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Boise State’s Avery Williams (26) stiff arms San Jose State’s Brendan Manigo (33) on a punt return during a game Nov. 2, 2019.

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A day after being selected as preseason favorites to win the Mountain Division, the Boise State football team got some individual recognition.

The Broncos had a league-high eight appearances on the Preseason All-Mountain West team, released by the conference on Wednesday. The selections were voted on by media members who regularly cover the conference.

Senior linebacker Riley Whimpey was a unanimous selection — one of three in the conference to get such an honor — while senior Avery Williams made two appearances for the Broncos, once at defensive back and once at punt returner.

Boise State also had sophomore quarterback Hank Bachmeier, junior wide receiver Khalil Shakir, junior offensive lineman John Ojukwu, junior defensive lineman Scale Igiehon and senior defensive back Kekaula Kaniho appear on the list.

The Broncos’ eight selections were twice as many as any other team. Colorado State and San Diego State, which was picked to win the West Division, both had four selections. Boise State and Colorado State were the only two teams to see players picked as offensive, defensive and special teams selections.

Whimpey — who was joined by Colorado State wide receiver Warren Jackson and Fresno State linebacker Justin Rice as unanimous selections — led Boise State with 83 tackles last season, when he was a second-team All-Mountain West Selection. He had seven tackles-for-a-loss, two sacks and had three games with 10 or more tackles, including 12 against Wyoming.

Williams, the Mountain West’s reigning Special Teams Player of the Year, averaged 13.2 yards per punt return last year and had returns for touchdowns against San Jose State and Utah State. At cornerback, he made 39 tackles, including 1.5 tackles-for-a-loss.

Bachmeier, who became the first true freshman in the FBS era to start a season opener for Boise State at quarterback last year against Florida State, threw for 1,879 yards and nine touchdowns despite playing in just eight games. He missed six of Boise State’s 14 games due to injury.

Shakir had 872 receiving yards last season and accounted for 10 touchdowns — catching six, running for three and throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Jaylon Henderson in a 42-9 win against New Mexico.

Ojukwu, who is expected to move from right tackle to left tackle this season, is the Broncos’ only returning starter along the offensive or defensive lines. Starting in 11 games last season, he helped lead the way for an offense which was 14th in the nation in scoring (36.8 points per game) and helped true freshman George Holani push the Bronco’s streak of 1,000-yard rushers to 11-straight seasons.

Kaniho, who was a first-team all-conference selection last year, had 61 tackles and 11 tackles-for-a-loss. He also had an interception, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles on the year.

Igiehon, who appeared in all 14 games for the Broncos as a sophomore, had 38 tackles and three tackles-for-a-loss.

The league will announce its Preseason Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Year on Thursday.

2020 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

Offense

QB: Hank Bachmeier, So., Boise State

WR: Khalil Shakir, Jr., Boise State

WR: Warren Jackson, Sr., Colorado State

WR: Tre Walker, Sr., San José State

RB: Charles Williams, Sr., UNLV

RB: Xazavian Valladay, Jr., Wyoming

OL: Parker Ferguson, Sr., Air Force

OL: Nolan Laufenberg, Sr., Air Force

OL: John Ojukwu, Jr., Boise State

OL: Ilm Manning, Jr., Hawai‘i

OL: Keegan Cryder, Jr., Wyoming

TE: Trey McBride, Jr., Colorado State

Defense

DL: Scale Igiehon, Jr., Boise State

DL: Dom Peterson, Jr., Nevada

DL: Cameron Thomas, So., San Diego State

DL: Keshawn Banks, Jr., San Diego State

LB: Demonte Meeks, Sr., Air Force

LB: Riley Whimpey, So., Boise State

LB: Dequan Jackson, Jr., Colorado State

LB: Justin Rice, Sr., Fresno State

DB: Kekaula Kaniho, Sr., Boise State

DB: Avery Williams, Sr., Boise State

DB: Darren Hall, Jr., San Diego State

DB: Tariq Thompson, Sr., San Diego State

Specialists

P: Ryan Stonehouse, Sr., Colorado State

PK: Brandon Talton, So., Nevada

KR: Savon Scarver, Sr., Utah State

PR: Avery Williams, Sr., Boise State

John Wustrow is the assistant sports editor of the Idaho Press. He is a Michigan native and a graduate of Indiana University.

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