The team was selected by the league’s coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their student-athletes. Then, the votes were compiled by the league office.
Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp is this year’s Offensive Player of the Year, and is also a first-team wide receiver. A three-time first-team receiver in the Big Sky, Kupp was a consensus selection to this season’s first-team. He led the FCS in five categories – receptions (114), receptions per game (10.4), reception yards (1,642), reception yards per game (149.3) and touchdown receptions (19). Kupp also has set eight Big Sky records in his career.
Kupp is one of two wide receivers to win the Offensive Player of the Year award, with the other being Idaho’s Eric Yarber in 1985. Kupp is considered to be a strong candidate for the STATS National Offensive Player of the Year award.
Southern Utah defensive end James Cowser is the recipient of this season’s Defensive Player of the Year award, in part due to his role leading the Big Sky’s top defense. Cowser, who is a two-time all-Big Sky first-team player, finished the season with 11 sacks and 17 tackles-for-loss. In the process of posting those statistics, Cowser set the FCS all-time record in both categories, as well as besting the Big Sky records posted by Idaho State’s Jared Allen.
Cowser is a candidate for National Defensive Player of the Year.
For the first time ever in the history of the Freshman of the Year award, the league’s coaches unanimously voted for two players to win the award- Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus and North Dakota running back John Santiago.
Cookus finished the season by throwing for 3,110 yards and 37 touchdowns, and led the nation for most the season in passer efficiency. Cookus also received the league’s first-team all-Big Sky honors at quarterback, as he kept Northern Arizona in the playoff hunt until the final week of the season.
Santiago led all FCS freshman running backs and the Big Sky Conference with 1,459 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, while also leading all FCS rookies with a UND regular-season record of 2,159 all-purpose yards (1,459 rush, 81 receiving, 38 punt return, 581 kick return).
He became the first true freshman to lead the Big Sky in rushing in the 53-year history of the league and burst onto the national scene with an FCS-leading nine 100-yard rushing games in 2015, including surpassing that total in all eight of his league games.
Santiago was voted a consensus all-Big Sky first-team running back, to add to his list of accomplishments in the 2015 season.
Both Cookus and Santiago are candidates for the National Freshman of the Year award.
Portland State quarterback Alex Kuresa won the league’s Newcomer of the Year award, and his victory symbolizes the effort of a Portland State team that barged its way into the league’s upper echelon, as the Vikings finished the regular season with a 9-2 record.
Other individual notables on the all-conference list include Northern Colorado earning two special teams honors, as Hakeem Deggs was named first-team all-Big Sky special teams player of the year, and Ellis Onic II was named first-team all-Big Sky return specialist.
Southern Utah safety Miles Killebrew earned all-Big Sky honors at multiple positions, being named a first-team safety and a second-team special teams players.
Montana State guard JP Flynn earning his third all-Big Sky selection, placing on the third team.
Overall, Northern Arizona led all teams by placing five players on the first team, followed by Southern Utah and Montana placing four players on the first team.
Southern Utah and Montana led all teams with 12 players selected for all-Big Sky honors, with North Dakota and Portland State adding 11 players to the mix.
