Two Thunderbirds Named To Preseason All-Conference List
PARK CITY, Utah - A season after both linebacker Mike Needham and defensive lineman Robert Torgerson had a large impact on the Thunderbird defense, both of them have been named to the Preseason All-Conference list by Big Sky media members.
“Their Preseason All-Conference selections show what type of careers they have had thus far,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said. “We have a ton of senior leadership on our defense this year, and are excited about what these two bring to that group. Our defense has led the entire country in combined interceptions and takeaways the last two season, so I cannot wait to see how these guys finish off their career and build on their legacy.”
Needham led the Thunderbirds in solo tackles last season with 47, and tied for the team lead in total tackles with teammate Junior Tufuga. Needham racked up five interceptions (which led the team), nine tackles for loss and three sacks during the 2016 campaign. He also tallied eight pass breakups.
After sitting out for a season, Torgerson returned to the Thunderbirds on a mission and was a bruiser on the first line of defense. He led the Thunderbirds in tackles for loss during the season with 12, and totaled five sacks during the year which tied him for the top spot on the team alongside teammate Taylor Pili. He also accounted for a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked kicked during the year.
The Thunderbirds will open their season on September 2 in Eugene, Oregon against the Oregon Ducks. SUU's first home contest will be against Northern Iowa on September 16, and they will open Big Sky play in Sacramento against Sacramento State on September 23.
Keep tabs on the Thunderbirds all year long by following @SUUFB on Twitter and Instagram and like the SUU Football page on Facebook.
Preseason All-Conference Awards
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Gage Gubrud, QB, Eastern Washington
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Cole Reyes, S, North Dakota
Quarterback: Gage Gubrud, Eastern Washington
Wide Receivers: Emmanuel Butler, Northern Arizona (Consensus); Keelan Doss, UC Davis; Jerry Louie-McGee, Montana
Offensive Tackles: David Reese, Montana; Randin Crecelius, Portland State
Offensive Guard: Tyler Shank, Northern Arizona; Demon Taylor, North Dakota
Center: Joey Kuperman, Cal Poly
Tight End: Andrew Vollert, Weber State (Consensus)
Running Backs: John Santiago, North Dakota (Consensus); Brady Oliveira, North Dakota
Fullback: Joe Protheroe, Cal Poly
Placekicker: Griffin Roehler, Northern Arizona
Return Specialist: John Santiago, North Dakota
Defensive Tackle: Robert Torgerson, Southern Utah; Anthony Del Toro, Portland State
Defensive End: Albert Havili, Eastern Washington; Ben Sorensen, Sacramento State
Outside Linebackers: Mike Needham, Southern Utah; Josh Buss, Montana
Inside Linebackers: Mac Bignell, Montana State; Landon Stice, Weber State
Cornerbacks: Deion Harris, North Dakota; Taron Johnson, Weber State
Safeties: Cole Reyes, North Dakota; Mitch Fettig, Eastern Washington
Punter: Jacob DeMaio, Weber State
Special Teams Player: Hakeem Deggs, Northern Colorado