NFL prospects impacted by Mountain West opting out on fall season

Rob Rang

The governing bodies of conference throughout the country are meeting this week in the hopes of salvaging college football this fall.

While there has been plenty of reports and speculation that the Big Ten would be canceling or at minimum delaying their season until the spring, the conference that actually took action Monday was the Mountain West, according to a report from Brett McMurphy of

As McMurphy notes, the Mountain West is the second FBS conference to do so, along with the Mid Atlantic Conference. Several smaller leagues within the Football Champion Subdivision have also canceled their fall seasons with the entire conference’s postseason plans nixed last week.

Some FCS players have already inquired about transferring elsewhere in the hopes of playing college football this fall, assuming, of course that plans in the ACC, Big 12 and SEC remain on course.

There are plenty of players in the Mountain West with legitimate NFL aspirations who also might be looking to transfer or perhaps join the six pack of prospects who have opted out on the 2020 season to jump directly into the 2021 NFL draft.

The Green Bay Packers pulled one of the biggest stunners of the 2019 NFL draft by selecting former Mountain West Conference standout and Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round. The Packers can only hope that their quarterback of the future enjoys the same kind of success that the Seahawks’ quarterback on defense – All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner – has gained in the NFL after starring at Utah State.

Boise State, of course, has proven the dominant force in this conference for years with multiple top picks, including four first rounders over the past decade. This past spring the Minnesota Vikings made former Broncos’ left tackle Ezra Cleveland the second MWC player of the board, selecting him 58th overall.

The following is a list of’s top-rated prospects for the Mountain West Conference – a group of players most other FBS teams would likely love to add to their rosters – and the NFL will be evaluating closely whenever their draft takes place.

It is a list led by reigning First Team All-MWC wideout Warren Jackson from Colorado State, a hulking presence who caught 77 balls last year for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns last year.

While CSU has certainly had more than its share of problems during the offseason, it is worth remembering the number of receivers it has sent to the NFL, including Michael Gallup (Dallas Cowboys), Bisi Johnson (Vikings), Rashard Higgins (Cleveland Browns) and former Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson, among others.

1. Warren Jackson, Colorado State, WR, 6-5, 219, 4.60, JR

2. Syrus Tuitele, OL, Fresno State, 6-5, 305, 5.20, SR

3. John Bates, TE, Boise State, 6-5, 255, 4.75, rSR

4. Troy Lefeged, Jr., S, Utah State, 5-10, 190, 4.50, SR

5. Justin Rice, ILB, Fresno State, 6-2, 225, 4.70, rSR

6. Manny Jones, DE, Colorado State, 6-4, 266, 4.85, SR

7. Xazavian Valladay, RB, Wyoming, 6-0, 196, 4.50, rJR

8. Solomon Byrd, DE, Wyoming, 6-3, 243, 4.70, rSoph

9. Tariq Thompson, S, San Diego State, 6-0, 200, 4.50, SR

10. Elijah Cooks, WR, Nevada, 6-4, 215, 4.55, SR

11. Keshawn Banks, DE, San Diego State, 6-3, 260, 4.75, JR

12. Charles Williams, RB, UNLV, 5-09, 185, 4.45, rSR

13. Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State, 6-0, 186, 4.50, JR

14. Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State, 6-2, 245, 4.75, JR

15. Giovanni Fauolo, FB/TE, 6-2, 255, 4.70, SR