Air Force football garners loftiest preseason accolades in 25 years as Mountain West picks are released

Air Force will enter the 2023 with its loftiest outside expectations in more than two decades.
The Falcons were picked to finish second in the now-divisionless, 12-team Mountain West. Coach Troy Calhoun’s team also landed four players on the preseason All-Conference team, tying 2011 for the most ever.
Air Force first baseman Sam Kulasingam drafted in the 17th round of MLB Draft by Toronto Blue Jays
Senior running back John Lee Eldridge III, senior offensive lineman Thor Paglialong, junior defensive lineman Payton Zdroik and senior defensive back Trey Taylor were all preseason All-Mountain West picks. To place that in perspective, the team had three total preseason selections over a six-year stretch starting in 2013 — and two of those were one player (Weston Steelhammer).
As a team, the Falcons haven’t been picked second since they were slotted behind BYU in the conference’s inaugural season in 1999. The Mountain West moved to a two-division format from 2013 to 2022, and the Falcons were never picked to win their division (they were picked second twice, in 2016 and 2022).
Air Force has won at least 10 games in its past three full seasons (discounting the six-game 2020 season). They are 31-8 in that time, capping each of the three seasons with a bowl victory over a team from a Power Five conference.
Boise State was picked to win the conference, garnering 28 of the 37 first-place votes from the media panel. Air Force was second, receiving two first-place votes. Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State rounded out the top five.
Colorado State, entering its second season under coach Jay Norvell, was picked seventh.
The Ramps placed three players on the All-Mountain West Preseason Team, Tory Horton, who was selected as a wide receiver and punt returner, defensive lineman Mohamed Kamara and defensive back Jack Howell.
Air Force baseball likely to retain star Sam Kulasingam as the junior goes unselected on second day of MLB Draft
Air Force baseball likely to retain star Sam Kulasingam as the junior goes unselected on second day of MLB Draft
2023 Mountain West Predicted Order of Finish
1. Boise State (28) 433
2. Air Force (2) 364
3. Fresno State (5) 351
4. San Diego State (1) 338
5. San Jose State 293
6. Wyoming 281
7. Colorado State 201
8. Utah State 194
9. UNLV (1) 177
10. Hawaii 102
11. Nevada 92
12. New Mexico 60
2023 All-Mountain West Preseason Team
QB Chevan Cordeiro**, sr., San José State
WR Tory Horton*, sr., Colorado State
WR Justin Lockhart, jr., San José State
RB John Lee Eldridge III, sr., Air Force
RB George Holani**, sr., Boise State
OL Thor Paglialong, sr., Air Force
OL Cade Beresford**, sr., Boise State
OL Mose Vavao, sr., Fresno State
OL Cade Bennett**, jr., San Diego State
OL Frank Crum, sr., Wyoming
TE Mark Redman, sr., San Diego State
DL Payton Zdroik, jr., Air Force
DL Mohamed Kamara**, sr., Colorado State
DL Devo Bridges, sr., Fresno State
DL Jordan Bertagnole, jr., Wyoming
DL DeVonne Harris, jr., Wyoming
LB DJ Schramm**, sr., Boise State
LB Cody Moon, jr., San Diego State
LB Easton Gibbs*, jr., Wyoming
DB Trey Taylor, sr., Air Force
DB Jack Howell*, jr., Colorado State
DB Cam Stone, sr., Hawai’i
DB Ike Larsen**, so., Utah State
P Jack Browning*, sr., San Diego State
PK John Hoyland*, jr., Wyoming
PR Tory Horton, sr., Colorado State
KR Christian Washington, so., New Mexico
Offensive Player of the Year: Chevan Cordeiro, Sr., QB, San Jose State
Defensive Player of the Year: Easton Gibbs, Jr., LB, Wyoming
Special Teams Player of the Year: Jack Browning, Sr., PK/P, San Diego State
* - member of the 2022 All-Mountain West first team
** - member of the 2022 All-Mountain West second team
All-Time Preseason All-Mountain West selections from Air Force
1999-2000 – Unavailable
2001 (3) – WR Ryan Fleming, OL Ben Miller, DL Justin Pendry
2002 – None
2003 (2) – OL Jesse Underbakke, PK Joey Ashcroft
2004 – None
2005 (1) – OL Jon Wilson,
2006 (1) – DL Gilberto Perez
2007 (1) – LB Drew Fowler
2008 (2) – OL Nick Charles, DL/LB Ryan Kemp
2009 (2) – OL Nick Charles, DB Chris Thomas
2010 (3) – RB Jared Tew, DB Reggie Rembert, DB Anthony Wright
2011 (4) – OL A.J. Wallerstein, DB Anthony Wright, DB Jon Davis, Ret. Jonathan Warzeka
2012 (2) – LB Alex Means, PK Parker Herrington
2013 – None
2014 – None
2015 (2) – DL Alex Hansen, DB Weston Steelhammer
2016 (1) – DB Weston Steelhammer
2017 – None
2018 – None
2019 (2) – DL Jordan Jackson, DB Jeremy Fejedelem
2020 (3) – OL Parker Ferguson, OL Nolan Laufenberg, LB Demonte Meeks
2021 – None
2022 (3) – RB Brad Roberts, OL Isaac Cochran, LB Vince Sanford
2023 (4) – RB John Lee Eldridge III, OL Thor Paglialong, DL Payton Zdroik, DB Trey Taylor

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