CLEVELAND, Ohio – Phil Steele’s preseason All-Mountain West teams were announced on Tuesday and 12 Colorado State football players received recognition.
Tight end Kivon Cartwright, linebacker Cory James and kicker Jared Roberts were the three Rams who earned first-team accolades.
Cartwright, the second CSU tight end earning Phil Steele’s preseason first-team All-Mountain West honors in as many years, enters the 2014 season having played in 32 games and pulling in 56 catches for 835 yards and nine touchdowns. Cartwright is coming off a career year in 2013, earning honorable mention All-Mountain West recognition while catching 27 passes for 462 yards and a team high six touchdown receptions. The senior-to-be was named to the Mackey Award Midseason watch list as a junior.
James, who was named to Phil Steele’s second team in 2013, enters his junior season needing just 1.5 sacks to enter CSU’s career top 10 after only 25 games. In his two-year career, James has registered 114 tackles, including 22.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. This marks the fifth consecutive year the Rams have had a linebacker named to Phil Steele’s first team.
Roberts, who was named to Phil Steele’s preseason third-team in 2013, earns first-team preseason honors for the first time in his career. The native of Littleton, Colo., earned first-team All-Mountain West honors by vote of coaches and media in 2013, as well as being a Lou Groza Award semifinalist. Roberts holds the school record for career field goal percentage (.882). Last season, Roberts connected on 21-of-24 field goals, including a career-best 54-yarder vs. Air Force. He also was a perfect 58-for-58 on PATs, the most made and attempted PATs in school history.
Offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo, linebacker Max Morgan and safety Trent Matthews were named to Phil Steele’s second team, while wide receiver Rashard Higgins and punt returner Joe Hansley earned third-team nods.
Quarterback Garrett Grayson, who earned fourth-team honors behind Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton, Nevada’s Cody Fajardo and Boise State’s Grant Hedrick, returns in 2014 as the Mountain West’s top passer (in terms of passing yards) from 2013. Grayson passed for a single-season CSU record 3,696 yards and 23 touchdowns. The 3,696 passing yards ranked 13th among all FBS quarterbacks last season. Grayson is joined by defensive lineman Terry Jackson, linebacker Aaron Davis and cornerback Bernard Blake on the fourth team.
The 12 CSU players earning preseason honors is the second-most in the Mountain West, behind Boise State which had 16 players on the four teams.