Following Saturday’s satisfying season-ending victory over Sacramento State, the UC Davis football players got more good news as 10 of them were honored by the Big Sky Conference and several more earned awards at the team banquet.
Offensive guard Sean Davies and punter Colton Schmidt were named to the all-conference first team, while linebacker Jordan Glass earned second-team accolades. Receiver Corey Galindo, center Ray Wilburn, tight end Taylor Sloat, fullback Dalton Turay, defensive tackle Andrew Benjamin, linebacker Byron Gruendl and cornerback Jonathan Perkins were named honorable mention in the Aggies’ first year in the 13-team Big Sky.
“Obviously, Sean’s and Colton’s selections were well-deserved,” said UCD head coach Bob Biggs. “It’s tough when you’re the new kid on the block and you have 13 teams in the league. You’re not going to get everyone that deserves recognition but this says a lot about the quality of players in our program.”
The Big Sky’s head coaches selected the individual award winners and all-conference teams and were not allowed to vote for their own players. Co-champion Montana State had six first-team selections while co-champion Eastern Washington had five. The other co-champion, Cal Poly, had two.
Schmidt, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound senior from Bakersfield, enjoyed the best punting career in Aggie history, capped by a school-record 44.5-yard average this season, more than two yards farther than the school record (42.3) he set last year.
Schmidt, who also set a school record for career average (41.1), had 23 punts land inside the 20 and posted a long punt of 68 yards against Portland State. He also served as UCD’s kickoff specialist with more than half his 62 kickoffs resulting in touchbacks.
“He was a game-changer,” Biggs said. “You don’t often see that with a punter, but Colton was a game-changer.”
Davies, a 6-4, 297-pound senior from Westlake Village, was instrumental in the Aggies’ improved running attack this season that averaged 136.9 yards per game — its best number in more than a decade — and highlighted its year with 331 rushing yards at Idaho State last month. Davies started every game that he played during his career, including all 11 games this season.
“Sean was the model of consistency,” Biggs said. “As an offensive guard, that’s what you want. He consistently graded out probably the highest every week. He came in as a walk-on but just got better and better.”
Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee was named the Big Sky’s Offensive Player of the Year, Bobcats linebacker Jody Owens was selected the Defensive Player of the Year and Southern Utah linebacker Zak Browning was tabbed the Newcomer of the Year.
UCD also held its annual banquet on Sunday evening at Freeborn Hall. Team awards were presented to 17 players while parents, former players and administrators were among those honoring Biggs, who is retiring after 20 years at the helm.
Glass earned the Jerry Norris Award for most valuable and inspirational, Sloat and receiver Anthony Soto shared the team’s Outstanding Offense Player honor and Gruendl was named UCD’s top defender. Wilburn (Outstanding Lineman), Schmidt (Special Team Player of the Year), DE Colin Kelly (Jim Ferrier Award for outstanding transfer) and Turay (Palmer Moody Award for outstanding sophomore) also earned recognition, while WR Tim Benton and DL Walter Earnest shared the Mike Wise Award for outstanding freshman.
In addition, Bobby Erskine got the Aggie Pride award, FB Chad Davis and Benjamin shared the Bob Oliver Award for unsung heroes and FS Aaron Jones joined DE Nick King as Most Improved Player. WR Titus Garrett (offense) and LB Russell Reeder (defense) got George Belenis Awards as outstanding redshirts.