Ajayi Leads Broncos On Phil Steele's All-MW Teams
Dec. 18, 2014
BOISE, Idaho - Redshirt junior running back Jay Ajayi was named to Phil Steele's All-America Third Team while a total of 10 Broncos were named to Steele's All-Mountain West Teams Thursday.
Ajayi, center Marcus Henry, STUD end Kamalei Correa and safety Darian Thompson all earned first-team All-Mountain West honors, quarterback Grant Hedrick, left tackle Rees Odhiambo, linebacker Tanner Vallejo and cornerback Donte Deayon were named to the second team, and tight end Jake Roh and defensive end Beau Martin earned third-team recognition.
Ajayi has now been named to All-America teams by seven different outlets. He had previously earned second-team recognition from FOX Sports, Sporting News and USA TODAY Sports, grabbed third-team nods from the Associated Press and Athlon Sports as well as honorable mention from Sports Illustrated.
An Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award finalist, Ajayi leads the FBS with 325 carries, ranks second with 2,225 all-purpose yards (171.2 yards per game) and fourth with 1,689 rushing yards. The Plano, Texas native also added 45 receptions for 536 yards, and is tied atop the FBS with 29 touchdowns (25 rushing, four receiving) and 174 points.
Ajayi has posted a pair of 200-yards-or-more performances as well as nine efforts of at least 100 yards, including seven in a row during No. 20 Boise State's current eight-game winning streak. Seven times over Boise State's 13 games this season Ajayi has scored at least three touchdowns, capped by a career-best and school-record-tying five touchdowns in Nov. 29's 50-19 win over Utah State.
His numbers have also put him at or near the top of multiple single-season records in the Boise State annals. He has already set the benchmarks for carries and all-purpose yards, while his total of 25 rushing touchdowns is tied for second with Ian Johnson (2006) and just one behind Brock Forsey's record of 26 set in 2002.
Thompson continued his national rise among defensive backs in 2014 and it paid off with a spot on CBSSports.com's All-America Second Team. The Lancaster, Calif. native has produced one of the best seasons for a defensive back in the nation this season, intercepting a career-high seven passes, a figure which ranks tied for third in the country and tied for the Mountain West lead. His per-game rate of 0.58 interceptions is also tied for third in the FBS.
Thompson returned one of those interceptions 36 yards for a touchdown at Wyoming (Nov. 22), and for his career has 14 picks, tied for sixth-most on Boise State's career list with Ken Johnson (1968-70) and Marty Tadman (2004-07).
He also leads the Bronco secondary with 61 tackles (44 solo) this season, with both figures ranking second-best on the team. Five of those tackles have been for loss, a career best.
Henry, who has started each of the Broncos' 13 games this season, is the leader of an offensive line unit that has paved the way for the nation's ninth-ranked scoring offense (39.8). The Broncos also rank 14th nationally in total offense (496.1), 25th nationally in passing offense (278.2) and 29th nationally in rushing offense (217.8). Henry and the Bronco line have been at the forefront of the team's rushing attack, opening holes for Ajayi's career-best campaign.
Correa's leads the Mountain West and is 21st in the nation with 10.0 sacks and is second with 17.0 tackles-for-loss (26th-best in the country), with a pair of forced fumbles (tied for fourth in the conference) also to his credit. Correa has also demonstrated his playmaking ability on special teams this season, adding a blocked punt to his ledger Nov. 8 against New Mexico.
Hedrick ranks second in the conference in total offense (3,950 yards, 303.8 yards per game), passing yardage (3,387 yards, 260.5 yards per game) and passing efficiency (157.8). Those figures also ranked in the national top 20, coming in at 14th, 24th and ninth, respectively. The Independence, Ore. native accounted for 32 touchdowns in 2014, utilizing his arm (22 passing touchdowns), feet (eight rushing) and hands (two receiving), while being Boise State's No. 2 rusher with 563 yards.
Odhiambo, despite missing four games from late September to early October, returned to bolster the Bronco offensive line at left tackle. Protecting Hedrick's blind side and blocking for Jay Ajayi, Odhiambo was part of a line that ranked 25th nationally in passing offense (278.2) and 29th nationally in rushing offense (217.8). The Mansfield, Texas native has made himself a key cog in the nation's No. 14 offense (496.1 yards per game) and ninth-ranked scoring offense (39.8).
Vallejo, at linebacker, has been all over the field for the Broncos and a nuisance for opposing offenses throughout 2014. The sophomore is Boise State's leading tackler with 86, including a team-high 54 solo tackles, and ranks second on the team and fifth in the Mountain West with 15.0 tackles-for-loss. He has made 1.5 sacks and leads the Broncos with three fumble recoveries. Vallejo has scored two touchdowns on the defensive end this year, returning fumble 31 yards for a touchdown in Sept. 13's 38-21 win at Connecticut then taking an interception back 63 yards for a score in the Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship against Fresno State on Dec. 6. In the latter game he also made a career-high 13 tackles, taking home the game's Defensive MVP award.
Boise State's second honoree from the secondary, Deayon ranked second on the team with five interceptions in addition to ranking seventh among all Broncos with 40 tackles. Deayon's five picks are the fourth-most in the Mountain West and his 0.45 interceptions per game ranks 16th in the country. He showed off his knack for electrifying plays by scoring a pair of touchdowns this season, the first a 50-yard interception return at Connecticut (Sept. 13) and the second a 75-yard punt return at Wyoming (Nov. 22). He was also the only Mountain West player this season to earn weekly honors in two different categories, claiming the defensive honor Oct. 20 then picking up the special teams award Nov. 24.
Roh made his collegiate debut in 2014 as a redshirt freshman and helped reinvigorate the tight end position. The Scottsdale, Ariz. native is fourth on the team with 33 catches, fifth on the team with 399 receiving yards and has caught a pair of touchdowns. Roh's proven himself a playmaker in the Bronco passing attack, averaging 12.1 yards per catch.
Another member of the Boise State front four on defense, Martin has been a big piece of the Bronco rush. Martin ranks second on the team in sacks (4.5) and third in tackles-for-loss (11.0), the latter figure also ninth-best among Mountain West defenders. He has also shown his versatility on defense by breaking up a pair of passes, forcing a fumble and blocking a field goal. In the Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship against Fresno State on Dec. 6, Martin also made the first interception of his career, returning it 20 yards.
No. 20 Boise State (11-2) will take on No. 10 Arizona (10-3) in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
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