Four Lumberjacks Named to Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team

Four Lumberjacks Named to Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team

OGDEN, Utah – Four Northern Arizona seniors were selected to the Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team, announced today by the league office. Leading the way were fullback Nick Butier and tight end RJ Rickert; both preseason picks for the second straight year. Cornerback Marcus Alford and punter Ryan Hawkins were also honored with their first Big Sky preseason distinction. 

Butier is one of five unanimous picks to the preseason team. The two-time all-conference honoree and reigning all-first team fullback appeared in all 12 games for NAU last season with 10 starts. He registered 17 catches for 181 yards and 29 rushing yards finishing the season with All-American honors.

Rickert, an All-American in 2013, caught 22 passes for a total of 246 yards. The first team all-conference honoree played in 11 games and led all tight ends in receiving yards. Rickert sat out all of last season due to injury, but is back for his final year.

Alford is the second unanimous pick to the preseason team, giving NAU two out of the five honors. He was credited with 27 tackles and tied for a team high three interceptions. Alford tallied 10 pass breakups, in addition to scoring a pair of touchdowns to rank amongst the best in the nation in the category. His stellar play earned him first team all-conference honors and All-American accolades.

Hawkins, an all-conference selection in 2014, was the only Big Sky player to earn player of the week nods three weeks in a row. He registered 20 punts last season for a total of 1,023 yards. Ten out of the 20 were 50-plus yards, as he averaged 51.2 yards per kick.


2015 Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team


Offensive MVP – Cooper Kupp, Jr., WR, Eastern Washington

Defensive MVP – James Cowser, Sr., DE, Southern Utah



Pos. Player Year Hometown School

QB Dakota Prukop Jr. Austin, Texas Montana State

RB #Xavier Finney Sr. Oceanside, Calif. Idaho State

RB Kori Garcia Jr. Los Angeles, Calif. Cal Poly

FB *#Nick Butier Sr. San Luis Obispo, Calif. Northern Arizona

TE R.J. Rickert Sr. Gilbert, Ariz. Northern Arizona

OG #JP Flynn Jr. Bettendorf, Iowa Montana State

OG #Aaron Neary Sr. Richland, Wash. Eastern Washington

C Christian Diehm Sr. Carson, Calif. Idaho State

OT *Clay DeBord Sr. Asotin, Wash. Eastern Washington

OT John Weidenaar Sr. Manhattan, Mont. Montana State

WR *#Cooper Kupp Jr. Yakima, Wash. Eastern Washington

WR #Madison Mangum Jr. Boise, Idaho Idaho State

WR Nnamdi Agude Sr. Corona, Calif. Sacramento State

WR Jamaal Jones Sr. Spanaway, Wash. Montana

PK #Brad Cornish Sr. Santee, Calif. Sacramento State

Returns Ellis Henderson Jr. Vancouver, Wash. Montana



Pos. Player Year Hometown School

DE *#James Cowser Sr. Fruit Heights, Utah Southern Utah

DE Samson Ebukam Jr. Portland, Ore. Eastern Washington

DT Tyler Kuder Sr. Payette, Idaho Idaho State

DT Taylor Sheridan Sr. Littleton, Colo. Montana State

OLB Mario Jenkins So. Nampa, Idaho Idaho State

OLB Kendrick Van Ackeren Sr. Bellevue, Wash. Montana

ILB Darnell Sankey Sr. San Jose, Calif. Sacramento State

ILB Jeremiah Kose Sr. Oceanside, Calif. Montana

CB *#Marcus Alford Sr. Oxnard, Calif. Northern Arizona

CB LeShaun Sims Sr. Las Vegas, Nev. Southern Utah

S Taison Manu Sr. Pocatello, Idaho Idaho State

S Miles Killebrew Sr. Henderson, Nev. Southern Utah

P Ryan Hawkins Sr. Peoria, Ariz. Northern Arizona

Special Teams – Chad Newell Jr. Billings, Mont. Montana State


*Unanimous pick

#2014 First Team All-Conference

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