Fifteen Aztecs earn 2020 All-Mountain West football honors


Photo by Phillip Brents

From staff reports

San Diego State University had 15 players earn 2020 All-Mountain West Conference football postseason honors to cap season play.

For the second consecutive season, the Aztecs tied for the most first-team selections with five honorees, including four on the defensive side of the ball: sophomore defensive end Cameron Thomas, junior linebacker Caden McDonald, junior field cornerback Darren Hall and senior field warrior Tariq Thompson. Senior left tackle Kyle Spalding was the lone SDSU representative on the offensive first team.

San Diego State had four players selected to the second team: senior running back Greg Bell, senior right tackle Zachary Thomas, junior kick returner Jordan Byrd and senior punter Tanner Kuljian.

The Aztecs had six honorable-mention picks, led by senior defensive backs Tayler Hawkins (cornerback) and Dwayne Johnson Jr. (safety), along with junior tight end Daniel Bellinger, junior defensive linemen Keshawn Banks (end) and Jonah Tavai (tackle), and sophomore kicker Matt Araiza.

The 15 all-league selections are the most by a SDSU team since 2001 (16) and are the third most in the MW, while the five first-team honorees equaled San Jose State for the most in the league. In all, San Diego State had eight defensive players make all-conference, four on offense and three special teamers.

The all-conference awards are voted on by the league coaches and various media members from the league.

Thomas made the all-MW first team for the second straight season after moving from defensive tackle to defensive end midway through the 2020 campaign. Thomas, who anchors a defense which ranks among the top 20 in FBS play in total defense (fourth, 283.5), rush defense (seventh, 97.4), third down percentage (seventh, .292), tackles for loss (10th, 8.1), scoring defense (14th, 17.8), pass defense (17th, 186.1) and defensive pass efficiency (18th, 115.47), became just the second Aztec defensive lineman in program history to earn first-team all-MW honors multiple times (also Alex Barrett in 2015-16).

SDSU ended the 2020 season with a 4-2 conference record in fourth place in the standings, 4-4 overall with two non-conference losses.

The Aztecs withdrew from consideration for a bowl berth in advance of the MW championship game between conference unbeatens San Jose State and Boise State University Dec. 19 in Las Vegas.

San Jose State defeated Boise State, 34-20, to win its first MW championship.