Dec. 6, 2011
SAN DIEGO - Seven San Diego State football players have been named to the 2011 all-Mountain West first team, the league announced Tuesday afternoon. The seven first-team selections are the most by an Aztec squad in the 13-year history of the league and the most overall since the 1974 squad landed eight on the all-Pacific Coast Athletic Association first team.
Running back Ronnie Hillman (La Habra, Calif.), tight end Gavin Escobar (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) and offensive tackle Tommie Draheim (Lakeside, Calif.) each represented the SDSU offense on the first team, while linebacker Miles Burris (Granite Bay, Calif.), and cornerbacks Leon McFadden (Inglewood, Calif.) and Larry Parker (San Diego, Calif.) were defensive first-team selections. Punter Brian Stahovich (Solana Beach, Calif.) was also chosen to the first team.
Center Alec Johnson (Denver, Colo.) and defensive tackle Jerome Long (Los Osos, Calif.) each garnered second-team accolades, while defensive back Nat Berhe (Colton, Calif.) was an honorable mention pick.
Hillman picked up his second straight first-team honor after setting a conference record with 1,656 rushing yards on 287 carries to go along with 19 touchdowns. The sophomore ranks third nationally in rushing yards per game (138.0), 11th in all-purpose yards per game (156.4) and 12th in points per game (12.00). Hillman's 1,656 rushing yards are the second most in school history, eclipsing each of NFL and Aztec Hall-of-Fame member Marshall Faulk three seasons, and trailing only George Jones' 1,842 yards set during the 1995 campaign. Hillman has nine, 100-yard rushing games and six, 150-yard contests in 2011, both of which have tied a school record. Additionally, his 19 rushing touchdowns are the fourth-most in a season in school history.
Escobar was named to the first team after being picked as a second-team selection as a freshman in 2010. Escobar has 47 catches for 710 yards this season, with a team-high seven touchdown receptions. Escobar's 47 catches and the 710 yards are the most by a San Diego State tight end since Kerry Reed-Martin (49 receptions, 719 yards) in 1987. Escobar's 59.17 receiving yards per game ranks third in the country among tight ends. He has two, 100-yard receiving games this season.
Draheim, meanwhile, becomes the first Aztec offensive lineman to be named first-team all-league since Brendan Darby in 2003. It is the first all-conference selection for the senior in his collegiate career. Draheim helped SDSU rank 10th in the country in fewest sacks allowed (0.83 per game) and tied for 15th in fewest tackles for a loss allowed (4.42). Draheim, who has started 29 consecutive games, also blocked for Hillman, the No. 3 rusher in the nation.
Burris picked up his second consecutive first-team all-Mountain West selection, the first San Diego State linebacker to accomplish the feat since All-American Kirk Morrison did so from 2002-04. The senior leads the Aztecs in tackles (72), tackles for loss (19.0), sacks (8.0) and fumble recoveries (3). He ranks eighth in the country in tackles for a loss (1.58/g), tied for 19th in fumble recoveries (0.25/g) and tied for 32nd in sacks (0.67/g). Burris has at least 0.5 tackles for a loss in 18 of the past 19 games.
McFadden earned first-team accolades for the second consecutive season, the first SDSU defensive back to do that since Will Demps in 2000-01. On the season, McFadden has 42 tackles (33 solo), including 2.5 for a loss, 14 pass breakups, two interceptions and a sack. The junior ranks in a tie for 23rd in the country with 1.17 PBU's per game.
Parker picked up his first all-league award setting career highs in every category. The senior had 56 tackles (2.5 TFL), seven interceptions, seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. His seven picks are tied with two others for the second most in the nation, the most by a San Diego State player since 1969 and tied for the third most in a season in program history. Additionally, Parker's 14 overall pass deflections are tied with McFadden and eight others for 23rd (1.17 per game) in the country.
Stahovich was named to the first team for the second consecutive season after being picked as a second-team honoree in 2009. No other punter in school history has been named a first-team all-league selection twice over their career. This year, Stahovich ranks 24th in the nation in punting with a 43.37 average. Seventeen of his 57 punts have been inside the 20 and 23 have been fair caught. Only 13 of the 57 punts have been returned.
Johnson garnered second-team honors at center after playing left guard in 2010. Despite breaking his snapping hand (right) in the opener, he never missed a game. Like Draheim, Johnson helped the Aztecs rank 10th in the country in fewest sacks allowed (0.83 per game) and tied for 15th in fewest tackles for a loss allowed (4.42).
Long picked up his first career all-conference award with a second-team selection. Long ranked second on the team in tackles (69), tackles for a loss (8.0) and sacks (5.0). Long, who had three games with 10 or more tackles this year, ranked second in the Mountain West among defensive lineman with 5.8 stops per game. He finished the season with career-high marks in all major defensive categories.
Berhe was the lone SDSU honorable mention pick after registering career-best marks in tackles (57), tackles for loss (3.0), interceptions (2), pass breakups (4) and forced fumbles (1). The sophomore safety ranked third on the team in tackles, tied for second in interceptions and tied for third in PBU's.
San Diego State will play Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 17 at the New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, La. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. CT/6 p.m. PT.
2011 Mountain West All-Conference Football Awards (SDSU only)