Eight Cowboy football players earn all-MW honors

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ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (Dec. 4, 2019) — The Mountain West Conference released its 2019 All-Conference Football Team on Wednesday and eight Wyoming Cowboys were honored. Three Cowboys earned First Team honors. 

Those three were senior safety Alijah Halliburton, sophomore running back Xazavian Valladay and senior linebacker Logan Wilson.

Sophomore offensive lineman Keegan Cryder and senior wide receiver/punt returner Austin Conway were named to the second team. Senior cornerback Tyler Hall, junior offensive guard Logan Harris and senior linebacker Cassh Maluia were named Honorable Mention All-MW.

Wilson earned All-MW honors for the third-straight season after being named Honorable Mention last season and Second Team All-MW in 2017. He was named the MW Freshman of Year in 2016 marking four straight seasons earning a postseason award from the conference. It is also the third-straight season Hall has earned Honorable Mention All-MW honors.

Halliburton, Valladay, Conway, Cryder, Harris, and Maluia all earned All-Conference nods for the first time. The eight All-Conference honorees are the most for the Pokes since the 2016 season when eight players were also selected.

Wilson and Harris are the first Wyoming natives to be named All-Conference in the same season since tight end Wade Betschart and safety John Wendling during the 2006 season.

The All-Conference Team was selected in a vote of the 12 Mountain West head football coaches and media members from across the Mountain West.

 

First Team Winners (Alphabetically)

Alijah Halliburton, Sr., SS, Aurora, Colo. (Overland)

*Alijah Halliburton ranks No. 2 in the MW and No. 11 in the nation in total tackles, averaging 9.9 per game (119 total tackles).

*The strong safety also ranks No. 3 in the MW and No. 20 in the nation in solo tackles per game, averaging 5.3 solo tackles per game (59 solo tackles).

*Halliburton was named the Bronko Nagurski Trophy National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in a 37-31 win over Missouri.  He had 17 tackles, including 13 solo tackles, 1.0 TFL for -4 yards and a fumble recovery and return for 79 yards that set up a Wyoming field goal.

*He was also named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Wyoming’s win over Missouri.

*Halliburton leads Wyoming in tackles in 2019, with 119 total tackles.  This is the first 100-tackle season of his career.

*He also has 10.0 tackles for losses for 38 yards, 2.0 sacks for 16 yards, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery that he returned for 79 yards against Missouri to set up a field goal.

*Halliburton’s 17 tackles vs. Missouri and 17 tackles at Tulsa tie for the third-highest individual tackle total of the season in the Mountain West.

*He has had six double-figure tackle games this season, including 17 vs. Missouri, 17 at Tulsa, 13 vs. Colorado State and Air Force, 11 vs. UNLV and 10 at Boise State.  He also added 8 tackles at San Diego State, 7 vs. New Mexico, 7 vs. Nevada and 7 at Utah State.

*He leads a Wyoming defense that ranks No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the NCAA in Scoring Defense, allowing only 17.8 points per game.

*He also leads a Cowboy defense that ranks No. 2 in the MW and No. 9 in the country in rushing defense, allowing opponents only 99.4 yards rushing per game.

*He is a leader of a Cowboy defense that ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the nation in Red Zone Defense, allowing opponents to convert only 70.7 percent of their red-zone opportunities. 

Xazavian Valladay, So., RB, Matteson, Ill. (Brother Rice)

*Xazavian Valladay ranks No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 29 in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 96.5 rushing yards.

*He recorded the first 1,000-yard rushing season of his career, with 1,061 yards in 11 games he has played.  He has also rushed for five touchdowns.

*Valladay was amazingly consistent in 2019, recording six 100-yard rushing games.

*His 100-yard rushing games included: 206 vs. Nevada, 154 vs. Colorado State, 127 vs. New Mexico, 124 at Boise State, 118 vs. Missouri and 114 at Utah State.

*Five of his 100-yard rushing games this season came in consecutive weeks, including 127 vs. New Mexico, 206 vs. Nevada, 124 at Boise State, 114 at Utah State and 154 vs. Colorado State.

*Valladay’s 206 rushing yards against Nevada was the most by a Mountain West Conference player against an MW conference opponent this season.

