If a potential bowl berth wasn’t enough, the CSU Rams now have further proof of just how far the team has come this season.
Nine Rams were named to the Mountain West All-Conference list, released Wednesday afternoon.
Running back Gartrell Johnson earned top honors for the Rams, achieving first-team status for the first time during his college career. The senior rolled for 1,191 yards rushing, 205 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns this season. He is the only Ram to earn first-team recognition since 2005 and the first CSU running back since Cecil Sapp in 2002.
Johnson said that he knew he had all-conference potential all season but still enjoys the honor.
“If I came out and worked hard, I knew the sky would be the limit,” the Florida native said. “That was my motto and my mojo throughout the season.”
Johnson gave credit to his offensive line and fullback for helping him achieve such high success.
Wide receiver Rashaun Greer, tight end Kory Sperry, offensive lineman Shelly Smith and Punter Anthony Hartz were also named to the all-conference list, earning second-team accolades.
Greer, who was named all-conference for the first time, said it’s nice to receive some recognition for all his hard work.
“It feels pretty good,” the junior said. “I must have had a good season if others are recognizing that. I didn’t expect second team”
Hartz, who led the conference, averaging 44.2 yards per punt, gave credit to the entire Rams organization for making huge strides this season.
“It shows the hard work of the program and that coaching can make you better,” the junior said. “It’s nice to know that with hard work you can do it.”
Center Tim Walter, kicker Jason Smith and linebackers Ricky Brewer and Mychal Sisson rounded out the list of all-conference Rams, earning honorable mention slots.
Even though he achieved elite status with in the MWC, Johnson was humble and said there is still time to improve before his college career ends.
“It feels great, but there are a couple of things I can still work on,” he said. “I had a couple of fumbles at the end of the season. If we can all come out and work hard, we will be good.”
While CSU hasn’t officially earned a bowl spot, the team is already preparing for the potential postseason berth. Greer said that while earning all-conference helps, the desire to win a bowl game will provide the most incentive to work hard in the coming weeks.
“Just to be in the post season is my motivation. To turn the season and the program around and to be the first class to do so is pretty motivating,” he said.
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.