Bulldogs earn 10 All-MW picks in preseason football predictions

Fresno State football players celebrate on the field after their 31-20 victory over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. COURTESY OF CARY EDMONDSON

Following a strong season for the Fresno State football team, Bulldogs players earned 10 spots on Phil Steele Magazine’s 2019 All-Mountain West preseason teams, according to a Fresno State Athletics news release.

On the publication’s first team preseason picks were three Fresno State seniors, including tight end Jared Rice, linebacker Mykal Walker and safety JuJu Hughes.

Four Bulldogs landed on the second team, including senior cornerback Jaron Bryant, senior punter Blake Cusick, junior running back Ronnie Rivers and junior offensive lineman Netane Muti.

The publication’s third team consisted of three more Bulldogs: senior defensive tackle Jasad Haynes, junior long snapper Jacob Westberry, with Rivers again earning a selection, this time as a punt returner.

Fresno State and Boise State each had 10 selections for the All-Mountain West first, second and third teams, led only by Hawaii, which had 11 selections.

Boise State and Utah State had the most first team picks with six each.

The publication also picked Fresno State as the forecasted co-No. 1 team along with San Diego State in the West Division. According to Steele, the two teams’ meeting in San Diego on Nov. 15 will be the ultimate decider as to which team will win the division.

In the Mountain Division, the magazine selected Boise State to repeat as champions in the division and were predicted to win the MW title game.

In the 2018 edition of the magazine, the Bulldogs were picked to win the MW West Division due to their game against the Aztecs taking place at home. Boise State was picked to win the Mountain Division and the MW title.

Five of the selected Bulldogs had earned spots on the 2018 All-Mountain West team.

Walker landed on last year’s first team, while Rice, Hughes and Cusick were on the second team. Bryant and Haynes were on the honorable mention team.

The Phil Steele Magazine is produced by sportswriter and analyst Phil Steele and is a full-time employee for ESPN.

The first edition of the magazine was published in 1995. It is listed as the second-most accurate preseason prediction publication for college football over the past 10 years by Chris Stassen’s football.stassen.com.

Seth Casey
Seth Casey is an aspiring journalist, an avid sports fan and a Fresno/Clovis native. He currently attends Fresno State, where he is pursuing a degree in Media, Communication and Journalism with an emphasis in print journalism. He is excited for the opportunity to work at the Clovis Roundup and looks forward to serving the Clovis community and its residents by showcasing all the city has to offer.