OGDEN, Utah - Seniors Manusamoa Luuga and Inoke Raikadroka, and sophomore Keelan Doss earned postseason recognition on when the standouts were selected to the All-Big Sky second team, it was announced by the conference on Tuesday.
In all, 10 Aggies were honored by the Big Sky with offensive linemen Christian Schneider and Julian Bertero, defensive lineman Zak Pettit, linebacker Nas Anesi, cornerback Keleen Culberson, safety Zach Jones and punter Colby Wadman earning honorable mention accolades.
The 10 honorees ties the second-most for UC Davis since it joined the Big Sky in 2012. It was the first All-Big Sky honors for Luuga, Raikadroka and Doss while Wadman received honorable mention for the third time in his career.
Luuga earned his second-team honor after putting together his best year as an Aggie. The senior from Long Beach had a career-high 1,077 yards, scored 11 touchdowns and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. He posted four 100-yard games, saving the best for last when he carried the ball a career-high 38 times for 249 yards during Saturday’s win against rival Sacramento State.
Luuga posted the second-highest rushing total in the Big Sky and finished the the year in top-10 UC Davis season lists for attempts, yards and touchdowns. He ripped off a 90-yard TD against Southern Oregon in September, tying the second-longest run in school history. It’s the seventh-longest in the FCS this season.
His 58-yard TD run on the Aggies’ first play from scrimmage on Saturday helped him earn ROOT SPORTS Offensive Player of the Week honors from the Big Sky on Monday.
Raikadroka was force on the interior defensive line for UC Davis this season, often taking on double-teams to free up the Aggies’ other defenders to make the stops. He posted 24 tackles, including 19 solo, while picking up a 3.5 TFLs including a sack. Raikadroka also a recovered a fumble.
Like Luuga, Doss put together his best performance in the season in the finale, catching seven passes for 207 yards and a school-record tying four touchdowns. That helped him post 66 receptions for 911 yards and 10 TDs. His yards against Sacramento State were the fifth-most in school history.
Doss also had 100-yard games against Oregon (116) and Wyoming (104). He’s ranked tied for 14th in the FCS in receiving TDs and is tied for 22nd in catches per game (6.0).
Luuga has always been sure to credit the Aggies’ offensive line for helping him pick up his yards and Schneider and Bertero were big parts of those efforts. Both started every game for UC Davis with Schneider, who moved from right tackle to the left side this year, ending his career by starting 40 of the 41 games he played. Bertero, just a junior, has started every game each of the past two seasons.
Petitt, a senior from Truckee, led the Aggies with 10.0 TFLs, including a pair of sacks. He finished with 42 tackles, including 25 solo, had a pair of quarterback-hurries, forced two fumbles and recovered one. He had a season-high nine tackles at Wyoming.
Anesi, who was honored as an inside linebacker, made an immediate impact for UC Davis despite being a redshirt freshman. He finished second in total tackles (60), had 4.0 TFLs, including a sack, and also had a quarterback-hurry. Anesi had a season-high nine stops against Portland State while also picking up eight against Weber State.
Culberson returned after missing 2015 with injury to put together a solid season which saw him start at free safety before being moved to cornerback, which is where he was honored by the league. He had 47 tackles, including 5.0 TFLs and a sack, intercepted a pass and returned a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown at Wyoming. Culberson also had a team-high 11 PBUs, including a season-high four against Sacramento State.
Jones earned honorable mention as a safety even though he started the year as a linebacker. But his versatility allowed him to be moved throughout the Aggies’ defense and he was productive everywhere, leading the team with 63 tackles, including 51 solo. He intercepted a pass and forced a team-high three fumbles.
Jones twice had 10 tackles in a game, including at Cal Poly in October when all of them were solo stops.
Wadman was recognized for the third time after putting together another great year as a punter. His career-best 43.2 avg. is the second-best in school history and ranks him eighth in the FCS and third in the Big Sky. Wadman’s 52.5 avg. at Montana State two weeks ago is the 12th-best single-game performance in the FCS this year and included a career-best 66-yard punt.
Eleven of his 62 kicks this year landed inside the 20-yard line and 24 resulted in fair-catches. Wadman posted a 40.9 career average, ranking him only behind current Buffalo Bills punter Colton Schmidt on UC Davis’ career list.
Eastern Washington and North Dakota, co-champions of the Big Sky, each had 11 all-conference selections. Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud and receiver Cooper Kupp shared offensive player of the year honors while safety Cole Reyes of North Dakota was tabbed the top defensive player.
Montana State quarterback Chris Murray was voted freshman of the year and Weber State tight end Andrew Vollert was named newcomer of the year.
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