Rykert, Poppinga, Payne Earn First-Team All-MWC Honors

Senior offensive lineman Dustin Rykert was one of three BYU players named to the 2002 All-MWC First Team. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS -- The Mountain West Conference today announced its 2002 football All-Conference selections. The league's eight head coaches and conference-wide media panel selected the all-conference teams, coach, offensive player, defensive player and freshman awards. Among the first-team honorees, BYU senior offensive lineman Dustin Rykert, defensive end Brady Poppinga and punter Matt Payne.

New Mexico head coach Rocky Long captured Coach of the Year honors, while Bradlee Van Pelt of Colorado State and Jamaal Brimmer of UNLV were selected the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Freshman of the Year honors went to DonTrell Moore of New Mexico.

BYU First-Team Honorees

#39 Matt Payne, Punter/Kicker

6-4, 240, Sophomore

North Ogden, Utah

2002: Handle both kicking and punting duties for BYU this season ... twice named the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week during the season ... a Phil Steele's College Football Preview second-team All-MWC selection ... led the Mountain West and ranked second in the nation with a 47.6 yards-per-punt average ... converted 13-of-16 field goal attempts on the season, converting 81.2 percent of his attempts, which ranked second in the MWC ... ranked fourth in the MWC in scoring, averaging 5.5 points per contest ... was 2-for-2 from 20-29 yards, 6-of-6 from 30-39 yards, 4-of-6 from 30-39 yards and 1-of-2 from 50-60 yards ... averaged a season-high 63.0 yards per punt against Wyoming ... recorded punts of 70 yards or more on three different occasions ... had 51 punts on the season, and was credited with just 7 touchbacks, while 11 were downed inside the 20 ... credited with 21 punts of 50 yards or more ... after missing three PATs in the season-opener, connected on 24 straight to end the season ... was a perfect 5-for-5 in PAT attempts in three different games, helping the Cougars to a 35-32 win over Hawaii, a 35-34 come-from-behind win at Utah State, and a 35-31 win over Wyoming ... against New Mexico, connected on a career-long 52-yard field goal to cut the New Mexico first-half lead to just 14-13 ... set up his own field goal attempt with a 28-yard rush on a key fourth-down attempt ... facing fourth-and-three, tucked the fake-punt attempt and rambled for 28 yards to the New Mexico 36-yard line ... four plays later, booted a career-long 52-yard field goal ... was three-for-three against New Mexico, connecting on field goals of 32, 52 and 37 yards ... was responsible for 10 of the Cougars' 16 points against New Mexico ... credited with 8 punts for a total of 355 yards, averaging 44.4 yards per punt against the Lobos ... following the Cougars' 34-10 victory over San Diego State, was named the MWC Special Team Player of the Week ... connected on four punts for a season-high average 58.0 yards per punt, including a career-high 76 yarder (fourth longest in BYU history) ... also nailed two 47-yard field goals to help BYU to a 20-0 halftime lead ... against Nevada, averaged 57.4 yards per punt, including a 72 yard punt.

#49 Brady Poppinga, Defensive End

6-3, 260, Sophomore

Evanston, Wyoming

2002: Started all 12 games at defensive end ... led the Mountain West with 8 sacks on the season, including a season-high 3 sacks against San Diego State ... had 6 games with tackles for loss, including 3 games with multiple sacks on the season ... ranked second on the BYU roster with 14 tackles for a combined loss of 66 yards ... credited with 49 tackles, including 25 solos ... ranked 5th in the MWC with 3 forced fumbles ... twice recorded a season-high 9 tackles during the season (vs. Syracuse and Georgia Tech).

#79 Dustin Rykert, Offensive Line

6-7, 322, Senior

Roseville, California

2002: Started all 12 games at left tackle for the Cougars, provided protection for an offense that recorded an average 260.8 yards passing per game, and 121.1 yards rushing per contest ... ranked by The Sporting News as the 13th top offensive tackle in the country ... a MWC media and Phil Steele College Football Preview preseason first-team All-MWC selection.