*He also had 208 all-purpose yards vs. Nevada, including 206 rushing and 74 receiving, earning him MW Offensive Player of the Week honors.

*His 37 carries against Boise State was the season-high by any Mountain West player this season, and tied a Wyoming single-game school record.

*He leads a Wyoming offense that ranks No. 2 in the MW and No. 28 in the NCAA in rushing offense, averaging 208.5 rushing yards per game as a team.

 

Logan Wilson, Sr., LB, Casper, Wyo. (Natrona County)

*Logan Wilson is one of six national finalists for the 2019 Butkus Award and is the only finalist from a non-autonomous five conference team.

*Wilson ranks No. 3 in the Mountain West and No. 23 in the nation in total interceptions, with four.

*He ranks No. 6 in the MW and No. 51 in the nation in total tackles, averaging 8.2 per game (98 total tackles).

*Wilson ranks No. 8 in the MW in passes defended, with 11 (4 interceptions and 7 pass breakups).

*He was named the Reese’s Senior Bowl Senior of the Week for his performance vs. Boise State, with 10 tackles, 1 interception, and 1.0 sack.

*He also has 7.5 tackles for losses for 23 yards, 1.0 sack for 7 yards and 1 forced fumble for the 2019 season.

*Wilson intercepted a pass in three consecutive games – at Boise State, at Utah State and vs. Colorado State.  His fourth interception came earlier in the season against UNLV.

*He has had four double-figure tackle games this season, including 13 vs. Missouri, 11 at Texas State, 11 vs. Idaho and 10 at Boise State.  He also had 8 tackles at Utah State, 8 vs. Nevada, 8 vs. Colorado State and 7 at San Diego State.

*His 98 tackles this season has moved him into the No. 4 spot in Mountain West history in career tackles with 414.

*He leads a Wyoming defense that ranks No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the NCAA in Scoring Defense, allowing only 17.8 points per game.

*He also leads a Cowboy defense that ranks No. 2 in the MW and No. 9 in the country in rushing defense, allowing opponents only 99.4 yards rushing per game.

*He is the leader of a Cowboy defense that ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the nation in Red Zone Defense, allowing opponents to convert only 70.7 percent of their red-zone opportunities.

Second Team Winners (Alphabetically)

Austin Conway, Sr., Punt Returner, Aurora, Colo. (Overland)

*Austin Conway led the Mountain West in punt returns for much of the 2019 season, and currently ranks No. 2 in the conference and No. 11 in the nation, averaging 11.1 yards per return.

*Conway has the most punt return attempts in the Mountain West this season, with 31.

*He also has the most total punt return yardage in the conference this season, with 344 yards.

*His best individual games returning punts included: vs. Missouri (3 returns for 37 yards, 12.3 avg.); vs. UNLV (5 returns for 92 yards, 15.3 avg.); at Utah State (4 returns for 49 yards, 12.3 avg.); vs. Nevada (5 returns for 57 yards, 11.4 avg.); vs. Idaho (3 returns for 49 yards, 16.3 avg.); and at San Diego State (3 returns for 28 yards, 9.3 avg.).

*Conway has a long punt return of 45 yards this season.

*Conway has 762 yards of all-purpose yardage this season, and he is averaging 63.5 all-purpose yards per game.  That includes 355 yards in punt returns, 296 receiving yards, 27 rushing yards and 24 yards in kickoff returns.

*A starting wide receiver for the Cowboys, he leads Wyoming in receptions (22) and second in receiving yards (296) in 2019.

 

Keegan Cryder, So., Center, Littleton, Colo.

*Keegan Cryder has played 769 total snaps in the 2019 season.

*He leads Wyoming with over 100 Knockdown Blocks.

*Cryder has allowed only 1.0 sack for the entire 2019 season, and he has also been called for only one penalty in 12 games in 2019.

*Cryder has only missed five assignments on the year.

*He is a leader of the offensive line and makes all run & protection calls.

*The sophomore has been a key to the Wyoming offense ranking No. 2 in the MW and No. 28 in the NCAA in rushing offense, averaging 208.5 rushing yards per game as a team.

*Cryder helped pave the way for running back First Team All- MW Xazavian Valladay to record a 1,000-yard rushing season (1,061 yards) in 2019.

