Albuquerque, N.M. --- Four University of New Mexico Lobos have been named to the Phil Steele’s preseason All-Mountain West Teams, including center LaMar Bratton and kickoff returner Carlos Wiggins on Steele’s First Team.
Along with Bratton and Wiggins, defensive end Brett Bowers was named to the Second Team, and guard Jamal Price earned Third Team honors. Only five teams in the 12-team Mountain West picked up more first team honors than UNM did with its two.
Wiggins last season led the nation in kickoff return yards (1,303) and returns for touchdowns (three) on his way to being named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year and the College Football Performance Awards Kick Returner of the Year. Wiggins was also a regular on the postseason All-America lists; being named to SB Nation (second team), College Sports Madness (third team), Phil Steele (fourth team) and Sports Illustrated (honorable mention).
His three kickoff returns for touchdowns made his the first Lobo to accomplish that feat since Lobo All-American and former NFL veteran Terance Mathis also scored three return TDs in 1989. Overall, his 29.6-yard kick return average ranked fifth in the nation and he led the Mountain West and was ranked 20th in the nation in all-purpose-yard average at 141.9 per game.
Bratton has served as the anchor on the offensive line, and after opening his career at center and then moving to guard, Bratton finds himself back in the middle for his final campaign. A preseason Rimington Award Watch List member, Bratton was a Mountain West honorable mention pick last season as a guard. He led the Lobos with 148 knockdown blocks in 855 snaps, including season-highs of 18 against both San Diego State and New Mexico State. Last year the Lobo rushing attack, with Bratton helping to lead the way, finished fourth nationally at 308.83 yards per game.
Brett Bowers was UNM’s lone second team honoree. He had a breakout season last year in his first after transferring from Mendocino. He eventually earned honorable mention All-Mountain West honors after recording 37 total tackles, including nine for loss, six sacks and three forced fumbles. He tied for 25th nationally with his three forced fumbles, and he was the MW Player of the Week after a three sack, four tackle game against New Mexico State in which he also forced a fumble and had another sack wiped out after UNM accepted a penalty on the Aggies.
UNM’s final honoree was the only third team pick for the Lobo in Jamal Price. The 6-5 senior started the seasons’ first 10 games and then battled through an injury to contribute off the bench in the final two. His 105 knockdowns were second on the team, and they came in 710 total snaps. He turned in a season-best 20 knockdowns in a nationally-televised win over Air Force on ESPNU.
The complete Phil Steele Preseason All-Mountain West squads are located at the following link:
http://www.philsteele.com/Blogs/2014/JUNE14/DBJune03.html. The Lobos, who start practice the final day of July and head to Ruidoso for preseason camp on August 4, will open the season on August 30 against UTEP. The Lobos will play six of their 12 games at home with one of the best home schedules in school history, with four bowl teams visiting Branch Field at University Stadium this season. Arizona State (National University Holiday Bowl), San Diego State (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl), Fresno State (Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl) and Boise State (Sheraton Hawaii Bowl) all making the trip in, along with regional rival Wyoming for the season finale. The Lobos overall will play seven teams that played in bowls last season.
For season tickets, visit www.unmtickets.com, or call 925-LOBO or 925-1620. There are also great special rates available for large groups and business group sales as well.