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CMU vs. Wyoming - Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Wyoming's Andrew Wingard wraps up Central Michigan running back Jonathan Ward during the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 22, 2017 in Boise, Idaho.

LAS VEGAS — Senior Wyoming safety Andrew Wingard was voted the Mountain West preseason defensive player of the year for the second consecutive year, the conference announced Tuesday. League media voted on the award, which was announced at the start of the Mountain West Football Media Summit.

Wingard joined Wyoming junior defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan and senior defensive end Carl Granderson in being voted preseason all-conference. The Cowboys were picked to finish second in the Mountain Division.

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien, a two-time first-team all-conference selection, earned the preseason offensive player of the year award, and Broncos returner Avery Williams was voted preseason special teams player of the year. 

Wingard, who has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik (best defensive player), Nagurski (best defensive player) and Jim Thorpe (best defensive back) awards, is also a two-time first-team all-conference selection. The former freshman all-American intercepted five passes last year, tied for most in the Mountain West, and led Mountain West defensive backs with 8.8 tackles per game. He is representing Wyoming at the Media Summit (formerly known as Mountain West Media Days) for the third straight summer. Granderson is Wyoming's other player representative this year.

Rypien leads active Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks with 9,876 career passing yards. Johnson returned two punts for touchdowns last season.

Boise State and Fresno State were voted to repeat as Mountain and West division champions, respectively. The Broncos were unanimous selections, while Fresno State received 16 of 22 first-place votes. San Diego State received the other six. 

Behind Boise State and Wyoming, the predicted order of finish in the Mountain Division was Colorado State, Utah State, Air Force and New Mexico. Behind the Bulldogs and Aztecs in the West Division were UNLV, Nevada, Hawaii and San Jose State.

Wingard and former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen swept the preseason offensive and defensive player of the year honors last year. San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny (offensive and special teams) and Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (defensive) ultimately won the postseason awards.

The Cowboys also had three preseason all-Mountain West selections last year: Allen, Wingard and linebacker Logan Wilson.

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Follow University of Wyoming athletics reporter Brandon Foster on Twitter @BFoster91

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Managing Editor

Brandon Foster is the Star-Tribune's managing editor. He joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 as the University of Wyoming sports reporter after graduating from the University of Missouri and covering Mizzou athletics for two years.

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