October 16, 2021: Utah State Aggies wide receiver Deven Thompkins (13) catches the football and scores a touchdown during the NCAA football game featuring the Utah State Aggies and the UNLV Rebels at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, NV. The UNLV Rebels lead the Utah State Aggies 17 to 14 at halftime. Christopher Trim/CSM.8(Credit Image: © Christopher Trim/CSM via ZUMA Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)
LOGAN, Utah – Utah State’s Deven Thompkins was named first-team all-Mountain West, while eight more Aggies earned various all-conference accolades, as the league office announced its postseason football honors Tuesday. In all, USU had four offensive players, three defensive players and two specialists recognized.
Utah State had two players named to the MW second team in graduate senior linebacker Justin Rice and senior kickoff returner Savon Scarver. Six more Aggies were named honorable mention all-MW in graduate senior safety Shaq Bond, graduate senior defensive end Nick Heninger, graduate senior punt returner Jordan Nathan, senior offensive lineman Alfred Edwards, senior wide receiver Derek Wright and junior offensive lineman Quazzel White.
Nevada quarterback Carson Strong was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, while San Diego State defensive lineman Cameron Thomas was named the Defensive Player of the Year. San Diego State’s Matt Araiza was named the MW Special Teams Player of the Year and UNLV quarterback Cameron Friel was named Freshman of the Year. San Diego State’s Brady Hoke was named the MW Coach of the Year.
Utah State’s nine all-conference honors were tied for the sixth-most in the league. Nevada had a league-best 16 all-conference players and San Diego State was second with 15. Boise State was third with 13 players recognized, followed by San José State (11), Fresno State (10), Utah State (9), Hawai’i (9), Colorado State (8), Wyoming (8), Air Force (7), New Mexico (5) and UNLV (4).
Thompkins, a 5-foot-8, 155-pound wide receiver from Fort Myers, Florida (Dunbar HS), earned all-league honors for the first time in his career and is the first Aggie wide receiver to earn first-team all-conference honors since Aaron Jones was named first-team all-Big West Conference in 2000. USU was an independent in 2001 and 2002 as Kevin Curtis was named to the all-independent team both seasons. Overall, Thompkins is just the 10th wide receiver in school history to earn first-team all-conference honors.
Thompkins, who was named the MW Offensive Player of the Week twice this year, leads the nation in receiving with 1,543 yards (128.6 ypg). Thompkins is also first in the MW and fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards with 1,803 (150.3 ypg), third in the MW and 11th in the nation in receptions with 87 (7.2 pg), fifth in the MW and 33rd in the nation in yards per reception (17.7), and sixth in the MW and 24th in the nation in receiving touchdowns with nine (0.75 pg). Thompkins, who set the school record for receiving yards in a season this year, also has eight 100-yard receiving games to tie for first nationally.
Rice, a 6-2, 225-pound linebacker from Modesto, California (Central Catholic HS/Arkansas State) earned all-league honors for the third time in his career, as he was named first-team all-Sun Belt Conference in 2020 at Arkansas State and first-team all-MW in 2019 at Fresno State.
Rice, who was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week twice this season, leads the team with 105 tackles and five double-digit tackle outings. He is also tied for the team lead with three interceptions and is second with 12.0 tackles for loss. On the season, Rice is fourth in the MW and 28th in the nation in tackles (8.8 pg), eighth in the MW and 58th in the nation in interceptions (0.25 pg), and eighth in the MW in tackles for loss (1.00 pg).
Scarver, a 5-11, 175-pound kickoff returner from Las Vegas, Nevada (Centennial HS), earned all-conference honors for the fourth time in his career as he was named first-team all-MW in both 2018 and 2019, and garnered honorable mention accolades in 2020.
In 2021, Scarver tied the NCAA record for kickoff returns for touchdown in a career with seven as he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score against UNLV (10/16). Overall, Scarver is one of just five players in NCAA history with seven-career kickoff returns for a touchdown. Thus far this season, Scarver has returned 23 kickoffs for 559 yards (24.3 ypr) and ranks first in the MW and 11th in the nation in kickoff returns for touchdown with one (0.08 pg), and third in the MW and 32nd in the nation in kickoff returns (24.2 ypr).
Bond, a 5-11, 185-pound safety from Decatur, Illinois (MacArthur HS/Southwestern JC), earned all-conference honors for the third time in his career as he was also named honorable mention all-MW in both 2019 and 2020. Bond, who was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week once this season, ranks fourth on the team with 64 tackles, is tied for the first on the team with three interceptions and is tied for second on the team with two forced fumbles.
Edwards, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound offensive tackle from Redlands, California (Redlands Senior HS), started all 11 games he played in and has an overall performance grade of 88 percent for the season, which is first on the team. During the year, he is third on the team in offensive snaps played with 877 and has 12 knockdowns.
Heninger, a 6-2, 235-pound defensive end from South Jordan, Utah (Bingham HS/Utah), earned all-conference honors for the second time as he was also named honorable mention all-MW last season. This year, Heninger leads the team with 15.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks and five forced fumbles. He is also third on the team with 66 tackles and three pass breakups, and has one fumble recovery. On the season, Heninger is first in the MW and third in the nation in fumbles forced (0.42 pg), and third in the MW in tackles for loss (1.29 pg).
Nathan, a 5-9, 185-pound punt returner from Monrovia, California (Monrovia HS), earned all-conference honors for the first time as he has returned 11 punts on the season for 97 yards (8.8 ypr) with a season-long 28-yard return against Boise State (9/25).
White, a 6-3, 310-pound offensive guard from Tacoma, Washington (Lincoln HS/TC), earned all-conference honors for the first time as he started all 12 games at right guard and has an overall performance grade of 83 percent for the season, which is second on the team. During the year, he has played a team-best 938 offensive snaps. He has only allowed one sack all season and has a team-best 32.0 knockdowns.
Wright, a 6-1, 195-pound wide receiver from Sterling, Utah (Manti HS/Snow College), earned all-conference honors for the first time as he leads the team with 10 touchdown receptions, is second with 699 receiving yards and third with 39 receptions. Overall, Wright is fourth in the MW and 15th in the nation in receiving touchdowns (0.83 pg), and fourth in the MW and 30th in the nation in yards per reception (17.9). On the season, Wright has caught a career-high two touchdowns in four different games and had his first-career 100-yard receiving game at New Mexico (11/26) with four receptions for a career-high 150 yards.
Utah State (9-3, 6-2 MW) plays at No. 19 San Diego State (11-1, 7-1 MW) in the MW Championship game on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m. (MT). The game will be televised nationally on Fox. It is the second time in its nine years in the league that USU is playing in the MW Championship.
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