East County’s Browning, Shawcroft among SDSU football team annual award winners

West Hills alumnus Jack Browning,

From staff reports

San Diego State University’s football team held its 2022 awards banquet on Sunday. Among the recipients were West Hills alumnus Jack Browning as the team’s most valuable special teams player and Helix Charter alumnus Michael Shawcroft as the President’s Award winner for high academic achievement.

SDSU will engage Middle Tennessee in the 2022 EasyPost Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24 (5 p.m. PST). The Aztecs are in a bowl game for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons, missing only the shortened 2020 COVID season after withdrawing from consideration.

Both teams are 7-5.

The President’s Award for High Achievement is presented to the player who has achieved the highest standards of athletic and academic excellence. Shawcroft also has achieved high standards on the gridiron as the team’s leading tackler with 77 stops, including 45 solo tackles. Upon entering SDSU, Shawcroft said he was surrounded by a ready-made family of Helix graduates.

Browning, the 2022 Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year, has earned All-America honors by both Pro Football Focus (second team) and College Football Network (honorable mention).

The former Wolf Pack and Grossmont College alum has punted 63 times for 2,898 yards (46.0 average) with a net average of 42.7 yards and a long of 63 yards. Out of his 63 punts, 28 have landed inside the 20-yard line, including 14 inside the 10 and six inside the five-yard line. According to Pro Football Focus, Browning has the best punt grade (87.2) in the country.

Browning ranks third in SDSU single-season history in punt average (46.00), is tied for fourth FBS play in punts inside the 20-yard line (28, first in MW), sixth in net punt average (42.67, first in MW) and eighth in punt average (46.00, first in MW). He’s also made 17 of his 21 field goal attempts and all 28 PATs to leading the Aztecs with 79 points. He has kicked off 53 times for 3,394 yards (64.0 average.) with 31 touchbacks.

Senior quarterback Jalen Mayden received the John Simcox Memorial Trophy as the 2022 team MVP. He is the first quarterback to win the prestigious award since current Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell in 2007.

Mayden has completed 122 of 194 passes (62.9 percent) for 1,721 yards and 10 touchdowns for a 147.2 pass efficiency rating, while rushing for 205 yards with three touchdowns on 57 carries (3.6 average). Mayden earned all-Mountain West honorable mention honors despite playing the first five games at safety. He is the first Aztec quarterback to make an all-conference team since Ryan Lindley in 2010 (second team).

Mayden is 5-2 as the team’s starting quarterback. He leads the MW in yards per completion (14.11, seventh in FBS), yards per attempt (8.87, 12th in FBS) and total offense yards per play (7.67, 19th in FBS).

Mayden was also the recipient for the Byron H. Chase Memorial Trophy (outstanding player) for the offense.

Senior defensive end Jonah Tavai took home the Byron H. Chase Memorial Trophy (outstanding player) for the defense and the team’s defensive lineman of the year. Tavai has 57 tackles (30 solo) on the season, including 12.5 tackles for loss (for 65 yards), nine sacks (for 62 yards), a forced fumble and 13 quarterback hurries.

He is ranked second in the Mountain West in sack yards (62, 14th in FBS), tied for second in sacks (9.0, tied for 14th in FBS), third in sacks per game (0.75, T-16th in FBS). According to Pro Football Focus, Tavai has third-highest pass rush grade in FBS (92.0, min. 200 pass opportunities) and the fifth-highest defensive grade (92.1, minimum 500 snaps). Additionally, he has the second most quarterback pressures (62) in the country, the fourth-most hurries (40), and tied for the 14th-most QB hits (12).

Tavai has been named a first-team Pro Football Focus All-American and an honorable mention College Football Network All-American, while garnering first-team all-MW accolades.

Mekhi Shaw (Scripps Ranch) took home the team’s most inspirational player and the offensive outstanding freshman. Shaw has 29 catches for 349 yards (12.0 average.) and three touchdowns. Chris Johnson was named the defensive outstanding freshman, playing the most defensive snaps (72) among any SDSU true freshman.

Senior center Alama Uluave was named the team’s offensive lineman of the year after garnering first-team all-conference recognition.

Scout team awards went to Cathedral Catholic grad D.J. Ralph (offense), D.J. Herman (defense) and Eastlake alumnus Trey White (special teams).


John Simcox Memorial Trophy
(Most Valuable Player): Jalen Mayden

Byron H. Chase Memorial Trophy
(Offensive Player of the Year): Jalen Mayden

Defensive Player of the Year: Jonah Tavai

President’s Award (High Academic Achievement): Michael Shawcroft

Most Inspirational Player: Mekhi Shaw

Most Valuable Special Teams Player: Jack Browning

Outstanding Freshman Award: Mekhi Shawm, Chris Johnson

Offensive Lineman of the Year: Alama Uluave

Defensive Lineman of the Year: Jonah Tavai

Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year: D.J. Ralph

Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year: D.J. Herman

Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Year: Trey White