MISSOULA — The University of Montana Grizzlies have landed a total of 18 players on all-Big Sky Conference teams, with a league-best 12 named to the first, second, or third teams the conference announced on Tuesday.
Montana had four first team selections in wide receiver Jamaal Jones, defensive tackle Caleb Kidder, linebacker Herbert Gamboa, and FCS sack leader Tyrone Holmes.
Senior wide receiver Jamaal Jones (Spanaway, Wash.) picks up a first team nod after climbing Montana’s career receiving yard list to second, and needing just 123 more yards to become the Grizzlies leading receiver of all-time.
Jones leads the Griz with 1092 yards this season, and 2,896 career yards. He is ranked sixth in the nation in receiving yards this year, and his nine touchdowns ties him at 10th for most TDs in the Big Sky.
After being bestowed Montana’s legacy number 37, junior Caleb Kidder (Helena, Mont.) put together a first team all-conference season at defensive tackle.
Kidder picked up a stat in nearly every defensive category as Montana’s fourth leading tackler, with 71 total takedowns, six tackles for loss, six pass deflections, five pass break-ups, an interception, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick.
On a post-season awards list deep with linebackers, Herbert Gamboa gets a first team selection at the outside linebacker position. The senior from San Clemente, Calif. is Montana’s fifth leading tackler this season with 60 total tackles, six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a pass breakup, a pass deflection, and a fumble recovery which he returned for a touchdown against Eastern Washington.
Senior defensive end Tyrone Holmes, a finalist for the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year award, finished the regular season as the nation’s leader in sacks (14). His first team all-Big Sky nod caps off a senior season where many felt could have earned the Defensive Player of the Year award from the Big Sky.
Holmes currently sits in fourth place on Montana’s all-time sack list with 30.5 in his illustrious career as a four-year starter. He needs just two more sacks to move into third place with 32, and just 2.5 more move into second place.
Holmes has also picked up 43.5 career tackles-for-loss, placing him in sixth place on Montana’s all-time ranking. With just two more TFLs this season, Holmes can pass three more former Grizzlies, and move into third on the all-time ranking with 45.5.
Earning a place on the second team were offensive tackle John Schmaing, reigning Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week Daniel Sullivan, and inside linebacker Kendrick Van Ackeren.
Van Ackeren leads the Grizzlies in total tackles with 125 in 10 games this season, the second most in the Big Sky Conference behind Sacramento State’s Darnell Sankey, who finished his season with 153 total takedowns.
Van Ackeren is also fourth in the nation in total tackles this season, with 60 solo tackles, 65 assisted tackles, averaging 12.4 per game.
On the third team, redshirt junior wide receiver Ellis Henderson picked up two spots on the list as a receiver and a kickoff return specialist. Redshirt sophomore Connor Strahm got a special teams nod, senior Jeremiah Kose got the call at inside linebacker, and senior Nate Harris was recognized at cornerback.
Receiving honorable mentions from the conference were senior transfer wide receiver Ben Roberts, redshirt junior offensive guard Devon Dietrich, junior running back John Nguyen, redshirt junior cornerback JR Nelson, junior safety Yamen Sanders, and senior punter Chris Lider.
Overall, Northern Arizona led all teams by placing five players on the first team, followed by Southern Utah and Montana placing four players on the first team.
Southern Utah and Montana led all teams with 12 players selected for all-Big Sky honors, with North Dakota and Portland State adding 11 players to the mix.
The All-Big Sky players are picked by the league’s head coaches. The coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.
— Montana Sports Information