Northern Arizona led all schools with five players on the first team for a total of six honors
OGDEN, Utah – Northern Arizona had 14 players earn a total of 15 honors when the All-Big Sky Conference teams were released today by the league office. Leading the way was quarterback Case Cookus, who was named the 2015 Big Sky Co-Freshman of the Year.
NAU led all teams by placing five players for a total of six honors on the first team, followed by Southern Utah and Montana placing four players on the first team.
Cookus earned first team honors after earning co-FOTY honors with North Dakota running back John Santiago. Cookus is a National Offensive and Freshman Player of the Year finalist. He set a new NAU record and FCS freshman mark for passing touchdowns in a season (37). He also broke the NAU season records for completion percentage and yards per pass attempt. Cookus finished sixth in school history in passing yards in a season. When it comes to his ranking in the FCS, Cookus is first in passing touchdowns, second in passing efficiency, third in points responsible for, completion percentage and yards per pass attempt.
Sophomore wide receiver Emmanuel Butler, Cookus' main target, was a first team selection after becoming NAU's all-time single season receiving yards leader with 1,208. He also tied the school record for single season touchdown receptions (15). Butler ranks second in the FCS in receiving touchdowns, third in receiving yards, and fourth in receiving yards per game.
Senior running back Casey Jahn picked up first team accolades after becoming the 12th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Jahn and Butler became the fourth pair in school history to record 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season.
Senior Ryan Hawkins received a pair of first team honors, earning the top spot for placekicker and punter. He led the nation in punting at 46.3 yards per punt and was second in field goal percentage at 91.7 percent. Hawkins connected on all 57 PATs this season and finished tied for first on the team in scoring.
NAU's only repeat first-team honoree is senior cornerback Marcus Alford. He ranks 10th in the nation in passes defended. Alford was credited with 13 pass breakups and three interceptions. He had NAU's longest interception of the season with a 70-yard pick-six.
Second team honors for NAU went to senior tight end R.J. Rickert and senior safety Eddie Horn. Rickert, a three-time all-conference honoree, picked up 352 yards as a tight end, paving the way for a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver. Horn tied for third in the league with four interceptions and led NAU with 88 tackles.
Offensive tackle Jacob Julian, a two-time honoree, was voted to the third team. Julian helped pave the way for a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher, and 1,000-yard receiver.
Honorable mention accolades on offense were given to senior wide receiver Dejzon Walker, junior left guard Eric Rodriguez, and sophomore center Blake Porter. Defensive honorable mention players were senior defensive end Zach McDonnell, junior outside linebacker Delvin Batiste, and senior outside linebacker Josh Bamrick.