Big Sky Conference

Big Sky All-Conference Teams announced


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

RS-Return Specialist

ST or STP-Special teams player (Non-kicker/punt)

First Team All-Conference
Cooper Kupp*Eastern WashingtonJr.WRYakima, Wash.
Emmanuel ButlerNorthern ArizonaSo.WRPhoenix, Ariz.
Jamaal JonesMontanaSr.WRSpanaway, Wash.
Clay DeBordEastern WashingtonSr.OTAsotin, Wash.
John WeidenaarMontana StateSr.OTManhattan, Mont.
Sean MeehanNorth DakotaSr.OGTrevor, Wis.
Aaron NearyEastern WashingtonSr.OGRichland, Wash.
Joe HawkinsWeber StateSr.CVero Beach, Fla.
Beau SandlandMontana StateSr.TESimi Valley, Calif.
Case CookusNorthern ArizonaFr.QBThousand Oaks, Calif.
John Santiago*North DakotaFr.RBSt. Francis, Minn.
Casey JahnNorthern ArizonaSr.RBPeoria, Ariz.
Joe ProtheroeCal PolySo.FBConcord, Calif.
Ryan HawkinsNorthern ArizonaSr.PKPeoria, Ariz.
Hakeen DeggsNorthern ColoradoRSo.STPlaquemine, La.
Ellis Onic IINorthern ColoradoRSo.RSDallas, Texas
Tyler KuderIdaho StateRSr.DTPayette, Idaho
Caleb KidderMontanaRJr.DTHelena, Mont.
James Cowser*Southern UtahSr.DEFruit Heights, Utah
Tyrone HolmesMontanaSr.DEEagle Point, Ore.
Michael NeedhamSouthern UtahSo.OLBSt. George, Utah
Herbert GamboaMontanaSr.OLBSan Clemente, Calif.
Will RatelleNorth DakotaSr.ILBEdina, Minn.
Darnell SankeySacramento StateSr.ILBSan Jose, Calif.
Marcus AlfordNorthern ArizonaSr.CBOxnard, Calif.
LeShaun SimsSouthern UtahSr.CBLas Vegas, Nev.
Miles KillebrewSouthern UtahSr.SLas Vegas, Nev.
Patrick OnwuasorPortland StateSr.SInglewood, Calif.
Ryan HawkinsNorthern ArizonaSr.PPeoria, Ariz.


Second Team All-Conference
Madison MangumIdaho StateSr.WRBoise, Idaho
Mike SharpSouthern UtahJr.WRSt. George, Utah
Kendrick BourneEastern WashingtonJr.WRPortland, Ore.
John SchmaingMontanaSr.OTBillings, Mont.
Kyle SmithPortland StateJr.OTElmira, Ore.
Brandon AndersonNorth DakotaSr.OGSartell, Minn.
Cameron YoungWeber StateJr.OGCove, Texas
Colton BoasNorth DakotaSr.CBloomfield, Ill.
R.J. RickertNorthern ArizonaSr.TEGilbert, Ariz.
Dakota PrukopMontana StateJr.QBAustin, Texas
David JonesPortland StateSr.RBKent, Wash.
Xavier FinneyIdaho StateSr.RBOceanside, Calif.
Zach AdlerNorth DakotaSr.FBOmaha, Neb.
Daniel SullivanMontanaSr.PKMill Creek, Wash.
Miles KillebrewSouthern UtahSr.STPLas Vegas, Nev.
Eric WilkesWeber StateSo.RSLas Vegas, Nev.
Taylor SheridanMontana StateSr.DTLittleton, Colo.
Sadat SulleymanPortland StateSr.DTSpanaway, Wash.
Samson EbukamEastern WashingtonJr.DEPortland, Ore.
Davond DadePortland StateSo.DELos Angeles, Calif.
Brian LabatNorth DakotaJr.OLBDetroit Lakes, Minn.
Tre’von JohnsonWeber StateJr.OLBSalt Lake City, Utah
Kendrick Van AckerenMontanaSr.ILBBellevue, Wash.
Emmett TelaWeber StateSo.ILBProvo, Utah
Devonte JohnsonWeber StateSr.CBDenver, Colo.
Xavier ColemanPortland StateJr.CBPortland, Ore.
Eddie HornNorthern ArizonaSr.SHayward, Calif.
Cole ReyesNorth DakotaSo.SSchaumber, Ill.
Mitch MeindelNorth DakotaRSo.PWaukesha, Wis.


Third Team All-Conference
Ellis HendersonMontanaRJr.WRVancouver, Wash.
Mitch HerbertMontana StateSo.WREugene, Ore.
Shane HarrisonSacramento StateSr.WRChatsworth, Calif.
Jacob JulianNorthern ArizonaJr.OTPrescott, Ariz.
Mike DavisPortland StateSr.OTChico, Calif.
JP FlynnMontana StateJr.OGBettendorf, Iowa
Cam KeizurPortland StateJr.OGWest Linn, Ore.
Stephen SippelCal PolySr.CFolsom, Calif.
Steven WroblewskiSouthern UtahSr.TEBrainerd, Minn.
Ammon OlsenSouthern UtahSr.QBDraper, Utah
Chad NewellMontana StateJr.RBBillings, Mont.
Kori GarciaCal PolyJr.RBLos Angeles, Calif.
Anthony NorrisSouthern UtahSr.FBLas Vegas, Nev.
Jonathan GonzalesPortland StateJr.KApple Valley, Calif.
Connor StrahmMontanaRSo.STPEugene, Ore.
Ellis HendersonMontanaRJr.RSVancouver, Wash.
Matt SommerEastern WashingtonJr.DTSalem, Ore.
Daniel FusiPortland StateSr.DTSanta Ana, Calif.
Mikhail DuboseNorthern ColoradoJr.DEChicago, Ill.
Brandon DrankaNorth DakotaSo.DEHuntley,, Ill.
Taylor NelsonSouthern UtahSo.OLBVancouver, Wash.
Burton De KoningCal PolySr.OLBFolsom, Calif.
Matt HolleySouthern UtahGr.ILBLas Vegas, Nev.
Jeremiah KoseMontanaRSr.ILBOceanside, Calif.
Nate HarrisMontanaRSr.CBChino, Calif.
Aaron SibleyPortland StateSr.CBDecatur, Ga.
Todd RaynesEastern WashingtonJr.SKenmore, Wash.
Taylor RisnerNorthern ColoradoJr.SWiggins, Colo.
Tate LewisSouthern UtahJr.PPlain City, Utah


Honorable Mention

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

About Press Release

    Recommended for you