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All-Big Sky Conference: Eastern Washington nose tackle Jay-Tee Tiuli named Defensive Player of the Year

UPDATED: Tue., Nov. 20, 2018, 8:40 p.m.

Eastern Washington defensive lineman Jay-Tee Tiuli, center,  reacts after sacking Cal Poly’s quarterback on Sept. 22 at Roos Field in Cheney. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington defensive lineman Jay-Tee Tiuli, center, reacts after sacking Cal Poly’s quarterback on Sept. 22 at Roos Field in Cheney. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Eastern Washington’s smothering defense was a big reason the Eagles earned a share of the Big Sky Conference title.

Jay-Tee Tiuli was a big reason EWU yielded only 16.8 points a game in conference play.

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound nose tackle was named the Big Sky’s Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, becoming the first EWU player to earn the honor since linebacker J.C. Sherritt in 2010.

“It’s hard to do, but it’s well-earned,” EWU coach Aaron Best said. “He’s a player we count on – he’s our bell cow. It shows his versatility in not only stopping the run but getting to the quarterback.”

Tiuli, who often fought through double-teams at the line of scrimmage, had 29 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks during the season.

The Federal Way, Washington, product was a first-team all-Big Sky selection in 2016, but missed 2017 with a shoulder injury.

“I’m thankful, I appreciate it,” Tiuli said of the honor. “But I feel like there’s a lot more to work on.”

UC Davis quarterback Jake Maier (Offensive Player of the Year), Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed (Newcomer of the Year) and Weber State running back Josh Davis (Freshman of the Year) also headline the all-conference selections.

EWU (9-2) had 21 players earn All-Big Sky distinction, including four on the first team – Tiuli, defensive end and Cheney High product Keenan Williams, wide receiver Nsimba Webster and kicker/punter Roldan Alcobendas.

Williams, who missed two games earlier in this season with an injury, had 26 tackles, five tackles for a loss and a sack.

Webster hauled in 60 passes for 1,021 yards and six touchdowns for an offense that ranks second in the FCS (553.2 yards per game).

A first-team kicker and punter, Alcobendas was 13 for 13 on field goals and hit all 54 of his extra-point attempts during the regular season. His punts averaged just less than 46 yards an attempt, with 16 of his 37 inside the 20-yard line.

Idaho, which finished its season 4-7, had eight players recognized, three on the first team – linebacker Kaden Elliss, offensive tackle Noah Johnson and punter Cade Coffey.

EWU earned a No. 3 seed and a first-round bye in the FCS playoffs, and will host either Nicholls State (8-3) or San Diego (9-2) on Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. at Roos Field.

