Dec. 10, 2013
Colorado Springs, Colo.----- Three San Jose State University football seniors, linebacker Keith Smith, wide receiver Chandler Jones and defensive back Bené Benwikere, were named first-team All-Mountain West Conference honorees in a vote by the conference's 12 coaches and selected media members.
Smith, Jones and Benwikere were among nine Spartans named to the conference's all-star teams consisting of a first, second, honorable mention, Players and Coach of the Year Awards.
Quarterback David Fales, offensive lineman Nicholas Kaspar and placekicker Austin Lopez were second-team picks. Tight end Billy Freeman and offensive lineman Ryan Jones were honorable mention choices. Wide receiver Tyler Winstonwas named the conference's Freshman of the Year.
Smith is the 2013 national leader in tackles with his 159 stops and his 13.2 per game average. He became only the third Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) player in NCAA history to record two games of 20 or more tackles and the first to do it in back-to-back games with his career-best 21 tackles at Minnesota on September 21 and 20 six nights later against Utah State.
The 2013 co-captain becomes the second San Jose State player to receive first or second-team all-conference football honors four times. In 2012, Smith was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) choice. The 2010 WAC Freshman of the Year was a second-team All-WAC honoree that year and in 2011. (Offensive tackle Max Hooper (1978-81) was the first four-time all-conference football player at San Jose State.)
Benwikere also received first-team all-conference honors for the second year in a row. One of four players sharing the school record of 14 career interceptions, Benwikere ranks among the conference and national leaders with his five interceptions (15th tied) and 16 passes defended (7th tied).
Jones had a breakout season catching 79 passes for 1,356 yards and a San Jose State single-season record 15 touchdowns. Three times, he tied the Spartans' single-game record of three touchdown receptions in a game. At the end of the regular season, he ranked fifth nationally in receiving yards per game (113.0 per game) and second in the FBS with his 15 touchdown catches.
For the second season in a row, Fales was a second-team all-conference choice. He is the first San Jose State quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season and did it in each of his two years as a Spartan. Fales completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 4,189 yards and 33 TDs and scored two more touchdowns on the ground. He shares or holds 28 San Jose State school records.
Kaspar also earned all-conference honors for the second year in a row. He was a 2012 first-team All-WAC pick. Kaspar started the first two games of the season at center and the final 10 at right guard. His streak of 42 consecutive starts is among the longest in school history. Overall, kaspar started 45 times during his four-year career.
Like Fales, Lopez is a second-team all-conference choice in back-to-back seasons. He entered the NCAA record books tying the record for most consecutive made field goals to start a career with 23 in the Utah State game. Lopez went on to finish the season with 105 points, tying his San Jose State single-season record for kick-scoring points, and set the Spartans' single-season mark with 22 field goals.
Freeman emerged as one of the most consistent tight ends in the conference. The redshirt freshman finished with 27 receptions for 427 yards and two touchdowns and caught at least one pass in every game. His 15.8 yards per catch average was second best on the team and one of the top figures in the conference. A dual threat, Freeman also completed the two passes he threw in 2013, one of them for a touchdown in the UNLV win.
Ryan Joneswas a key member of an offensive line that helped the Spartans produce a school record 493.2 yards per game of total offense. The starting left guard was one of five team captains during the 2013 season.
Winston took the conference's top freshman award based on his 58 receptions for 858 yards and five touchdowns. All but one of his catches came in the final eight games once he was in the starting lineup. He was the only FBS freshman with back-to-back games of 10 or more catches and four games of 100 or more yards in pass receiving.