BYU Second-Team Honorees

#20 Reno Mahe, Receiver

5-9, 195, Senior

Salt Lake City, Utah

2002: Led the BYU roster with 771 receiving yards on the season, averaging 64.2 yards per game (4th in the MWC) ... ranked 4th in the MWC, averaging 4.92 receptions per game ... averaged 13.1 yards per catch ... credited with a season-high 124 yards against UNLV ... posted 102 yards against Utah State, averaging 20.4 yards per reception ... recorded 50 yards or more in 8 of the Cougars' 12 games this season ... posted 64 yards rushing on 15 carries, averaging 4.3 yards per carry ... credited with 1,159 all-purpose yards on the season, including 128 kick-return yards and 196 punt-return yards ... a Street & Smith's preseason honorable mention All-America candidate ... a consensus preseason All-MWC first-team selection (MWC media, The Sporting News, Street & Smith's, Athlon Sports, Phil Steele's College Football Preview, Jim Feist's College Football Preview) ... named The Sporting News MWC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year ... rated by Street & Smith's as having the "best instincts" in the MWC.

#89 Spencer Nead, Tight End

6-5, 262, Senior

Tetonia, Idaho

2002: Listed as a preseason All-MWC selection by the MWC media, The Sporting News and Phil Steele's College Football Preview ... A Mackey Award candidate ... rated by Phil Steele as one of the top tight ends in the country... ranked second on the BYU roster (and ranked among the nation's top-10 tight ends) with 40 receptions for 449 yards ... one of just four BYU receivers with over 300 yards on the season ... averaged 11.2 yards per reception, and over 37 yards per game ... played a major roll in BYU's run game, blocking for an offense that averaged 121.1 yards rushing per game ... started the season with a career-high 80-yard performance in the Cougars' 42-21 win over Syracuse ... recorded 3 receptions for 41 yards in the Cougars' 35-32 win against Hawaii, including a team-high 22-yard reception ... played a major roll in the Cougars' 35-34 come-from-behind victory at Utah State, recording a season-high 6 receptions for 47 yards ... a week later, had 5 receptions for 77 yards against Air Force ... registered a team-high 6 receptions for 72 yards, averaging 12 yards per reception in the Cougars' 35-31 win over Wyoming.

BYU Honorable Mention Honorees

#46, Colby Bockwoldt, Linebacker

6-2, 225, Junior

Sunset, Utah

2002: Started all 12 games for the Cougars at weak-side linebacker ... ranked third on the BYU roster with a career-high 85 tackles, including 51 solo takedowns (ranked 7th among league linebackers) ... produced three games with 10 or more tackles, including a season-high 11 tackles against Utah ... recorded a season-high nine solo tackles against Wyoming ... ranked 9th in the MWC with 12 tackles for a combined loss of 49 yards ... twice recorded three tackles for a loss against San Diego State (3-7) and Utah (3-18) ... had at least one tackle for a loss in 8 of 12 games during the season ... recorded 3 sacks on the season and forced 3 fumbles ... credited with 6 hurries, including two against Hawaii and Wyoming.

#33 Aaron Francisco, Safety

6-2, 215, Sophomore

Kahuku, Hawaii

2002: Started all 12 games for the Cougars at safety ... ranked second on the BYU roster with 99 tackles, including 51 solo take downs ... led all MWC defensive backs with an average 8.2 tackles per game ... produced four games with 10 or more tackles, including a season-high 14 takedowns against Utah ... had 6 or more tackles in 9 of the Cougars' 12 games ... recorded a team-leading 11 tackles in the Cougars' season-opening victory against Syracuse, including a season-high 8 solo takedowns ... credited with 5 pass deflections on the season.

#34, Brandon Heaney, Cornerback

5-10, 175, Junior

Trabuco Hills, California

2002: Despite playing with a chronic shoulder injury, saw action in 10 games throughout the season ... led the BYU roster with 8 pass deflections ... led the team, and ranked second in the Mountain West with 3 interceptions on the season ... registered 22 solo tackles on the season, including 5 solos against both Hawaii and UNLV ... totaled a season-high 8 total tackles at Georgia Tech, including a solo takedown for a loss of 3 yards ... also registered 2 interceptions against the Yellow Jackets ... opened the season with two pass deflections against both Syracuse and Hawaii ... did not play against Utah after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.

#73 Isaac Herring, Offensive Line

6-5, 303, Senior

Mapleton, Utah

2002: Started in all 12 games on the offensive line for the Cougars, including 8 games at right tackles, and the final 4 games at right guard ... provided protection for an offense that recorded an average 260.8 yards passing per game, and 121.1 yards rushing per contest ... recorded a team-high 62-pound bench press ... ranked second on the squad with a 626-pound mark in the squat ... posted a 4.9 mark in the 40-yard dash.

