July 14, 2014
PARK CITY, Utah - Running back Gabe Manzanares and placekicker Brady Stuart, who each earned 2013 All-Big Sky third-team honors, were named Monday to the 2014 Big Sky Preseason All-Conference team, it was announced by the league during its annual summer kickoff.
Manzanares, who rushed for 1,280 yards and 10 touchdowns, was named the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year last year after his first season resulted in one of the finest by an Aggie running back in school history. His yards rank fifth for a season while his 259 carries are third.
The transfer from the City College of San Francisco also ranked among the NCAA Div. I Football Championship Subdivision leaders for rushing yards per game and all-purpose yards. He enjoyed a breakout 208-yard rushing effort against Idaho State midway through the season before adding 175 at Southern Utah the next week, both games resulting in UC Davis wins.
Manzanares added 100-yard efforts in the Aggies' final five games. Earlier this summer he was named to the College Football Performance Awards Running Backs Watch List.
"It's a tremendous honor for Gabe to be on the list," said Aggie coach Ron Gould. "It's a culmination of all his hard work and dedication. It also speaks volumes to the respect that he's earned. It's a tremendous honor and reflects his character and who he is."
Stuart, a junior from Newhall, Calif., has already entrenched himself as one of the top kickers in Aggie history. He made a school-record 17 field goals last year, surpassing Eddie Loretto who made 16 in 1985. That pushed Stuart's career total to 32, ranking him third all-time as he pursues Loretto's career record 47 field goals.
Stuart, named to the CFPA's placekicker's watch list last week, was twice named the Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week last year, including after he made a career-best four field goals against North Dakota late in the season. Stuart also made 24 of 25 extra-point attempts.
He ended the season in strong fashion, making 10 consecutive field goals over the final four games of the season, and 12 of his last 15. Stuart ranked ninth in the FCS at 1.4 field goals per game and 42nd in percentage at 68 percent.
"He's a young man that's put forth a tremendous amount of work of improving his leg strength, his competitiveness and his desire to want to be great," Gould said. "He has all the tools and I think it's also a product of his hard work as well as the respect from the league that's he's received this honor.
"I'm very thrilled for UC Davis and very thrilled for him as well."
Defending Big Sky champion and one of the favorites in this year's national championship chase placed six players on the Big Sky preseason team. Northern Arizona and Montana each had five players named.
Junior quarterback Vernon Adams from Eastern Washington was selected as the preseason offensive MVP while defensive end Zack Wagenmann of Montana was picked as the preseason defensive MVP.
The Big Sky Summer Kickoff in Park City, Utah, provides the first opportunity for media members to interview players and head coaches from each of the 13 football--playing institutions. Aggie strong safety Charles Boyett will meet with the media on Monday while head coach Ron Gould will do so on Tuesday.
This week's event will help teams build excitement for the start of fall camp which begins on Aug. 4 for UC Davis. The Aggies will practice most days in preparation for the season opener at Stanford on Aug. 30. They'll start a five-game home schedule the following week against Fort Lewis (Colo.).
Season tickets are currently on sale through the UC Davis Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or www.ucdavisaggies.com.
2014 ALL-BIG SKY PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Offensive MVP - Vernon Adams, Jr., QB, Eastern Washington
Defensive MVP - Zack Wagenmann, Sr., DE, Montana
*QB - Vernon Adams, Jr., Eastern Washington
RB - Kristaan Ivory, Sr., Cal Poly
RB - Gabe Manzanares, Sr., UC Davis
FB - Nick Butier, Jr, Northern Arizona
TE - R.J. Rickert, Sr., Northern Arizona
OG - Trevor Poole, Sr., Montana
OG - Cornelius Edison, Sr., Portland State
OG - JP Flynn, So., Montana State
*C - Roy Garcia, Sr., Northern Arizona
*OT - Clay DeBord, Jr., Eastern Washington
OT - Jacob Julian, So., Northern Arizona
*WR - Cooper Kupp, So., Eastern Washington
WR - DeAndre Carter, Sr., Sacramento State
WR - Ellis Henderson, Jr., Montana
*PK - Brady Stuart, Jr., UC Davis
Returns - Shawn Johnson, Sr., Montana State
*DE - Zack Wagenmann, Sr., Montana
DE - James Cowser, Jr., Southern Utah
DT - Tonga Takai, Sr., Montana
DT - Dylan Zylstra, Sr., Eastern Washington
LB - Ronnie Hamlin, Sr., Eastern Washington
LB - Austin Hasquet, Sr., Northern Arizona
LB - Nick Dzubnar, Sr., Cal Poly
LB - Leilon Willingham, Sr., Northern Colorado
CB - Deonte Flowers, Sr., Montana State
CB - Deon'tae Florence, Sr., Weber State
S - Matt Hermanson, Sr., Montana
S - Tevin McDonald, Sr., Eastern Washington
P - Kyle Loomis, Sr., Portland State
Special Teams - Chad Newell, So., Montana State
Aggies hold numerous top NCAA numbers
vs. 22/RV Northern Arizona (4 p.m.)