Posted: Mar 23, 2020
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior wide receiver J.J. Koski and junior linebacker Matt Shotwell are the top award winners for the 2019 Cal Poly football team.
Koski (pictured above at left) earned the team's most valuable player and most valuable offensive player awards while Shotwell (pictured above at right) was named most valuable defensive player.
Koski, who in January became the first Cal Poly football player in six years to compete in an all-star game, making one catch in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., was a first-team All-Big Sky Conference selection in November and also was named to Phil Steele's Big Sky Conference Team.
Koski caught 42 passes for 868 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior. With 121 receptions, 2,311 yards and 18 touchdowns in his Mustang career, the San Ramon Valley High School graduate is tied for fifth in touchdowns, No. 5 alone in receiving yards and No. 6 in receptions.
His career highs were established in the UC Davis game in October when Koski caught eight passes for 163 yards. Another career high was set in the Eastern Washington contest in November as Koski scored three touchdowns.
Koski, Cal Poly's leading receiver for three consecutive seasons, was an all-Big Sky third-team selection a year ago and finished his career with a 19.1-yard average per reception, ninth in Cal Poly's Division I record book.
Shotwell led Cal Poly in total tackles with 89, including a team-leading 7.5 tackles for lost yardage, en route to third-team All-Big Sky Conference honors. He also contributed two interceptions and a pair of pass breakups along with forcing one fumble.
Shotwell had 90 tackles en route to All-Big Sky honorable mention praise in 2018.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Hamler was named most valuable offensive back and senior center Paul Trujillo-Langdon was presented with the most valuable offensive lineman award. On defense, senior safety Kitu Humphrey was honored as most valuable back and junior end Ryan Boehm earned the most valuable lineman award.
Hamler completed 57 percent of his passes (62 of 108) for 1,167 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing the ball 194 yards for 522 yards and nine more scores. Trujillo-Langdon was part of an offensive line that helped Cal Poly finish No. 7 in the nation in time of possession, No. 9 in rushing offense and in the top 25 in both third-down and fourth-down conversions.
A team captain the last two years, Humphrey garnered 69 tackles, one sack, one interception and five pass breakups in 2019. Boehm notched 32 tackles and also recorded one pass breakup, one quarterback hurry and one fumble recovery.
Sophomore defensive tackle Myles Cecil was named most improved player of the year while redshirt freshman linebacker Timothy Miller earned most inspirational player of the year honors. Named most valuable special teams player was senior fullback Trey Nahhas.
Memorial awards were presented to sophomore linebacker Aaron Cooper (Mel Kaufman Award), senior safety Carter Nichols (Legion Award) and junior safety Bradley Mickey (Dale Barthel Award).
The Kaufman Award is presented annually to the Cal Poly player who most exemplifies the virtues Kaufman became known for on and off the field. A linebacker on the Mustangs' 1980 NCAA Division II national championship team who died in February 2009 after one year as Cal Poly's linebackers coach, Kaufman earned four Super Bowl rings with the Washington Redskins, three as a player and one as a scout.
The Legion (Snelling) Award goes to a team leader who plays hard during practice as well as in games and exemplifies being good on a daily basis while the Barthel Award is presented in honor of Dale Barthel, a defensive back and outside linebacker at Cal Poly from 1979-83, who played on the Mustangs' 1980 NCAA Division II national championship football team as a redshirt freshman Barthel passed away in January 2015 after a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."
Fullback/tight end Sam Stewart was named Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year while linebacker Judaea Moon was presented with the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year Award. Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Year honors went to junior slot back Jacob Naschke.
Cal Poly wrapped up a 3-8 campaign in 2019 with a come-from-behind 28-21 win at Northern Colorado. The Mustangs won their season opener versus San Diego as well as their Big Sky opener against Southern Utah.
Five of Cal Poly's opponents qualified for the FCS playoffs. The Mustangs also played their second game ever against a Pac-12 school and, according to USA Today's Jeff Sagarin Ratings, played the fifth-toughest schedule among the 124 FCS programs in 2019. The Mustangs' 11 foes were a combined 73-64 with Weber State and Montana State reaching the FCS semifinals and finishing 11-4 for the year.
Most team awards were chosen by the players.