2018 Big Sky Football All-Conference Team

FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE

Position

Player

Year

School

Wide Receiver

Keelan Doss

Senior

UC Davis

Wide Receiver

Mitch Gueller

Junior

Idaho State

Wide Receiver

Nsimba Webster

Senior

Eastern Washington

Tackle

Iosua Opeta

Senior

Weber State

Tackle

Brian Fineanganofo

Senior

Idaho State

Guard

Noah Johnson

Junior

Idaho

Guard

Ty Whitworth

Sophomore

Weber State

Center

Zach Larsen

Junior

Southern Utah

Tight End

Charlie Taumoepeau

Junior

Portland State

Quarterback

Jake Maier

Junior

UC Davis

Quarterback

Troy Andersen

Sophomore

Montana State

Running Back

Elijah Dotson

Sophomore

Sacramento State

Running Back

Josh Davis

Freshman

Weber State

Fullback

Joe Protheroe

Senior

Cal Poly

Kicker

Roldan Alcobendas

Senior

Eastern Washington

Returner

Rashid Shaheed

Sophomore

Weber State

FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE

Position

Player

Year

School

Tackle

Jay-Tee Tiuli

Senior

Eastern Washington

Tackle

Filipe Satake

Senior

Weber State

End

Jonah Williams

Junior

Weber State

End

Adam Rodriguez

Junior

Weber State

End

Keenan Williams

Senior

Eastern Washington

Outside Linebacker

Kaden Elliss

Senior

Idaho

Outside Linebacker

Landon Stice

Senior

Weber State

Inside Linebacker

LeGrand Toia

Senior

Weber State

Inside Linebacker

Dante Olson

Junior

Montana

Cornerback

Keilan Benjamin

Senior

Weber State

Cornerback

Khalil Dorsey

Junior

Northern Arizona

Safety

Jordan Preator

Senior

Weber State

Safety

Jawian Harrison

Senior

Weber State

Punter

Roldan Alcobendas

Senior

Eastern Washington

Punter

Cade Coffey

Sophomore

Idaho

Special Teams

Brady May

Senior

Weber State

SECOND-TEAM OFFENSE

Position

Player

Year

School

Wide Receiver

Alex Wesley

Senior

Northern Colorado

Wide Receiver

Samuel Akem

Sophomore

Montana

Wide Receiver

Emmanuel Butler

Senior

Northern Arizona

Wide Receiver

Michael Dean

Junior

Idaho State

Tackle

Chris Schlichting

Junior

Eastern Washington

Tackle

Mitch Brott

Junior

Montana State

Guard

Kaleb Levao

Senior

Eastern Washington

Guard

Tyler Whisenhunt

Junior

Cal Poly

Center

Spencer Blackburn

Senior

Eastern Washington

Tight End

Wes Preece

Junior

UC Davis

Quarterback

Tanner Gueller

Senior

Idaho State

Running Back

James Madison

Senior

Idaho State

Running Back

Sam McPherson

Senior

Eastern Washington

Fullback

Brady May

Senior

Weber State

Kicker

Trey Tuttle

Sophomore

Weber State

Returner

Jerry Louie-McGee

Junior

Montana

SECOND-TEAM DEFENSE

Position

Player

Year

School

Tackle

Tucker Yates

Senior

Montana State

Tackle

DJ Henderson

Senior

Idaho

End

Tyron Fa’anono

Senior

Montana State

End

Mitchell Johnson

Freshman

Eastern Washington

Outside Linebacker

Mason Moe

Senior

UC Davis

Outside Linebacker

Bryce Sterk

Junior

Montana State

Inside Linebacker

Josh Buss

Senior

Montana

Inside Linebacker

Ketner Kupp

Senior

Eastern Washington

Cornerback

Josh Lewis

Senior

Eastern Washington

Cornerback

Vince White

Senior

UC Davis

Safety

Kam’ron Johnson

Senior

Northern Arizona

Safety

Wes Sutton

Senior

Northern Arizona

Punter

Doug Lloyd

Junior

Weber State

Special Teams

Jace Lewis

Sophomore

Montana

THIRD-TEAM OFFENSE

Position

Player

Year

School

Wide Receiver

Jared Harrell

Sophomore

UC Davis

Wide Receiver

David Ungerer

Senior

Idaho

Wide Receiver

J.J. Koski

Junior

Cal Poly

Tackle

Marquez Tucker

Senior

Southern Utah

Tackle

Josh Brown

Senior

Portland State

Tackle

Beau Byus

Senior

Eastern Washington

Guard

Jack Hunter

Senior

Eastern Washington

Guard

Korbin Sorenson

Sophomore

Portland State

Center

Harry Whitson

Senior

Cal Poly

Tight End

Theron Verna

Senior

Northern Colorado

Quarterback

Eric Barriere

Sophomore

Eastern Washington

Running Back

Ulonzo Gilliam

Freshman

UC Davis

Running Back

Isaiah Saunders

Senior

Idaho

Fullback

Henderson Belk

Senior

Eastern Washington

Kicker

Alex Vega

Senior

Cal Poly

Kicker

Cody Williams

Freshman

Portland State

Returner

Judd Cockett

Sophomore

Southern Utah

THIRD-TEAM DEFENSE

Position

Player

Year

School

Tackle

Kenton Bartlett

Junior

Portland State

Tackle

Jalen Goss

Junior

Northern Arizona

End

Jesse Sims

Junior

Montana

End

Keifer Morris

Senior

Northern Colorado

Outside Linebacker

Paea Moala

Senior

Idaho State

Outside Linebacker

Auston Tesch

Junior

Weber State

Inside Linebacker

Christian Elliss

Sophomore

Idaho

Inside Linebacker

Kody Graves

Junior

Idaho State

Inside Linebacker

Chinedu Ahanonu

Senior

Southern Utah

Cornerback

Parker Preator

Senior

Weber State

Cornerback

Maurice Davison

Senior

Northern Arizona

Safety

Mitch Fettig

Senior

Eastern Washington

Safety

Isaiah Olave

Senior

UC Davis

Punter

DJ Arnson

Senior

Northern Arizona

Special Teams

Curtis Billen

Senior

Eastern Washington

Special Teams

Andy Whittier

Senior

Idaho State

Honorable Mention

Wide receiver: Jerry Louie-McGee, Montana; Darryl Denby, Weber State

Tackle: Zach Shallcross, Cal Poly; Jamison Pruitt, Northern Arizona; Taylor Tappin, Sacramento State

Guard: Malik Noshi, Northern Arizona; Zach Wilkinson, Northern Colorado

Center: Dallen Collins, Idaho State; Ben Bos, Weber State

Tight end: Austin Campbell, Idaho State; McCoy Hill, Southern Utah

Quarterback: Dalton Sneed, Montana

Running back: Antoine Custer, Eastern Washington; Ty Flanagan, Idaho State; Isaiah Ifanse, Montana State; Cory Young, Northern Arizona; Tehran Thomas, UC Davis

Fullback: Justice Littrell, Northern Colorado

Placekicker: Tim Semenza, Montana

Return specialist: David Ungerer, Idaho; Namane Modise, UC Davis

Special-teams player: Marcel Myers, Northern Arizona

Tackle: Dylan Ledbetter, Eastern Washington; Treven Aloi, Idaho State; Kainoa Fuiava; Idaho State; David Shaw, Montana; Semise Kofe, Portland State

End: Reggie Tilleman, Montana, Aaron Andrews, Northern Arizona; Larry Ross, Portland State

Outside linebacker: Taylor Nelson, Southern Utah

Inside linebacker: Matt Shotwell, Cal Poly; Grant Collins, Montana State; Henry Stelzner, Northern Colorado

Cornerback: Dominic Frasch, Cal Poly; D’londo Tucker, Eastern Washington; Greg Filer, Montana State

Safety: Nzuzi Webster, Eastern Washington; Adkin Aguirre, Idaho State; Robby Hauck, Montana; Jahque Alleyne, Montana State; Brayden Konkol, Montana State; Sherand Boyd, Northern Colorado

Punter: Daniel Whelan, UC Davis

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