COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 26, 2018) - The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference announced the 2018 RMAC Football Preseason Players of the Year Thursday and in the process honored Colorado State University-Pueblo senior Brandon Payer (Pine, Colo.) as the RMAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The preseason awards were voted on by all 11 head coaches. Coaches could not vote for their own players.
The rest of the Preseason All-RMAC teams and Preseason Coaches Poll results will be announced prior to the RMAC Football Kickoff at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 30. For more information on the event, click here.
PAYER 2017 BIO
AFCA All-America First Team ... D2Football.com All-America Second Team ... D2CCA All-Region First Team ... All-RMAC First Team ... All-NFFCC First Team ... Cliff Harris Award Finalist ... Started all 12 games at inside linebacker and finished the season with 110 tackles with 71 solo ... Was 2nd in the RMAC in both tackles and solo tackles ... Ranks 22nd nationally in solo tackles ... The 71 solo tackles is a new modern era program record ... Led the RMAC with 14.0 tackles for loss (-50 yards) and added 4.5 sacks to tie for 5th ... Forced three fumbles (T-3rd in RMAC, T-58th nationally) with one recovery ... Compiled six games with double-digit tackle totals with a season high 14 at West Texas A&M (Sept. 9) ... The ThunderWolves defense finished the regular season 10th nationally in both total defense (273.5 yards per game) and scoring defense (14.3 ppg) and 11th in turnovers gained (27) ... Academic All-District and Academic All-RMAC First Team.
THE THUNDERWOLVES IN 2017
The Pack finished the season with a 9-3 overall record, while their 9-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference mark was good for a share of the league title. CSU-Pueblo advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs as a seven seed. The ThunderWolves fell 16-13 in overtime to No. 1 overall and No. 2 seed Minnesota State University, Mankato. The Pack were No. 20 nationally following the end of the regular season and moved up to No. 17 in the final poll.
The defense closed the regular season top 20 nationally in eight categories, red zone defense (3rd, 57.7%), interceptions (4th, 21), team passing efficiency defense (4th, 88.95), defensive touchdowns (7th, 5), scoring defense (10th, 14.3), total defense (10th, 273.5), turnovers gained (11th, 27) and passing yards allowed (18th, 164.6).
The Pack also finished the regular season top 25 in Division II in turnover margin (17th, 1,0), net punting (20th, 36.8), kick returns (23rd, 23.0), red zone offense (23rd, 88%) and scoring offense (24th, 37.6).
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.