Dec. 1, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Mountain West Conference announced its 2009 All-Conference Football Team on Tuesday, and seven Wyoming Cowboys received honors.
Leading the way was senior defensive tackle John Fletcher, who was named First Team All-Mountain West Conference for the first time in his career. Fletcher was also a 2009 Preseason First Team All-MWC selection, and he had earned Second Team All-MWC honors as both a sophomore and junior.
The Cowboys were the only league school, besides conference champion TCU, to capture one of the conference's four individual awards as true freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was named the MWC Freshman of the Year.
A pair of Cowboys were named Second Team All-MWC. Junior free safety Chris Prosinski and sophomore inside linebacker Brian Hendricks each earned Second Team honors. The duo ranks among the Top 10 tacklers in the nation in 2009. Hendricks ranks No. 6 in the nation, averaging 11.0 tackles per game. Prosinski is averaging 10.8 tackles per game this season to rank No. 9 in the country. Prosinski had been an Honorable Mention selection his sophomore season. Hendricks received his first All-Conference recognition.
Wyoming Cowboys earning Honorable Mention All-MWC recognition were led by senior defensive end Mitch Unrein, who was also an Honorable Mention selection as a sophomore and junior. Junior wide receiver David Leonard, and sophomore punter Austin McCoy each received Honorable Mention All-MWC recognition for the first times in their careers.
"These seven individuals had outstanding years for our team and are very deserving of these honors," said Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. "All of these individuals made a number of big plays for us during the season. Their competitive desire and hard work helped lead us to a bowl bid, while playing one of the toughest schedules in the country.
"Austyn (Carta-Samuels) had a dramatic effect on this conference and on the success of our team as a freshman. On defense, Fletch (John Fletcher) has proven to be one of the top defensive players in this conference over the course of his career. Brian (Hendricks) and Chris (Prosinski) were two of the best at their positions in the Mountain West throughout this season, and Mitch (Unrein) is probably the hardest working guy on our team. David (Leonard) has been our go to guy as a receiver and a punt returner, and Austin (McCoy) kept us in games with the way he was able to affect field position.
"I know their teammates and our coaching staff are extremely happy for them."
The MWC's other individual awards all went to members of TCU's MWC championship team. Head coach Gary Patterson was named Coach of the Year. TCU quarterback Andy Dalton was named Offensive Player of the Year. Horned Frog defensive end Jerry Hughes earned Defensive Player of the Year accolades, and return specialist Jeremy Kerley received Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
2009 Wyoming Cowboys Earning All-Mountain West Conference Honors
Freshman of the Year
Austyn Carta-Samuels, Quarterback, 6-2, 210, Fr., San Jose, Calif.
Carta-Samuels was named MWC Offensive Player of the Week three times during his true freshman season. He led the Cowboys to four fourth-quarter comeback wins versus UNLV, at Florida Atlantic, at San Diego State and at Colorado State. Carta-Samuels started the final nine games of the season for Wyoming, and posted a 5-4 record as a starter. He ranks No. 7 in the MWC in total offense (170.6 yards per game), passing efficiency (114.0 rating) and passing yards per game (146.0). He completed 174 of 295 passes (59.0 percent) for 1,752 yards, seven touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also rushed for 295 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He is one of only 14 players in the nation this season to throw a TD pass, rush for a touchdown and catch a TD pass.
First Team All-MWC
John Fletcher, Defensive Tackle, 6-6, 265, Sr., Erie, Colo.
Fletcher leads Wyoming and ranks third in the Mountain West Conference in sacks this season, with 7.0. He also ranks fifth in the MWC in tackles for losses, with 12.5. The senior blocked three kicks during the season -- two of which came at critical points in games. He blocked a field goal at San Diego State to allow the Cowboys to come-from-behind to defeat the Aztecs, 30-27, and he blocked an extra point at Colorado State, which proved to be the difference in the game as Wyoming won 17-16. Fletcher is tied for fifth place in Wyoming school history in sacks, having recorded 24.0 career sacks. He also ranks third in MWC history in career sacks.
Second Team All-MWC
Brian Hendricks, Linebacker, 6-1, 223, So., Burlington, Colo.
Hendricks enjoyed a breakout season in his first year as a starter for the Cowboys. He averaged 11.0 tackles per game, ranking him No. 2 in the Mountain West Conference and No. 6 in the NCAA this season. He recorded 23 tackles on the road versus Air Force earlier this year to earn MWC Defensive Player of the Week honors. That is the best individual performance in the nation this season and also broke the UW single-game tackle record that had stood since 1972. He also recorded five double-figure tackle games this season.
Chris Prosinski, Free Safety, 6-1, 208, Jr., Buffalo, Wyo.
Prosinski had an outstanding junior season. He averaged 10.8 tackles per game, placing him third in the conference and No. 9 in the nation in tackles. He led all MWC defensive backs in tackles in 2009. His 130 total tackles is tops on the Wyoming team this year, and ranks as the eighth best single-season total in school history. Prosinski earned MWC Defensive Player of the Week honors in the season finale versus Colorado State. He had 10 tackles against the Rams, including a key third-down tackle for a loss that forced CSU into a field goal and allowed UW to post a 17-16 win. He had nine double-figure tackle games this season, including the last seven consecutive games. He also returned a fumble 98 yards for a touchdown against TCU.
Honorable Mention All-MWC
David Leonard, Wide Receiver, 6-4, 197, Jr., Overland Park, Kan.
Leonard averaged 5.83 receptions per game, which was third best in the conference and ranked No. 32 nationally. The junior had a total of 70 receptions during the regular season. He also was seventh in the conference in receiving yards (53.8 per game), and was second in the league in punt returns and 17th nationally at 13.5 yards per return. Against Florida Atlantic, Leonard caught 13 passes, which was the 17th best single-game performance in UW school history, and was the seventh best single-game performance in the nation this season.
Austin McCoy, Punter, 6-3, 195, So., Winter Haven, Fla.
McCoy's punting throughout the season played a key role in Wyoming winning the field-position battle throughout the season. He averaged 43.5 yards per punt, and placed 28 of his 77 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line. McCoy ended the regular season third in the MWC and No. 19 in the NCAA in punting. He helped Wyoming rank No. 2 in the conference and No. 13 in the nation in net punting. He earned Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week against Weber State, averaging 44.2 yards per punt and placed three of six punts inside the 20-yard line.
Mitch Unrein, Defensive End, 6-4, 270, Sr., Eaton, Colo.
Unrein earned Honorable Mention All-MWC honors for the third consecutive season. A relentless competitor, Unrein enjoyed his best game of the season against conference champion TCU, as he recorded eight tackles. He also had six tackles on the road at Air Force. Unrein scored the only safety of the season for the Cowboys. That safety came against New Mexico and was a key play in Wyoming's victory. He was the only defensive lineman to start every game for the Cowboys this season, and ended the regular-season with 35 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 4.0 tackles for losses.