The Big Sky Conference announced its preseason All-Conference Team today (Monday, July 20). And if preseason polls are a reliable indicator of things to come, it appears linebacker will again be a strong suit for the University of Montana Grizzly football team.

Senior linebackers Kendrick Van Ackeren (pictured) and Jeremiah Kose were the only two Griz to receive honors on defense. Neither comes as a surprise, especially Van Ackeren, who was also named on a national FCS preseason All-America squad.

On the offensive side of the ball for Montana, senior wide receiver Jamaal Jones was recognized. And, Ellis Henderson, who will be returning to  the team after being sidelined last season with intestinal issues, was named All-Conference return man.

The preseason picks follow. And man, it felt good to talk a little Griz football today!  DB

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 selection

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