RENO - From walk-on status to the media's choice as Western Athletic Conference's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
You can say Fresno State star Garrett McIntyre has come a long way. He was ecstatic at winning the honor. He found out only a few minutes before interviews took place.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "I didn't even know it happened."
McIntyre, who prepped at South Tahoe High School, was a first-team selection last year when he racked up 46 tackles, including 10.5 behind the line of scrimmage. Six of those stops behind the line were quarterback sacks.
Teammates and foes alike marvel at McIntyre's motor. It never seems to stop, and he's able to make big plays as a result.
"He's a great player," said Boise State offensive tackle Daryn Colledge, who is looking forward to tangling with McIntyre. "He's big and strong. I look forward to seeing him. It will be great."
Boise State's Jared Zabransky was the media's pick for the top preseason offensive player.
The Boise State quarterback, who wasn't present at the media event, passed for 2,927 yards and 16 scores. His QB rating of 146.99 was tops in the WAC. He also rushed for 320 yards and 13 scores last year.
"He deserved it," Colledge said. "He's a great player, and he's only going to get better. You can't compare him to Ryan Dinwiddie (ex-BSU star, who started for three years). Jared has better feet and a little more size. He's worked hard to get better in the offense."
MEDIA LIKES BOISE STATE
As expected, Boise State and Fresno State ranked 1-2 in the preseason media poll.
The Broncos received 43 first-place votes and 499 points. Fresno had 14 votes and 470 points.
Boise State has won 26 straight WAC games, outscoring opponents 49.6-18.2 in that stretch. The Broncos have gone undefeated in WAC play the last three years and won their first 11 games last year before losing to Louisville 44-40 in the Liberty Bowl.
Hawai'i (339) was a narrow pick for third, just ahead of Nevada (336). Louisiana Tech, without star running back Ryan Moats, was picked fifth with 325 points.
New Mexico State, one of three new schools in the WAC this year, was chosen sixth (181 points). San Jose State, with new coach Dick Tomey, was tabbed for seventh with 175 points. Conference newcomers Utah State (125) and Idaho(115) were eighth and ninth.
The coaches' poll will be announced today.
Three teams have new head coaches this year.
On Dec. 10, Utah State named Brent Guy as its 25th head coach. Guy spent the last four years as defensive coordinator at Arizona State.
New Mexico State hired Hal Mumme on Dec. 30. Mumme was head coach at Southeastern Louisiana for three years, helping revive the program after an 18-year absence. Mumme also was head coach at Kentucky for four seasons.
Dick Tomey was hired by San Jose State on Dec. 29. Tomey was previously a head coach at Hawai'i and Arizona. His career record is 158-110-7.