Five Griz Named to Preseason All-league Team; Wagenmann Vote Defensive MVP


The University of Montana Grizzlies had five players named to the 2014 Big Sky Conference preseason all-league teams and one player tabbed the preseason MVP on defense, the conference announced today (Monday, July 14) from the Big Sky’s annual football kickoff event here.

Defensive end Zack Wagenmann, a 6-3 ½, 255-pound senior from Missoula, was named the conference’s preseason MVP on defense, and he was the only unanimous All-Big Sky selection on defense. Wagenmann was recently named to the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award List (FCS defensive player of the year) last week.

“It’s an awesome honor,” said Wagenmann. “Once again, I need to thank my teammates and coaches for getting me in the position for something like this. I look at this as a team award, although I do appreciate the recognition.

Zack Wagenmann3 (1)“When I came in (to UM) I think I was 205, 210, and I was pretty green,” Wagenmann said. “I didn’t start playing football until my junior year (at local Sentinel High School); so I definitely had a big learning curve when I came here to play for the Griz and to get to the point where I am now physically to play my position on the defensive line. I am weighing around 250, 255 now, and it’s definitely taken me a long time to get to where I am at, but I think I am headed in the right direction.”

Also from Montana joining Wagenmann on the prestigious preseason all-league squad are wide receiver/returner Ellis Henderson, safety Matt Hermanson, offensive lineman Trevor Poole, and defensive tackle Tonga Takai.

“Any time when we get players who are recognized for the work they have done in the past that’s great; but it’s still more important to where you end up at the end of the season,” said Griz head coach Mick Delaney. “To have five players respected by the rest of the coaches to the point that they are named to the preseason all-league team is just a tribute to our program and to the young men who have worked so hard to get to where they are at.”

Henderson, a 6-0, 185-pound junior from Portland, Ore., was tabbed second team All-Big Sky at wide receiver and as a return specialist last season. He was ranked in the league’s top 10 in five categories: first in punt return average (12.2 ypr); fourth in kickoff return average (24.0 ypr); tied for sixth in scoring (6.9 ppg); sixth in all-purpose yards (142.4 ypg); and 10th in receiving yards a game (77.5 pg).

Henderson, who was named to the preseason team at wide receiver, had the third most scoring catches in the FCS last season with 14.

Poole, a 6-5, 285-pound senior from Spokane, Wash., will be starting for the third season in a row in 2014. He has started at both guard and tackle in his career with the Griz, and will start at right tackle his senior season, although he is listed at the guard position on the preseason all-conference team. Poole was named to the Big Sky’s third team a year ago.

Griz Football FlagA 6-2, 301-pound senior from Honolulu, Takai will also will be starting for the third consecutive season in 2014. He was chosen a co-captain on defense this season, sharing that job with Wagenmann. He is the Grizzlies’ eighth leading returning tackler. A year ago he was UM’s 14th leading tackler with 32 stops. He was a third team All-Big Sky selection last season.

A three-year starter, Hermanson is Montana’s leading returning tackler. He was second on the team a year ago with 107 total tackles. He also was ranked second at UM with 53 solo stops, three forced fumbles, and in fumble recoveries with two.

A 6-1, 202-pound senior from Sioux Falls, S.D., Hermanson was ranked 13th in the Big Sky averaging 8.9 tackles a game, which was the 51st most in the FCS. He was a second team all-league selection as a junior.

2014 Big Sky Conference Preseason All-Conference Team

*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

*Unanimous selection
Offensive MVP – Vernon Adams, Jr., QB, Eastern Washington
Defensive MVP – Zack Wagenmann, Sr., DE, Montana