Posted: Aug 13, 2019
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Six Cal Poly football players were named to Phil Steele's Preseason All-Big Sky Conference teams.
Junior linebacker Matt Shotwell landed on the first unit while four other Mustangs were placed on the second team, including senior J.J. Koski as both a wide receiver and punt return specialist.
Senior offensive lineman Tyler Whisenhunt and senior safety Kitu Humphrey also landed on the second team.
Senior linebacker Nik Navarro and senior offensive lineman Paul Trujillo-Langdon were named to the third team.
Shotwell (pictured above) led the Mustangs in tackles a year ago with 90, including 57 solo stops. He also broke up four passes, hurried the quarterback twice, recovered a fumble and forced another. His career high for tackles in a game is 16 in last year's season finale against Southern Utah.
Koski was Cal Poly's top receiver for the second straight year, catching 33 balls for 666 yards and four touchdowns. He also returned a punt 70 yards for a score against Sacramento State and enters his final Mustang season with 79 receptions for 1,443 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Humphrey made 67 tackles a year ago. He also broke up nine passes, hurried the quarterback once on a safety blitz and recovered a fumble. Humphrey has 161 career tackles, three sacks and a trio of interceptions.
Whisenhunt, who has played in every game over the last three seasons and has started 22 consecutive games the last two years, primarily on the right side of the offensive line, moves to left tackle this fall while Trujillo-Langdon moves to center after three seasons at one of the guard spots.
Both Whisenhunt and Trujillo-Langdon helped the Mustangs to a No. 4 national ranking in rushing offense, No. 1 in time of possession and No. 5 in third-down conversions in 2018.
Navarro notched 83 tackles (66 solo) from the Mike linebacker position last year. He led the team with 12 tackles for lost yardage and five sacks and also recorded two pass breakups, forced two fumbles, recovered another and hurried the quarterback once.
Named preseason Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year was Portland State tight end Charlie Taumoepeau while linebacker Dante Olson of Montana is the preseason Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year.
All selections were made by Phil Steele with the assistance of the staff from draftscout.com.
In other Mustang football news:
• Cal Poly held another scrimmage during Tuesday's morning practice session and the 30-play intrasquad yielded one touchdown on the final play.
Freshman fullback Sam Stewart Jr., who broke off runs of 11 and 12 yards earlier in the scrimmage, plunged two yards for the touchdown, capping a 75-yard drive engineered by junior quarterback Jake Jeffrey.
The defense held the offense to just a pair of first downs prior to the final drive, which also featured 12- and 13-yard runs by Jeffrey and a seven-yard pass to Ryan McNab.
Outside linebacker Aaron Cooper halted one drive with a sack. There were no turnovers in the brief scrimmage.
A situational scrimmage is planned for Saturday morning inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
• North Dakota State, which has captured seven of the last eight NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision national titles, is the No. 1 pick in the preseason media poll.
The Bison earned 142 of the 160 first-place votes and 3,971 of a possible 4,000 points in the poll conducted by STATS FCS.
James Madison is second with 14 first-place votes and 3,635 points while South Dakota State is third with one first-place vote and 3,631 votes.
Big Sky Conference members Eastern Washington and UC Davis are fourth and fifth, respectively. Weber State is No. 8, Montana State 14th and Montana rounds out the top 25.
Eastern Washington, UC Davis and Weber State shared the Big Sky title with 7-1 marks a year ago.
• Former Cal Poly cornerback Asa Jackson has moved into the coaching ranks in a big way!
Jackson (pictured at left), who played 26 games over six seasons in the National Football League, has signed on as a sports program associate and will help coach the Ohio State Buckeyes cornerbacks.
Jackson, 29, was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Sacramento native made eight starts during his six seasons in the NFL — four with the Baltimore Ravens, one with the Detroit Lions and one with the San Francisco 49ers.
He logged 35 tackles and four pass breakups in his NFL career.
Jackson appeared in 43 games (42 starts) at Cal Poly and totaled 199 tackles, 40 passes defensed, eight interceptions, three forced fumbles and one sack in his Mustang career. He was a four-time first-team All-Great West Conference honoree from 2008-11, including Freshman Player of the Year in 2008.
Jackson intercepted two passes in each season with the Mustangs. In his senior campaign (2011), he had 54 tackles (31 solo), returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns, and broke up seven other passes.