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Davis, Croskey-Merritt Lead UNM with All-MW Honors

by Frank Mercogliano

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — JC Davis became the first Lobo offensive player to earn First Team All-Mountain West honors since 2014, and Jacory Croskey-Merritt earned Second Team All-Mountain West as the league announced the 2023 postseason All-Mountain West teams.

Five Lobos were named honorable mention.  Quarterback Dylan Hopkins, linebacker Alec Marenco, receiver Caleb Medford and corners Donte Martin and Zach Morris all earned honorable mention honors.

Boise State’s Ashton Jeanty was the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year while Colorado State’s Mohamed Kamara was the Defensive Player of the Year.  UNLV swept the final three awards with Jose Pizano being named Special Teams Player of the Year, Justin Maiava being named Freshman of the Year and Barry Odom being named Coach of the Year.

Davis ended the season as one of the nation’s top tackles, ranking No. 1 in the Mountain West, No. 1 in the Group of 5 and No. 5 overall in terms of pass blocking, anchoring one of the nation’s most improved offensive lines in terms of pass protection, going from ranking 131st nationally in sacks allowed to 39th, showing the nation’s fourth-best improvement.  The Lobos on offense recorded 4,927 yards, the eighth-best offensive season in terms of yards in school history.

Croskey-Merritt was a big part of that, rushing for the seventh-most yards in school history with 1,190, finishing first in the league in total yards after the regular season.  His 99.17 yards per game is third in the league behind only Jeanty and San Jose State’s Kairee Robinson, who were the two first team selections.  Croskey-Merritt finished with a flourish, becoming the first player in school history to have back-to-back 200-yard rushing games, and he also was the first player to ever have two 200-yard games in the same season.  He led UNM with 18 touchdowns, the second-most in school history.

Hopkins earned honorable mention after starting 11 of 12 games and becoming the first Lobo quarterback to break the 2,000 yard passing mark, throwing for 2,074 and 11 touchdowns.  Medford was a revelation during the season, leading UNM with 551 receiving yards and he was second with 30 receptions after not recording a catch for TCU last year.

Defensively, Marenco earned his first career honor after leading UNM is tackles with 66 despite playing with a variety of injuries that forced him to miss large chunks of games.  Martin broke UNM’s all-time record for passes broken up with 32 in his career after recording seven during the season, and Zach Morris earned his first honorin his first year as a starting corner, registering 10 PBUs and finishing third in the Mountain West in passes defended.

2023 All-Mountain West Football Team

First Team Offense
Pos. Player Cl Team
QB Chevan Cordeiro Sr. San José State
WR Tory Horton* Sr. Colorado State
WR Ricky White III Jr. UNLV
WR Jalen Royals Jr. Jr. Utah State
RB Ashton Jeanty So. Boise State
RB Kairee Robinson So. San José State
TE Dallin Holker Jr. Colorado State
OL Thor Paglialong Sr. Air Force
OL Cade Beresford Sr. Boise State
OL JC Davis Jr. New Mexico
OL Tiger Shanks Jr. UNLV
OL Frank Crum Gr. Wyoming
PK Jose Pizano Sr. UNLV
KR Jacob De Jesus Jr. UNLV


First Team Defense
Pos. Player Cl Team
DL PJ Ramsey Sr. Air Force
DL Ahmed Hassanein Sr. Boise State
DL Mohamed Kamara Jr. Colorado State
DL Tre Smith Jr. San José State
LB Bo Richter Sr. Air Force
LB Jackson Woodard Jr. UNLV
LB MJ Tafisi Jr. Sr. Utah State
LB Easton Gibbs* Jr. Wyoming
DB Trey Taylor Sr. Air Force
DB Jack Howell* Jr. Colorado State
DB Emany Johnson Sr. Nevada
DB Ike Larsen So. Utah State
P James Ferguson-Reynolds So. Boise State
PR Jacob De Jesus Jr. UNLV

*Two-Time First-Team Selection | **Three-Time First-Team Selection

Second Team Offense
Pos. Player Cl Team
QB Jayden Maiava R-Fr. UNLV
WR Steven McBride Sr. Hawai’i
WR Nick Nash Jr. San José State
WR Terrell Vaughn Jr. Utah State
RB Emmanuel Michel Sr. Air Force
RB Jacory Croskey-Merritt Sr. New Mexico
TE Mark Redman Sr. San Diego State
OL Adam Karas Sr. Air Force
OL Kage Casey R-Fr. Boise State
OL Jacob Gardner Sr. Colorado State
OL Mose Vavao Jr. Fresno State
OL Cade Bennett* Jr. San Diego State
PK Jonah Dalmas Sr. Boise State
KR Terrell Vaughn Sr. Utah State


First Team Defense
Pos. Player Cl Team
DL Jalen Dixon Sr. UNLV
DL Devo Bridges Sr. Fresno State
DL Soane Toia Jr. San José State
DL Jordan Bertagnole Jr. Wyoming
LB Alec Mock Sr. Air Force
LB Andrew Simpson So. Boise State
LB Chase Wilson Jr. Colorado State
LB Levelle Bailey Sr. Fresno State
DB Carlton Johnson Sr. Fresno State
DB Morice Norris Jr. Sr. Fresno State
DB Noah Tumblin Sr. San Diego State
DB Cameron Oliver Jr. UNLV
P Jack Browning Sr. San Diego State
PR Tory Horton Sr. Colorado State

*Two-Time Second-Team Selection | ** Three-Time Second-Team Selection

2023 Honorable Mention

Air Force: Matthew Dapore, PK; Jayden Goodwin, DB; Zac Larrier, QB
Boise State: Garrett Curran, OL; A’Marion McCoy, CB; Marco Notarainni, LB; Seyi Oladipo, DB; Alexander Teubner, S
Colorado State: Chigozie Anusiem, CB; Henry Blackburn, S; Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, QB; Drew Moss, OL; Justus Ross-Simmons, WR
Fresno State:  Erik Brooks, WR; Mikey Keene, QB; Malik Sherrod, RB; Jacob Spomer, OL; Tre Watson, TE
Hawai‘i: Pofele Ashlock, WR; Peter Manuma, DB; Brayden Schager, QB; Matthew Shipley, PK; Cam Stone, DB
Nevada: Dalevon Campbell, WR; Tongiaki Mateialona, LB; Brandon Talton, PK; Drue Watts, LB; Isaiah World, OL
New Mexico: Dylan Hopkins, QB; Alec Mareno, LB; Donte Martin, CB; Caleb Medford, WR; Zach Morris, CB
San Diego State:  Kenan Christon, KR; Zyrus Fiaseu, LB; Dez Malone, CB; Jalen Mayden, QB; Mekhi Shaw, WR/PR
San José State: Fernando Carmona Jr., OT; Jay’Vion Cole, CB; Tre Jenkins, S; Anthony Pardue, C; Bryun Parham, LB
UNLV: Vincent Davis Jr., RB; Donavyn Lester, RB; Marsel McDuffie, LB ; Marshall Nichols, P; Jaxen Turner, S
Utah State: Micah Davis, WR/PR; Devin Dye, S; Broc Lane, TE; Hale Motu’apuaka, DL; Anthony Switzer, LB
Wyoming:  Wyett Ekeler, S; Andrew Peasley, QB; Harrison Waylee, RB; Treyton Welch, TE; Wyatt Wieland, WR