Deonte Williams, Kennith Jackson Earn First-Team All-Big Sky Honors
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior slotback Deonte Williams and senior middle linebacker Kennith Jackson are Cal Poly's first-ever All-Big Sky Conference first-team selections.
Williams, who rushed for 1,458 yards in 11 regular-season games, and Jackson, who recorded 95 tackles, led Cal Poly to a 9-2 record and, in its first season in the Big Sky, a share of the conference with Montana State and Eastern Washington, all 7-1.
Defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz and outside linebacker Johnny Millard, both juniors, earned spots on the all-conference second team while 11 other Mustangs are honorable mentions.
Williams has surpassed the 100-yard mark in rushing 10 times in 11 games this season, including a season-high 188 against UC Davis. His current streak of six 100-yard games breaks Antonio Warren's streak of five games (1995-96).
Williams' ten 100-yard games this season is two more than the old school record set by James Noble in 2005. He has 1,458 yards, becoming the 15th Mustang to crack the 1,000-yard mark for a season, and 12 TDs in 11 games so far, averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and has caught eight passes for 52 yards and a score.
Williams' rushing total is No. 2 on Cal Poly's all-time single-season list and he needs 121 yards to break Noble's school record of 1,578 yards, set in 2005.
Jackson currently is tied for No. 5 on Cal Poly's career tackles chart with 300, including 95 this season, second on the squad. Jackson was Cal Poly's second-leading tackler as a freshman, sophomore and junior as well, earning 80 tackles in 2011, 67 in 2010 and 58 in 2009.
Jackson also has six career interceptions, intercepting two against Idaho State on Nov. 10, and 14 pass breakups. He was a first-team All-Great West Conference selection as a junior, named to the second team as a sophomore and was an honorable mention as a freshman.
Jackson notched a career-high 12 tackles against UC Davis in September and twice earned 10 tackles in a game this season.
On the second Big Sky unit, Grosz (below right) has 53 tackles this fall and leads the Mustangs with 10.5 tackles for lost yardage, five sacks, five quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries. Millard (left) is third on the team with 66 tackles, including 5.5 for lost yardage and a pair of sacks.
The list of Mustang honorable mentions on offense includes sophomore wide receiver Willie Tucker, junior slotback Cole Stanford, junior tackle Giovanni Sani, junior guard Lefi Letuligasenoa, senior center Geoff Hyde and senior quarterback Andre Broadous.
Tucker has 22 catches, six for touchdowns, while Stanford has 17 catches, four for scores, and 220 yards rushing. Broadous, the league leader in passing efficiency, has passed for 1,262 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 446 yards and nine scores this season. His career totals include 3,007 yards and 31 touchdowns passing; 1,405 yards and 30 touchdowns rushing.
Honorable mentions on defense include sophomore linebacker Nick Dzubnar, senior cornerback Nico Molino and junior cornerback Vante Smith-Johnson. Junior punter Bobby Zalud and special teams player Chris Judge, a junior, also earned honorable mention praise.
Mustang fourth-year head coach Tim Walsh shared Big Sky Coach of the Year honors with Eastern Washington's Beau Baldwin. Walsh is 26-18 at Cal Poly and 143-100 in 22 seasons overall, including four at Sonoma State and 14 at Portland State.
"Anytime you get a Coach of the Year, it probably means you have a great team,'' Walsh said. "It's about the dedication of the player, and our players have been dedicated. This is really a credit to the players we have and the assistant coaches.''
Walsh is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award as national FCS coach of the year while Williams is a candidate for the Walter Payton Award as FCS player of the year. Both awards are sponsored by The Sports Network.
Other top awards include junior quarterback DeNarius McGhee of Montana State as offensive MVP (completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 2,726 yards, 22 TDs), senior outside linebacker Jody Owens of Montana State as defensive MVP (82 tackles, 11 for lost yardage, four forced fumbles) and freshman inside linebacker Zak Browning of Southern Utah as newcomer of the year (116 tackles).
Owens and Eastern Washington junior wide receiver Brandon Kaufman are the only unanimous selections on the All-Big Sky first team. Kaufman, McGhee, Owens, Northern Arizona junior running back Zach Bauman, senior defensive tackle Zach Minter of Montana State, Idaho State senior wide receiver Rodrick Rumble, Montana senior tight end Greg Hardy and Eastern Washington senior cornerback T.J. Lee III are two-time all-conference selections.
Ten of the Big Sky's 13 schools were represented on the first team. Montana State led with six, followed by Eastern Washington with five and Northern Arizona and Montana, each with four.
Cal Poly football is presented by French Hospital Medical Center.