#64 Scott Jackson, Offensive Line

6-5, 300, Junior

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

2002: A Verizon Academic All-District selection with a 3.61 GPA as an international studies major ... a Phil Steele College Football Preview second team All-MWC selection... started in all 12 games at center for the Cougars ... provided protection for an offense that recorded an average 260.8 yards passing per game, and 121.1 yards rushing per contest.

#42 Gabriel Reid, Tight End

6-4, 256, Senior

American Samoa

2002: Played in all 12 games for the Cougars ... averaged 1.5 receptions per contest ... had at least one reception in 10 of the Cougars' 12 games ... recorded a season-high 4 receptions for 29 yards in the Cougars' season-opening victory against Syracuse ... averaged a touchdown catch every 3.6 receptions ... recorded a season-high 42 yards against Air Force ... tallied a season-long 27-yard touchdown reception against San Diego State ... averaged 10.7 yards per reception.

#44, Mike Tanner, Linebacker

6-1, 242, Junior

Orem, Utah

2002: Earned the starting job at middle linebacker against San Diego State ... started in 3 games at middle linebacker ... ranked fourth on the BYU roster with 57 tackles, including 21 solo takedowns ... ranked 9th among linebackers in the MWC, averaging 6.3 tackles per contest ... against league opponents, ranked second with a 9.5 tackles-per-game average ... produced 10 or more tackles in three different games, including a season-high 14 tackles against Air Force in a back-up roll ... in his first-ever start, recorded 11 tackles against San Diego State, including 6 solo takedowns ... credited with 2 fumble recoveries and a 15-yard interception return (at Georgia Tech).

#47, Paul Walkenhorst, Linebacker

6-5, 252, Junior

Highland, Utah

2002: Started all 12 games at linebacker, including 8 games at middle linebacker and 4 games at the strong-side linebacker position ... led the Cougars (and ranked 4th in the MWC) with a career-high 107 tackles, including 47 solo takedowns ... led the BYU roster with 15 tackles for a combined loss of 30 yards, including 2 sacks ... credited with double-digit tackles in 5 different games, including a season-high 14 takedowns at Colorado State ... started the 2002 campaign with three-straight 10-tackle games, including 11 against Syracuse, 10 against Hawaii, and 10 at Nevada ... recorded 10 solo tackles at Nevada.

#32, Marcus Whalen, Running Back

6-0, 215, Sophomore

Waldorf, Maryland

2002: Started in 11 of 12 games at running back ... finished the season with 918 yards rushing, marking only the 13th 900-yard rushing performance in school history ... ranked 5th in the MWC with an 83.5 yards-per-game average ... averaged 5.1 yards per carry ... ranked 6th in the league, averaging 101.9 yards of total offense per game ... became the first running back in BYU history to start a season with three straight 100-yard rushing performances ... had 5 different 100-yard rushing performances on the season, including a season-high 140-yard outing in the Cougars' 42-21 victory over Syracuse ... averaged 7.4 yards per carry against the Orangemen ... credited with 6 touchdown carries on the season ... credited with a season-high 71-yard rush at Nevada ... averaged a season-high 9.6 yards per carry against the Wolfpack ... credited with 141 of the Cougars' 168 total rushing yards against Hawaii ... scored a career-high two touchdowns in the Cougars' 35-32 win over the Warriors ... carried the ball a career-high 30 times against Hawaii, averaging 4.7 yards per carry ... totaled 203 yards receiving on 27 receptions.

