LAS VEGAS, Nev. --- Carlos Wiggins, who is tied for the New Mexico and Mountain West career record for kickoff return touchdowns, was named preseason All-Mountain West as the preseason teams and preseason polls were released by the league office on Tuesday to kick-off Mountain West Media Days.
The Media Days are being held once against at the Cosmopolitan Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lobos as a part of the Mountain Division will participate on Wednesday.
However, the preseason team and polls were released Tuesday to coincide with the West Division’s start of the festivities. Along with the news of Wiggins being named to the preseason team, the Lobos were picked to finish sixth in the Mountain Division.
Wiggins would have led the Mountain West in kickoff return average as he averaged 29.3 yards per return, but he played in just eight games due to injury (he needed to play in nine). In an ironic twist, his teammate Ridge Jones took home the return title despite averaging just a shade less than Wiggins. Still, Carlos returned one for a touchdown, the final points in a 36-30 win over Wyoming as he brought back a kick 97 yards after Wyoming had just taken a 30-28 lead.
Wiggins also had 71 yards rushing and 81 yards receiving with a touchdown last season. Overall, UNM’s senior wide receiver has 11 career touchdowns: four on kickoffs, four rushing and three receiving. He was First Team All-Mountain West, the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year, and the College Football Performance Returner of the Year in 2013.
It marks the third straight season a Lobo was selected to the return specialist position on the preseason team, and it’s the second straight year for Wiggins. Chase Clayton, who had three kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2012 was named in 2013 as the return specialist as well as Special Teams Preseason Player of the Year. Wiggins pulled the same feat last year as the 2014 Special Teams Preseason Player of the Year and the return specialist position.
For the first time under Davie, the Lobos didn’t have two players on the preseason team. Last year it was Wiggins and LaMar Bratton on the offensive line, and in 2013 it was Clayton and punter Ben Skaer.
The Lobos were selected sixth in the Mountain Division Poll with 41 points as there was a clear separation between the six teams in the division. Looming ahead of UNM in the poll is Wyoming, which UNM defeated 36-30 in the season finale in 2014. UNM was picked sixth in the division (and 11th overall) despite returning 52 letter winners from 2014 and 17 starters. The Lobos also have seven home games for just the sixth time in school history, opening with a pair at home.
Boise State was picked first in the Mountain Division and San Diego State was selected first in the West Division. Fans can follow along with Mountain West Media Days via UNM’s Media Day Central page on GoLobos.com, and also on Twitter @NewMexicoFB.
2015 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
|QB||Chuckie Keeton||Sr.||Utah State|
|WR||Rashard Higgins*||Jr.||Colorado State|
|RB||Donnel Pumphrey*||Jr.||San Diego State|
|RB||Marteze Waller**||Sr.||Fresno State|
|OL||Marcus Henry*||Sr.||Boise State|
|OL||Rees Odhiambo**||Sr.||Boise State|
|OL||Alex Fifita||Sr.||Fresno State|
|OL||Pearce Slater||Sr.||San Diego State|
|TE||Steven Walker*||Sr.||Colorado State|
|DL||Alex Hansen**||Sr.||Air Force|
|DL||Kamalei Correa*||Jr.||Boise State|
|LB||Tanner Vallejo**||Jr.||Boise State|
|LB||Nick Vigil*||Jr.||Utah State|
|DB||Weston Steelhammer*||Jr.||Air Force|
|DB||Donte Deayon**||Sr.||Boise State|
|DB||Darian Thompson*||Sr.||Boise State|
|DB||Damontae Kazee**||Jr.||San Diego State|
|PK||Donny Hageman||Sr.||San Diego State|
|Ret||Carlos Wiggins||Sr.||New Mexico|
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Rashard Higgins, Jr., WR, Colorado State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kyler Fackrell, Sr., LB, Utah State
Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year: Donny Hageman, Sr., PK, San Diego State
* - member of the 2014 All-Mountain West first team.
** - member of the 2014 All-Mountain West second team
2015 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
|1.||Boise State (28)||177|
|2.||Utah State (2)||150|
|1.||San Diego State (27)||177|
|2.||Fresno State (3)||150|
|4.||San José State||90|