Fresno State Bulldogs · Sports

Rivers the lone Bulldog named to All-MW Preseason Team

Ronnie Rivers’ week of preseason accolades continued Thursday as he was named to the Preseason All-MW Team. 

The senior running back was the lone Bulldog to have a place on the honorary team. 

Thursday’s accolade is a continuation from last year’s season-ending all-conference team for Fresno State. Rivers earned a spot on the All-Mountain West First team last year, while two other Bulldogs were named to the Second Team. 

This is the first time in his career that Rivers has been listed as a member of the preseason all-conference team. 

Earlier this week, Rivers was named to the Maxwell Award watch list – which is given to the nation’s best player – as well as the Doak Walker Award watch list for the county’s top running back. 

Rivers led the Bulldogs in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with 507 rushing yards, and he found the end zone 7 times on the ground as well. He also added 265 receiving yards out of the backfield. 

His 136.3 all-purpose yards per game was the best in the Mountain West last season. 

Despite his strong resume, Rivers was not selected as the Mountain West Preseason Offensive Player of the year. 

That honor went to Nevada quarterback Carson Strong, who won the year-end award last season. 

Strong led the Mountain West with 2,858 passing yards and 27 touchdowns through the air, to go along with a 70.1 percent completion rate. His 317.7 passing yards per game ranked seventh in the nation. 

Notably, Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener outperformed Strong with 336.8 passing yards per game, placing him fourth in the country. 

San Jose State defensive lineman Cade Hall was named as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. As with Strong on offense, Hall is expected to repeat his performance from last year when he was named the year-end Defensive Player of the Year. 

Utah State kick returner Savon Scarver repeated as the Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year. Last year, Scarver returned a kick for a 94-yard touchdown against the Bulldogs. 

2021 Mountain West Preseason All-Conference Team

Offense

QB Carson Strong* Jr. Nevada

WR Romeo Doubs* Sr. Nevada

WR Khalil Shakir* Sr. Boise State

RB Xazavian Valladay* Jr. Wyoming
RB Ronnie Rivers* Sr. Fresno State
OL Keegan Cryder* Jr. Wyoming
OL John Ojukwu** Sr. Boise State

OL Jack Snyder* Sr. San Jose State
OL Zachary Thomas** Sr. San Diego State
OL Jake Stetz** Sr. Boise State
TE Cole Turner* Sr. Nevada

Defense

DL Cade Hall* Sr. San Jose State
DL Cameron Thomas* Jr. San Diego State
DL Scott Patchan* Sr. Colorado State
DL Wiliami Fehoko* Jr. San Jose State
LB Chad Muma* Jr. Wyoming
LB Caden McDonald* Sr. San Diego State
LB Darius Muasau* So. Hawaii
DB Kekaula Kaniho** Sr. Boise State
DB Jerrick Reed II* Sr. New Mexico
DB Cortez Davis** Sr. Hawaii
DB Tre Jenkins** Jr. San Jose State

Specialists

P Ryan Stonehouse* Sr. Colorado State

PK Brandon Talton* Jr. Nevada

PR Calvin Turner Sr. Hawaii

KR Savon Scarver Sr. Utah State

* – member of the 2020 All-Mountain West First Team

** – member of the 2020 All-Mountain West Second Team

Photo: Fresno State Athletics

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.