*Indicates unanimous selection
ST or STP-Special teams player (Non-kicker/punt)
|First Team All-Conference|
|Cooper Kupp*||Eastern Washington||Jr.||WR||Yakima, Wash.|
|Emmanuel Butler||Northern Arizona||So.||WR||Phoenix, Ariz.|
|Jamaal Jones||Montana||Sr.||WR||Spanaway, Wash.|
|Clay DeBord||Eastern Washington||Sr.||OT||Asotin, Wash.|
|John Weidenaar||Montana State||Sr.||OT||Manhattan, Mont.|
|Sean Meehan||North Dakota||Sr.||OG||Trevor, Wis.|
|Aaron Neary||Eastern Washington||Sr.||OG||Richland, Wash.|
|Joe Hawkins||Weber State||Sr.||C||Vero Beach, Fla.|
|Beau Sandland||Montana State||Sr.||TE||Simi Valley, Calif.|
|Case Cookus||Northern Arizona||Fr.||QB||Thousand Oaks, Calif.|
|John Santiago*||North Dakota||Fr.||RB||St. Francis, Minn.|
|Casey Jahn||Northern Arizona||Sr.||RB||Peoria, Ariz.|
|Joe Protheroe||Cal Poly||So.||FB||Concord, Calif.|
|Ryan Hawkins||Northern Arizona||Sr.||PK||Peoria, Ariz.|
|Hakeen Deggs||Northern Colorado||RSo.||ST||Plaquemine, La.|
|Ellis Onic II||Northern Colorado||RSo.||RS||Dallas, Texas|
|Tyler Kuder||Idaho State||RSr.||DT||Payette, Idaho|
|Caleb Kidder||Montana||RJr.||DT||Helena, Mont.|
|James Cowser*||Southern Utah||Sr.||DE||Fruit Heights, Utah|
|Tyrone Holmes||Montana||Sr.||DE||Eagle Point, Ore.|
|Michael Needham||Southern Utah||So.||OLB||St. George, Utah|
|Herbert Gamboa||Montana||Sr.||OLB||San Clemente, Calif.|
|Will Ratelle||North Dakota||Sr.||ILB||Edina, Minn.|
|Darnell Sankey||Sacramento State||Sr.||ILB||San Jose, Calif.|
|Marcus Alford||Northern Arizona||Sr.||CB||Oxnard, Calif.|
|LeShaun Sims||Southern Utah||Sr.||CB||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Miles Killebrew||Southern Utah||Sr.||S||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Patrick Onwuasor||Portland State||Sr.||S||Inglewood, Calif.|
|Ryan Hawkins||Northern Arizona||Sr.||P||Peoria, Ariz.|
|Second Team All-Conference|
|Madison Mangum||Idaho State||Sr.||WR||Boise, Idaho|
|Mike Sharp||Southern Utah||Jr.||WR||St. George, Utah|
|Kendrick Bourne||Eastern Washington||Jr.||WR||Portland, Ore.|
|John Schmaing||Montana||Sr.||OT||Billings, Mont.|
|Kyle Smith||Portland State||Jr.||OT||Elmira, Ore.|
|Brandon Anderson||North Dakota||Sr.||OG||Sartell, Minn.|
|Cameron Young||Weber State||Jr.||OG||Cove, Texas|
|Colton Boas||North Dakota||Sr.||C||Bloomfield, Ill.|
|R.J. Rickert||Northern Arizona||Sr.||TE||Gilbert, Ariz.|
|Dakota Prukop||Montana State||Jr.||QB||Austin, Texas|
|David Jones||Portland State||Sr.||RB||Kent, Wash.|
|Xavier Finney||Idaho State||Sr.||RB||Oceanside, Calif.|
|Zach Adler||North Dakota||Sr.||FB||Omaha, Neb.|
|Daniel Sullivan||Montana||Sr.||PK||Mill Creek, Wash.|
|Miles Killebrew||Southern Utah||Sr.||STP||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Eric Wilkes||Weber State||So.||RS||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Taylor Sheridan||Montana State||Sr.||DT||Littleton, Colo.|
|Sadat Sulleyman||Portland State||Sr.||DT||Spanaway, Wash.|
|Samson Ebukam||Eastern Washington||Jr.||DE||Portland, Ore.|
|Davond Dade||Portland State||So.||DE||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Brian Labat||North Dakota||Jr.||OLB||Detroit Lakes, Minn.|
|Tre’von Johnson||Weber State||Jr.||OLB||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Kendrick Van Ackeren||Montana||Sr.||ILB||Bellevue, Wash.|
|Emmett Tela||Weber State||So.||ILB||Provo, Utah|
|Devonte Johnson||Weber State||Sr.||CB||Denver, Colo.|
|Xavier Coleman||Portland State||Jr.||CB||Portland, Ore.|
|Eddie Horn||Northern Arizona||Sr.||S||Hayward, Calif.|
|Cole Reyes||North Dakota||So.||S||Schaumber, Ill.|
|Mitch Meindel||North Dakota||RSo.||P||Waukesha, Wis.|
