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2009 Mountain West Preview - Unit Rankings
UNLV QB Omar Clayton
UNLV QB Omar Clayton
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 8, 2009


2009 CollegeFootballNews.com Preview - Mountain West Unit Rankings

2009 CFN Mountain West Preview

Unit Rankings

Team Previews & Predictions
- Air Force | BYU | Colorado State | New Mexico
- San Diego State | TCU | UNLV | Utah | Wyoming

- 2009 CFN Mountain West Preview
- 2009 CFN All-Mountain West Team & Top 30 Players
- 2009 CFN Mountain West Team Capsules
- 2009 Mountain West Schedules & CFN Picks
- 2009 Mountain West Unit Rankings
- 2008 CFN Mountain West Preview 

Offenses

1. BYU
Only four starters are returning, with four starters gone off the line and the receivers, including star Austin Collie, have to be replaced, but the attack should be explosive once again with QB Max Hall appearing to be ready for a special season. He makes everyone around him better, and the receiving corps should step up and shine with O'Neill Chambers and McKay Jacobson good ones to get excited about. Tight end Dennis Pitta is a special pass-catching tight end, while Andrew George is hardly a No. 2 with great hands and nice route-running ability. Two-time, 1,000-yard rusher Harvey Unga will handle the ground game working behind a massive, line that should be strong with a little bit of time. Matt Reynolds is one of the nation's best left tackles and should keep Hall clean.
 
2. Utah
3. TCU
4. Colorado State
5. Air Force
6. UNLV
7. New Mexico
8. San Diego State
9. Wyoming

Quarterbacks

1. BYU
Max Hall is a good player who has a ton of experience and is in a great system. The numbers will be there and he'll be a lock for all-star honors as long as he stays healthy, but it'll all come down to the big games. If he's able to light up Oklahoma in the season opener, he and BYU will be on the national map for the rest of the year. If he has problems, he'll be a great Mountain West player, but will be out of the All-America discussion. The backups are fine, but they need more time.
 
2. TCU
3. Utah
4. New Mexico
5. UNLV
6. Air Force
7. Colorado State
8. San Diego State
9. Wyoming
 
Running Backs

1. Utah
It'll be a different look for the running game putting more pressure on Asiata to stay healthy and carry more of the offense. Darrell Mack and his 541 yards are gone, but the ground game should be even better with QB Corbin Louks running early and often and the expected emergence of Eddie Wide and Sausan Shakerin to make the difference. There will be a good mix of power, speed, and quickness from the three backs in a steady rotation. It'll be a shock if the Utes don't tear off more far more than 2,000 rushing yards.
 
2. TCU
3. BYU
4. New Mexico
5. Air Force
6. Colorado State
7. UNLV
8. Wyoming
9. San Diego State
Receivers

1. Colorado State
The 2007 receiving corps was supposed to be among the best in CSU history, but it wasn't. Last year's receiving corps was raw but unproven, and it turned out to be terrific. Now, with Dion Morton and Rashaun Greer retuning to form a tremendous 1-2 punch, the receiving corps will be a major strength. There's even more speed and athleticism behind the two stars, and there will be plenty of options for the coaching staff to play around with. The team needs to develop some of the younger stars to be ready to hit the ground running next year, but players like Matt Yemm and Marquise Law could make big impacts this season.

2. BYU
3. Utah
4. UNLV
5. TCU
6. San Diego State
7. New Mexico
8. Wyoming
9. Air Force

Offensive Lines

1. Air Force
Unlike last year when there was a slew of major changed needing to be made, this year's line is experienced and talented with guard Nick Charles and tackle Chris Campbell among the best in the Mountain West. The line that led the nation in sacks allowed and the Mountain West in rushing will be every bit as good unless injuries strike early on. There's a good group of talents waiting in the wings, but there's no backup experience.

2. TCU
3. Colorado State
4. Utah
5. New Mexico
6. BYU
7. Wyoming
8. UNLV
9. San Diego State

Defenses

1. TCU
Gone from the nation's No. 1 defense, No. 1 run defense, No 2 in sacks and No. 2 scoring defense are the two first-team All-Mountain West linebackers in the 4-2-5 scheme, two of the three starting safeties, both of them all-stars, and three starters off the line including two first-team All-Mountain West tackles. So why doesn't there appear to be even the slightest bit of panic? Maybe it's because the defense will be even faster. Daryl Washington is about to become a superstar at linebacker, there's tremendous quickness all across the line to help out All-America DE Jerry Hughes, and there are lightning fast defensive backs in bunches to rotate in the open spots. The corner tandem of Rafael Priest and Nick Sanders should be among the best in the nation. There's even more of a chip on the defense's shoulder with all the new starters, and while it might not be as good as it was last year, it should still be a killer.

2. Utah
3. BYU
4. Wyoming
5. Air Force
6. UNLV
7. New Mexico
8. San Diego State
9. Colorado State

Defensive Lines

1. TCU
Second in the nation in sacks, eighth in tackles for loss, and first against the run. The defensive front spearheaded a special season, and now three starters are gone. Don’t look for Jerry Hughes to have as good a season now that everyone will throw the kitchen sink out there to stop him, but the other three linemen should flourish. This will be an ultra-quick group that’ll form a good rotation as the season goes on.
 
2. Utah
3. BYU
4. Wyoming
5. UNLV
6. New Mexico
7. Air Force
8. San Diego State
9. Colorado State

Linebackers

1. Utah
Considered the team's potential weak link last year, that all ended in a big hurry with the emergence of Mike Wright in the middle and a strong year from Sylvester Stevenson on the outside. There's depth, youth to develop, and lots and lots of tackles and big plays to come.

2. TCU
3. BYU
4. UNLV
5. Air Force
6. Wyoming
7. New Mexico
8. San Diego State
9. Colorado State

Secondaries

1. TCU
Helped by one of the nation’s best pass rushes, the secondary came through with a big season allowing few big plays deep and picking off 15 passes. How good was this group? Oklahoma threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns in its win over the Horned Frogs. TCU allowed just four touchdown passes to everyone else, gave up two scoring passes over the last eight games, and didn’t give up a 300-yard day to anyone other than Sam Bradford. The corner combination of Rafael Priest and Nick Sanders returns intact, and Tejay Johnson is the lone returning starter among the three safety spots. The other two spots are fine, there are exciting backups, and another year of a pass rush to help the cause.


2. Utah
3. Wyoming
4. BYU
5. Air Force
6. Colorado State
7. San Diego State
8. New Mexico
9. UNLV

Special Teams

1. TCU
There was supposed to be a drop-off after needing to replace several great players, but the special teams turned out to be better. TCU has always had terrific special teams under Gary Patterson, and this year won’t be any different. Ross Evans is a fantastic placekicker while Jeremy Kerley is a special punt returner.
 
2. New Mexico
3. BYU
4. Air Force
5. San Diego State
6. UNLV
7. Utah
8. Wyoming
9. Colorado State