Football - Boise State Vs. Troy

Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (38) reacts to a play against Troy Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, at Albertsons Stadium in Boise.

DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS FILE PHOTO

Boise State junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday.

The Riggins native has made 113 tackles, including three sacks, has two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He is the Broncos’ first conference defensive player of the year since Korey Hall won it in the Western Athletic Conference in 2006.

“It’s a great honor, super thankful for it, got to thank everyone around me,” Vander Esch said. “... (Hall) was always a guy I thought was awesome, seeing him fly around the field and everything.”

Vander Esch, who moved into a starting role this season after being a key backup in 2016, has six games with at least 10 tackles. His 71 solo stops are No. 2 in the Mountain West. He had eight tackles last Saturday at Fresno State.

“Extremely consistent, been very productive for us, even last week, he did a lot of different things on the field,” defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “The stat line doesn’t always tell the story, he did a lot of different things on the field that helped us. He provided pressure on the quarterback, made a ton plays in the run game, did a good job in coverage.”

San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny was named offensive and special teams player of the year, Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford was named coach of the year, and UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers was named freshman of the year.

Boise State had six players named first-team All-Mountain West: Vander Esch, tight end Jake Roh, center Mason Hampton, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, STUD end Curtis Weaver and cornerback Tyler Horton.

On the Mountain West’s second team were quarterback Brett Rypien, offensive tackle Archie Lewis, STUD end Jabril Frazier, defensive tackle David Moa, safety Kekoa Nawahine and returner Avery Williams.

Earning honorable mention were offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland, offensive guard John Molchon, running back Alexander Mattison, linebacker Tyson Maeva, defensive end Durrant Miles, safety DeAndre Pierce and kicker Haden Hoggarth.

Click here for the complete all-conference teams.

Here is how I voted:

QUARTERBACK

Nick Stevens, Colorado State

Brett Rypien, Boise State

RUNNING BACK

Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

Lexington Thomas, UNLV

Diocemy Saint Juste, Hawai’i

Dalyn Dawkins, Colorado State

WIDE RECEIVER

Michael Gallup, Colorado State

Cedrick Wilson, Boise State

Wyatt Demps, Nevada

KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State

TIGHT END

Jake Roh, Boise State

Dalton Fackrell, Colorado State

OFFENSIVE LINE

Mason Hampton, Boise State

Jake Bennett, Colorado State

Aaron Mitchell, Fresno State

Dejon Allen, Hawai’i

Austin Corbett, Nevada

Tyler Roemer, San Diego State

Quin Ficklin, Utah State

Christian Cronk, Fresno State

Zack Golditch, Colorado State

Ezra Cleveland, Boise State

DEFENSIVE LINE

Carl Granderson, Wyoming

Malik Reed, Nevada

Curtis Weaver, Boise State

Youhanna Ghaifan, Wyoming

Jabril Frazier, Boise State

Tobenna Okeke, Fresno State

Mike Hughes Jr., UNLV

Malik Forrester, Fresno State

LINEBACKER

Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Frank Ginda, San Jose State

Jahlani Tavai, Hawai’i

Austin Paulhus, Nevada

Grant Ross, Air Force

Logan Wilson, Wyoming

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DEFENSIVE BACK

Jalen Davis, Utah State

Andrew Wingard, Wyoming

Kekoa Nawahine, Boise State

Tariq Thompson, San Diego State

Kameron Kelly, San Diego State

Tyler Horton, Boise State

Jaron Bryant, Fresno State

Dallin Leavitt, Utah State

PLACEKICKER

Dominik Eberle, Utah State

Jimmy Camacho, Fresno State

PUNTER

Corey Bojorquez, New Mexico

Michael Carrizosa, San Jose State

RETURN SPECIALIST

Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

Avery Williams, Boise State

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Curtis Weaver, Boise State

COACH OF THE YEAR

Jeff Tedford, Fresno State

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