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Utah State senior linebacker Zach Vigil has established himself as a trailblazer for the Aggies, setting records and high standards with his play.
On Tuesday, all his hard work paid off in yet another landmark way as Vigil became the school's first player to win the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Vigil finished the season ranked second in the league and eighth nationally in tackles per game with 11.2. He also led the league with 145 tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss. The 145 tackles ranks fourth all-time in league history for a single season.
Vigil made a career high 22 tackles against Air Force on Oct. 11, which is tied for the most by any player in a game this season. He also led the Aggies with nine sacks.
Utah State coach Matt Wells has praised Vigil's efforts all season long, noting he has continued to improve throughout his career.
"I really do think he has taken another step mentally," he said. "He knows the defense as well as anyone in the building. He's done a great job, but has done that the last two years. He's just taken another step in the right direction. That's why you're seeing more tackles and more TFLs."
Vigil, a Clearfield native who started his career as a walk-on, earned second-team all-WAC honors in 2012 and second-team all-Mountain West honors in 2013.
Joining him on the first-team all-conference team were offensive lineman Kevin Whimpey, punt/kick returner JoJo Natson, defensive lineman B.J. Larsen, linebacker Nick Vigil and defensive back Frankie Sutera.
Kicker Nick Diaz was a second-team selection. Honorable mention picks were punter Jaron Bentrude, defensive back Devin Centers, defensive lineman Elvis Kamana-Matagi, defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen, receiver Hunter Sharp, offensive lineman Jake Simonich, offensive lineman Austin Stephens and defensive back Brian Suite.
CSU quarterback Garrett Grayson was the Offensive Player of the Year, Air Force kicker Will Conant was the Special Teams Player of the Year, UNLV receiver Devonte Boyd was the Freshman of the Year and CSU's Jim McElwain was the Coach of the Year.