman, Montana; Jared Scott, Idaho State
DT: Semise Kofe, Portland State; Noah Ellis, Idaho; Doug Schiess, Weber State; Jett Stanley, Sac State
DE: Carson Taylor, NAU; Joe Babros, Montana; Elijah Ponder, Cal Poly; Joe Golden, UNC; Justin Belknap, Montana; Amandre Williams, MSU
MLB: Sherwin Lavaka, Weber State; Jace Bobo, UNC; Ty Graham, EWU; Tristen Vance, NAU; Harrison Beemiller, NAU
DB: Marque Collins, Weber State; Jeffrey Manning Jr., MSU; Jayden Dawson, Idaho State; Tyrese Dedmon, Idaho
P: Kevin Ryan, Idaho State; DJ Arnson, NAU

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