Seven Aztecs Earn Preseason All-Conference Honors


SAN DIEGO – More preseason accolades came San Diego State's way last week as Phil Steele named seven Aztecs to their all-Mountain West/PAC-2 teams. Tupu Alualu, Joseph Borjon, Owen Chambliss, Marquez Cooper, Chris Johnson, Ja'Shaun Poke, Mekhi Shaw and  Ryan Wintermeyer were all named among the league's representatives.

Cooper, Poke and Wintermeyer were all second-team selections, Borjon was a third-team selection, while Alualu, Chambliss, Johnson and Shaw were all fourth-team honorees.

Marquez Cooper (Running Back): Second-Team Offens
Cooper transfers into San Diego State after one year at Ball State and three years at Kent State under head coach Sean Lewis. The FBS active rushing leader has registered three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and owns 3,856 for his career. He also leads all active FBS running backs with 33 rushing touchdowns. A three-time all-MAC selection, he has 15 games of 100-yard rushing games including a career best 240-yard performance during his 2022 campaign. Last year with the Cardinals, he ran for 1,043 yards and four touchdowns on 227 carries, averaging 86.9 yards per game. This is Cooper's second preseason accolade as he enters his first year on The Mesa, also being named to the second-team by Athlon Sports.

Ja'Shaun Poke (Wide Receiver/Kick Return): Second-Team Specialists
Poke comes to the Aztecs after a year at West Virginia following three years at Kent State under head coach Sean Lewis. He had limited time at WVU due to injury but was the primary kick returner with the Golden Flashes as well as one of their top receivers. From 2019-22, he racked up 1,110 return yards on 44 return attempts for a 25.2 average which ranked 11th in the country over that span (min. 40 kick returns).

Ryan Wintermeyer (Long Snapper): Second-Team Specialists
A three-year starter, Wintermeyer has played all 39 Aztec games since arriving to campus in 2021. In that time, he served as the long snapper for Ray Guy Award winner Matt Araiza and Ray Guy Award semifinalist Jack Browning. The duo gave the Aztecs' back-to-back Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year awards with the help of Wintermeyer. The senior has also recorded 11 tackles and forced a fumble in his career.

Joseph Borjon (Offensive Line): Third-Team Offense
Borjon comes to SDSU after two years at Mt. San Antonio College (2020-21) and two years at the University of Arizona (2022-23). With the Wildcats, played on an offensive line that paved the way for the eighth ranked passing offense (308.3), 18th ranked scoring offense (34.6 ppg) and 20th ranked total offense (448.0) in the nation. Helping finish off a 10-3 season, he started at tackle in the Valero Alamo Bowl last season where Arizona bested No. 12 Oklahoma.

Mekhi Shaw (Wide Receiver/Punt Returner): Fourth-Team Offense & Specialists
An all-Mountain West honorable mention as both a wide receiver and punt returner last year, Shaw is the top returning Aztec at both positions for the 2024 season. As the team's starting punt returner, he totaled 14 returns for 101 yards. His 14 punt returns and 7.2 punt return average both ranked fourth in the conference a year ago. Shaw was also named a fourth-team specialist by Athlon Sports earlier this summer.

Tupu Alualu (Defensive Line): Fourth-Team Defense
Alualu was also named to the 2023 watch list for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year. The top returning defensive lineman on the 2024 roster, he totaled 28 tackles last season which ranked second most among the d-line. He also recorded 4.0 tackles for loss on the year, including 3.0 sacks, both of which rank most among returning Aztecs. Alualu was also a fourth-team defensive selection by Athlon Sports.

Owen Chambliss (Linebacker): Fourth-Team Defense
Chambliss joins the Aztecs after spending his true freshman season at the University of Utah. Saving his redshirt season, he played in four games with the Utes, making one special teams tackle. A graduate of Centennial High School, he helped his team to a CIF Championship in 2021 and earned first team All-CIF, league MVP, first team all-section, and second team LA Times as a Husky. In his senior season, he made 43 tackles (3.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks), five interceptions, two pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery as well as a pick-six.

Chris Johnson (Cornerback): Fourth-Team Defensive
Johnson enters his third season with San Diego State, playing 24 games in his career. Last year, he recorded 30 tackles, two pass breakups, one interception and a fumble recovery. A staple on special teams for the previous two years, he was named SDSU's Special Teams Player of the Year last season while seeing an increase in playing time on the defensive side of the ball.

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