Utah State up for State of Sport awards
The State of Sport award nominees are out, and Utah State fans have a chance to represent their school. Perhaps unsurprisingly, every Aggie candidate has to do with football.
You can vote online now. Here are the USU nominees (you can click the nominee to go to the voting link):
• Team of the year - Utah State football: The 11-2 Aggies were the school's best team ever by just about every measure. Most wins, a bowl win, a conference championship and a few all-Americans. Utah State was ranked No. 16 by the AP by the end of the year, and were a few field goals away from a possible BCS berth. The Aggies were beyond compare in-state in college football, but will be competing against American Fork cross country, Lone Peak basketball, Jordan football, UVU baseball and BYU soccer - all those squads were nationally renowned at one point or another in their specific disciplines.
• Collegiate Male - Chuckie Keeton: The Aggies' quarterback elevated to in-state superstar this year. The sophomore averaged 307 yards per game, ranking No. 17 in offense. During Utah State's 11-2 season, he threw for 3,373 yards and 27 touchdowns with a 67.6 completion percentage - all single-season school records. He particularly stood out in a weak year for in-state quarterbacks. He's going against Utah's lineman Star Lotulelei and kick returner Reggie Dunn, but the other non-football candidates are UVU baseball player Goose Kallunki, SUU's Olympian Cameron Levins and Weber State-star-turned-NBA-star Damian Lillard.
• Coach of the Year - Gary Andersen: So Aggies fans may not necessarily love voting for the now ex-head coach, but there's little taking away from what he accomplished this year at the helm of the program. If you want to look at the arc, it was the realization of a four-year overhaul of Utah State, a culmination of talent and success that was the result of Andersen's vision and the work of his staff. Without Andersen, Matt Wells may have never come to Logan and taken the reins - that's something worth considering in the years to come when judging Andersen's impact on the Aggies. He's going against Lone Peak's Quincy Lewis (who already won the national high school coach of the year, but for 2013), American Fork's Timo Mostert, UVU baseball's Eric Madsen and BYU soccer's Jennifer Rockwood. Are we sensing a pattern yet?
You could consider some snubs for the Aggies: How about Utah State football beats Louisiana Tech for Game of the Year? Bobby Wagner for Pro of the Year? And yes, Aggie football was the talk of the season, but maybe a nod Aggie soccer or volleyball? Maybe some love for Natalie Norris who was the WAC defensive player of the year?
Anyway, for the candidates who did receive a nomination, fans can vote at the State of Sport website. The even itself is on April 16 at Zion's Bank Basketball Center starting at 11:30 a.m. Andre Agassi - yes, that one - will be hosting with Gov. Gary Herbert.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon
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