*Cryder is part of a Cowboy offensive line that has paved the way for four different individuals to record a total of 11, 100-yard rushing games in 2019.

*He is a leader of a Wyoming offensive line unit that was one of only two Mountain West O-Lines and one of only 24 nationally to be named to the Joe Moore Award Midseason Honor Roll for 2019.

Honorable Mention Winners (Alphabetically)

Tyler Hall, Sr., Cornerback, Hawthorne, Calif. (Junipero Serra)

*Tyler Hall has once again been Wyoming’s top cornerback in 2019.  He consistently is assigned to cover the opponents’ top receivers.

*Hall is a three-time All-Mountain West Honorable Mention honoree, and he has had his best season in 2019.

*He has recorded 36 tackles, including 25 solo tackles, one interception that he returned for 72 yards for a touchdown, six pass breakups, and one forced fumble.

*Hall’s one interception came against Texas State, which he returned 72 yards for a touchdown.

*His best tackle games came against Colorado State (5 tackles), San Diego State (4), Utah State (4), New Mexico (4) and Idaho (4).

*An outstanding kick returner, Hall averaged 37.5 yards per kick return this season, which if he had met the NCAA minimum for the number of returns would have ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West.

*Hall returned six kickoffs in 2019 for 225 yards, which a long return of 58 yards.

*He leads a Wyoming defense that ranks No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the NCAA in Scoring Defense, allowing only 17.8 points per game.

*He also leads a Cowboy defense that ranks No. 2 in the MW and No. 9 in the country in rushing defense, allowing opponents only 99.4 yards rushing per game.

*He is a leader of a Cowboy defense that ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the nation in Red Zone Defense, allowing opponents to convert only 70.7 percent of their red-zone opportunities.

 

Logan Harris, Jr., Right Guard, Torrington, Wyo. (Torrington)

*Logan Harris has played 542 total snaps in the nine games he has started during the 2019 season.  (He missed two games midseason due to injury.)

*Harris has been credited with over 50 Knockdown Blocks in 2019.

*He has allowed only ½ of a sack for the entire 2019 season.

*The junior has only missed 4 assignments all season.

*The junior has been a key to the Wyoming offense ranking No. 2 in the MW and No. 28 in the NCAA in rushing offense, averaging 208.5 rushing yards per game as a team.

*Harris helped pave the way for running back First Team All- MW Xazavian Valladay to record a 1,000-yard rushing season (1,061 yards) in 2019.

*Harris is part of a Cowboy offensive line that has paved the way for four different individuals to record a total of 11, 100-yard rushing games in 2019.

*Harris is a leader of a Wyoming offensive line unit that was one of only two Mountain West O-Lines and one of only 24 nationally to be named to the Joe Moore Award Midseason Honor Roll for 2019.

Cassh Maluia, Sr., Linebacker, Compton, Calif. (Paramount)

*Cassh Maluia has recorded 57 tackles, with 7.0 tackles for loss and two interceptions for 30 yards in the 2019 season.

*His first interception of the season came against Missouri.  He intercepted Mizzou in the end zone to stop a Tiger scoring threat on way to a 37-31 Wyoming victory.

*His second interception of the season was vs. UNLV.  Maluia returned the interception 30 yards to the Rebel four-yard line to set up a touchdown one play later in a 53-17 Cowboy victory.

*Maluia’s two interceptions in 2019 rank him No. 2 on the Wyoming roster, and he is tied for No. 16 in the Mountain West this season from his linebacker spot.

*His best individual tackle games came against San Diego State (9 tackles), Boise State (7 tackles) and Utah State (7 tackles).

*He also had outstanding games against Nevada (5 tackles), Idaho (5 tackles) and Colorado State (4 tackles). He finished the regular season with six tackles and three for loss at Air Force.

*He leads a Wyoming defense that ranks No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the NCAA in Scoring Defense, allowing only 17.8 points per game.

*He also leads a Cowboy defense that ranks No. 2 in the MW and No. 9 in the country in rushing defense, allowing opponents only 99.4 yards rushing per game.

*He is a leader of a Cowboy defense that ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the nation in Red Zone Defense, allowing opponents to convert only 70.7 percent of their red-zone opportunities.