ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It's been a busy week for University of New Mexico football players Carlos Wiggins and Dakota Cox.
They began their week taking home a lot of books in preparation for final exams at school and finished it by taking home some national honors for their efforts during the 2013 season.
College Football Performance Awards has named Wiggins its 2013 National Kick Returner of the Year for his record-setting season.
Cox earned CollegeFootballNews.com honorable mention National All-Freshman Defensive Team honors.
Wiggins leads the nation with a UNM- and Mountain West-record 1,303 kick return yards. His three kickoff returns for touchdowns, which tied the school (Terance Mathis, 1989) and conference records (Hawai‘i’s Mike Edwards, 2012), also leads the country.
Wiggins’ 29.6-yard average per return is No. 5 in the nation.
The goal of the College Football Performance Awards is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. CFPA recognizes weekly, annual, and multi-season (career) award recipients – selected based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.
“It’s an honor and a blessing to win a national award,” Wiggins said. “I owe a big thank you to Coach (Coleman) Hutzler, who I believe is one of the best special teams coaches in the nation. He demands a lot from us, in terms of making everything precise. And I want to thank my teammates on the kick return unit. They always went out and executed to give me a chance for a big return.”
Cox led UNM with 99 tackles this season, becoming the first freshman since linebacker Blake Irwin in 1994 to lead the Lobos in tackles.
Cox averaged 10.3 tackles as a starter when he took over at the middle linebacker spot in week four against UNLV, and he finished the season with double-digit tackles in four of his last five games.