All-Mountain West First-Team 

Offense

Pos Player Cl. School

QB Bradlee Van Pelt Jr. Colorado State

WR J.R. Tolver* Sr. San Diego State

WR Kassim Osgood Sr. San Diego State

RB Cecil Sapp*/** Sr. Colorado State

RB DonTrell Moore Fr. New Mexico

TE Joel Dreessen So. Colorado State

OL Jordan Gross* Sr. Utah

OL Morgan Pears Sr. Colorado State

OL Adam Goldberg** Sr. Wyoming

OL Dustin Rykert Sr. BYU

OL Tony Terrell Sr. UNLV

PK Joey Ashcroft Jr. Air Force

PR/KR Dexter Wynn Jr. Colorado State

Defense

Pos. Player Cl. School

DL Peter Hogan Sr. Colorado State

DL Jason Kaufusi** Jr. Utah

DL Brady Poppinga So. BYU

DL Garrett Smith** Sr. Utah

LB Kirk Morrison So. San Diego State

LB Charles Moss Sr. New Mexico

LB Anthony Schlegel So. Air Force

DB Jamaal Brimmer So. UNLV

DB Wes Crawley Sr. Air Force

DB Brandon Ratcliff Jr. New Mexico

DB Antwoine Sanders Jr. Utah

P Matt Payne So. BYU

*--Unanimous Selection

**--Two Time First-Team Selection

All-Mountain West Second-Team

Offense

Pos. Player Cl. School

QB Chance Harridge Jr. Air Force

WR Reno Mahe Sr. BYU

WR Earvin Johnson So. UNLV

RB Brandon Warfield Sr. Utah

RB Joe Haro Sr. UNLV

TE Spencer Nead Sr. BYU

OL Johnathan Ingram Sr. San Diego State

OL Claude Terrell So. New Mexico

OL Jason Lenzmeier Jr. New Mexico

OL Jesse Underbakke Jr. Air Force

OL Mark Dreyer Jr. Colorado State

PK Jeff Babcock So. Colorado State

PR/KR Dwight Counter Jr. New Mexico

Defense

Pos. Player Cl. School

DL Daniel Kegler Jr. New Mexico

DL D.J. Renteria Jr. New Mexico

DL Lauvale Sape Sr. Utah

DL Amon Arnold Sr. San Diego State

LB Adam Seward So. UNLV

LB Eric Pauly Jr. Colorado State

LB Sheldon Deckart Sr. Utah

DB Dave Revill Jr. Utah

DB Rhett Nelson Sr. Colorado State

DB Dexter Wynn Jr. Colorado State

DB Jeff Shoate Jr. San Diego State

P Joey Huber Sr. Colorado State

Honorable Mention

Air Force: Joel Buelow, DB; Larry Duncan, DB; Brett Huyser, OL;

Blane Neufeld, OL; Leotis Palmer, RB; Adam Strecker, TE. BYU: Colby Bockwoldt, LB; Aaron Francisco, DB; Brandon Heaney, DB; Isaac Herring, OL;

Scott Jackson, OL; Reno Mahe PR/KR; Ifo Pili, DL; Gabriel Reid, TE;

Matt Payne PK; Mike Tanner, LB; Paul Walkenhorst, LB; Marcus Whalen, RB. Colorado State: Matt Bartz, TE; Benny Mastropaolo, DB; Chris Pittman, WR;

Bryan Save, DL; Wallace Thomas, DL; David Vickers, DB; Adam Wade, LB; Drew Wood, LB. New Mexico: Hebrews Josue, DL; Nick Speegle, LB;

Billy Strother, LB. San Diego State: Kyle Conerly PR/KR;

Brendan Darby, OL; Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, DL; Adam Hall, QB;

Jared Ritter, DL; Ricky Sharpe, DB; Brian Simnjanovski, P/PK.

UNLV: Connie Brown, DB; Dietrich Canterberry, DL; Larry Croom, RB;

Chris Eagen, DL; DeJhown Mandley, TE. Utah: Brooks Bahr, LB;

Paris Jackson, WR; Chris Kemoeatu, OL; Brian Lewis, P; Josh Lyman, WR;

Dustin McQuivey, OL; Bo Nagahi PR/KR; Josh Savage, DL;

Morgan Scalley, PR/KR; Tyrone Tucker, LB. Wyoming: Jovon Bouknight, WR-PR/KR;

Casey Bramlet, QB; Luke Donovan, P; Jacque Finn, DB; Trenton Franz, OL;

Tyler Gottschalk, LB; Scottie Vines, WR-PR/KR; Nate Young, DB.

Breakdown

First-Team Second-Team

Seniors 12 10

Juniors 6 11

Sophomores 6 4

Freshmen 1 0

Notes

* DonTrell Moore is first freshman in MWC history to be an all-conference

selection (first- or second-team).

* Highest number of first-team sophomore selections (6), surpassing the

previous high of three on the 2001 squad.

* Fewest number of senior first-team choices (12). Previous low was 14 on the

2000 squad.

* Highest number of sophomore first- and second-team selections (10). Previous

high was nine in 2001.

* Fewest number of senior first- and second-team selections (22). Previous low

was 25 in 2000.