|Third Team All-Conference|
|Ellis Henderson||Montana||RJr.||WR||Vancouver, Wash.|
|Mitch Herbert||Montana State||So.||WR||Eugene, Ore.|
|Shane Harrison||Sacramento State||Sr.||WR||Chatsworth, Calif.|
|Jacob Julian||Northern Arizona||Jr.||OT||Prescott, Ariz.|
|Mike Davis||Portland State||Sr.||OT||Chico, Calif.|
|JP Flynn||Montana State||Jr.||OG||Bettendorf, Iowa|
|Cam Keizur||Portland State||Jr.||OG||West Linn, Ore.|
|Stephen Sippel||Cal Poly||Sr.||C||Folsom, Calif.|
|Steven Wroblewski||Southern Utah||Sr.||TE||Brainerd, Minn.|
|Ammon Olsen||Southern Utah||Sr.||QB||Draper, Utah|
|Chad Newell||Montana State||Jr.||RB||Billings, Mont.|
|Kori Garcia||Cal Poly||Jr.||RB||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Anthony Norris||Southern Utah||Sr.||FB||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Jonathan Gonzales||Portland State||Jr.||K||Apple Valley, Calif.|
|Connor Strahm||Montana||RSo.||STP||Eugene, Ore.|
|Ellis Henderson||Montana||RJr.||RS||Vancouver, Wash.|
|Matt Sommer||Eastern Washington||Jr.||DT||Salem, Ore.|
|Daniel Fusi||Portland State||Sr.||DT||Santa Ana, Calif.|
|Mikhail Dubose||Northern Colorado||Jr.||DE||Chicago, Ill.|
|Brandon Dranka||North Dakota||So.||DE||Huntley,, Ill.|
|Taylor Nelson||Southern Utah||So.||OLB||Vancouver, Wash.|
|Burton De Koning||Cal Poly||Sr.||OLB||Folsom, Calif.|
|Matt Holley||Southern Utah||Gr.||ILB||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Jeremiah Kose||Montana||RSr.||ILB||Oceanside, Calif.|
|Nate Harris||Montana||RSr.||CB||Chino, Calif.|
|Aaron Sibley||Portland State||Sr.||CB||Decatur, Ga.|
|Todd Raynes||Eastern Washington||Jr.||S||Kenmore, Wash.|
|Taylor Risner||Northern Colorado||Jr.||S||Wiggins, Colo.|
|Tate Lewis||Southern Utah||Jr.||P||Plain City, Utah|
WR: KW Williams, Idaho State; Ben Roberts, Montana; Darnell Adams, Portland State; Dejzon Walker, Northern Arizona; Justin Brown, Southern Utah; and Chris Martin, UC Davis
OT: Calvin Steyn, Weber State; Andrew Eide, Southern Utah; Parker Smith, UC Davis; Lars Hanson, Sacramento State; and Weston Walker, Cal Poly
OG: Wesley Wingrove, Idaho State; Devon Dietrich, Montana; Randin Crecelius, Portland State; Thomas Gomez, Eastern Washington; Evan Ross, Southern Utah; Joey Kuperman, Cal Poly; and Eric Rodriguez, Northern Arizona
C: Keyan Norman, Southern Utah; Christian Diehm, Idaho State; Blake Porter, Northern Arizona; and Joel Horn, Montana State
TE: Tui Satuala, Weber State, and Michael McCauley, Northern Colorado
QB: Alex Kuresa, Portland State, and Chris Brown, Cal Poly
RB: Jordan Robinson, Sacramento State; Trae Riek, Northern Colorado; John Nguyen, Montana; Malik Brown, Southern Utah; and Eric Wilkes, Weber State
FB: Derek Baljeu, UC Davis, and Cory Thomson, Weber State
PK: Luke Daly, Montana State, and Brady Stuart, UC Davis
STP: Logan Jones, Montana State, and Chris Santini, Cal Poly
RS: Kahlil Dawson, Portland State, and Josh Kelley, UC Davis
DT: Shad Ennis, Southern Utah; Sefesi Va’aivaka, Southern Utah; Marcus Paige-Allen, Cal Poly; and Chuntony Johnson, Northern Colorado
DE: Noah Johnson, North Dakota; Michael Doman, Portland State; Zach McDonnell, Northern Arizona; and Chance Bearnson, Southern Utah
OLB: Kyle Newsom, Northern Colorado; Jake Gall, Eastern Washington; Delvin Batiste, Northern Arizona; and Mac Bignell, Montana State
ILB: Jeremy Lutali, Portland State, and Josh Bamrick, Northern Arizona
CB: Taron Johnson, Weber State; JR Nelson, Montana; and Karlton Dennis, Cal Poly
S: Yamen Sanders, Montana; Walter Santiago, Portland State; and B.J. Nard, Cal Poly
P: Chris Lider, Montana, and Smith Heath, Sacramento State