The Mountain West announced its 2007 All-Conference football teams and individual award winners today as selected by the nine head coaches and media panel. Air Force running back/wide receiver Chad Hall was chosen as the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, while UNLV linebacker Beau Bell was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year. Utah place kicker/punter Louie Sakoda earned the MWC Special Teams Player of the Year award for the second straight season. BYU running back Harvey Unga was honored as MWC Freshman of the Year, while Troy Calhoun of Air Force was selected as the MWC Coach of the Year.
Offensive Player of the Year
Chad Hall, Sr., RB/WR, Air Force
Hall is Air Force's second MWC Offensive Player of the Year (Mike Thiessen-2000).
Hall is the fourth running back since the inception of the MWC to be named offensive player of the year.
Only player in the nation to lead his team in rushing (1,415), receiving (488) and all-purpose yardage (2,504).
Leads the MWC and ranks 16th nationally in rushing average (117.92 ypg).
Leads the MWC and ranks third nationally in all-purpose yardage (208.67 ypg).
Set new MWC single-season records for all-purpose yardage in overall (2,504 yards) and conference-only games (1,617 yards).The previous overall mark was held by BYU's Luke Staley with 2,018 yards in 2001, while the conference-only record was originally set by Wyoming's Jovon Bouknight with 1,475 yards in 2005.
Has the second-most rushing yards in a single-season in school history behind Beau Morgan's 1,494 yards (1996), and needs just 80 in the bowl game to set a new Academy standard.
Named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week three times in 2007.
Defensive Player of the Year
Beau Bell, Sr., LB, UNLV
Bell is UNLV's third MWC Defensive Player of the Year (Kevin Thomas-2001; Jamaal Brimmer-2002).
Bell is the fourth linebacker since the inception of the MWC to be named defensive player of the year. He is the first linebacker in UNLV history to garner defensive player of the year accolades.
Leads the MWC and ranks 20th nationally in total tackles (126-10.5 avg.).
Leads the MWC and ranks 11th nationally in solo tackles (79-6.6 avg.).
Leads the MWC and is tied for fourth nationally in forced fumbles (5-0.42 avg.).
Recorded four interceptions on the season, including one for a touchdown against Wyoming.
Named the MWC Defensive Player of the Week three times in 2007. He is the only player in league history to be named defensive player of the week three times in the same season.
Special Teams Player of the Year
Louie Sakoda, Jr., PK/P, Utah
Sakoda was a co-winner of the inaugural MWC Special Teams Player of the Year award in 2006.
Leads the MWC and ranks eighth nationally in punting average (44.8).
Has pinned teams inside their 20 on 27 of his 69 total punts (39.1%).
Has recorded 21 punts that went 50 yards or longer.
Has made 19-of-22 field goals, including 17-of-20 on field goals 40 yards or longer.
Has converted 33-of-35 point-after attempts.
Named the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week four times in 2007.
Freshman of the Year
Harvey Unga, Fr., RB, BYU
Unga is the third freshman of the year honoree for BYU since the inception of the MWC in 1999. Running back Luke Staley earned the award in 1999 and wide receiver Austin Collie won it in 2004.
Ranks third in the MWC and 31st in the nation with 100.9 rushing yards per game. Unga also is third among freshman rushers in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 1,211 yards.
Unga is the first freshman at BYU and third in MWC history to rush for over 1,000 yards. Entering the Las Vegas Bowl, he is six yards shy of breaking the MWC Freshman rushing record of 1,216 yards held by Air Force's Keith Boyea (2001).
Is the first running back in school history to record seven 100-yard rushing games during his freshman season.
Set a new MWC record for all-purpose yardage by a freshman with 1,840 yards, shattering the previous record of 1,328 yards held by New Mexico's DonTrell Moore (2002).
Selected as the MWC Offensive Player of the Week three times this season.
Coach of the Year
Troy Calhoun, Air Force
Selected as conference coach of the year in his first season at the Air Force Academy. Becomes the third first-year coach in MWC history to earn the award in their inaugural season (Gary Crowton, BYU-2001 and Urban Meyer, Utah-2003).
Becomes the first Air Force head coach to win a conference coach of the year honor since Fisher DeBerry in 1998.
There were 23 coaching changes in 2007. Of those 23, Calhoun is one of five first-year coaches to win at least nine games and one of eight to earn a bowl bid season.
Four student-athletes were repeat first-team all-Conference selections in 2007, including New Mexico WR Travis Brown and RB Rodney Ferguson and TCU DL Chase Ortiz and PK/PR Brian Bonner.
TCU DE Chase Ortiz is the only three-time first-team all-conference honoree on this year's squad.
Chad Hall (RB-Air Force), Tyler Donaldson (DL-New Mexico) and DeAndre Wright (DB-New Mexico) are all first-team selections in 2007 after being second-team honorees in 2006.
TCU has claimed a first-team kick returner honoree in each of its three years as a member of the MWC, including PK/PR Brian Bonner in 2006 and 2007.
New Mexico has had a first-team running back each of the last six years, including current honoree Rodney Ferguson each of the last two seasons.
Running back Harvey Unga of BYU was the lone freshman selected to either of the all-conference teams. Unga is the sixth freshman, and third running back, in MWC history to earn all-conference accolades (DonTrell Moore, TB, New Mexico-2002 (first team); Lynell Hamilton, RB, San Diego State-2003 (first team); Hoost Marsh, KR, Wyoming-2004 (first team); Jason Phillips, LB, TCU-2005 (second team); Ryan Wolfe, WR, UNLV-2006 (first team).
Of the 50 first and second-team selections, 32 were seniors, 10 juniors, seven sophomores and one freshman. The first team had 18 seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and one freshman.
Utah placed the most student-athletes on the two all-conference teams with 10 selections, followed by league-champion BYU and New Mexico with nine apiece. Air Force and TCU were next in line with six student-athletes each, followed by San Diego State and Wyoming with three apiece and Colorado State and UNLV with two each.
New Mexico had the most first-team selections with eight, followed by BYU with six and Air Force with four.
2007 Mountain West Conference Postseason Football Honors