|Six Vandals earn all-WAC|
Six University of Idaho football players earned second team all-Western Athletic Conference honors for the 2011 season.
Seniors Matt Cleveland, Matthew Harvey, Tre`Shawn Robinson and Korey Toomer all earned the distinction along with junior Bobby Cowan and sophomore Mike LaGrone.
Cleveland, an offensive tackle, started every game for the past three seasons for a total of 38 successive starts. He has been a steady and consistent performer since arriving at Idaho after a stellar career at Kentwood (Kent, Wash.) High School. Although he was the unit’s only underclassman, he was a key figure in the Vandals’ 2009 Humanitarian Bowl championship season.
Harvey, a cornerback from Ft. Lauderdale’s Stoneman Douglas High School, transferred to Idaho in 2009 from Ellsworth College and had an immediate impact on special teams. This past fall, he had 38 total tackles (25 solo and 13 assists), which includes three tackles for loss. He also had one interception, forced one fumble and had five pass breakups. He continued in his role as a kick returner with four for 100 yards.
Robinson, one of five co-captains for the Vandals and the heart of the defense as Idaho’s middle linebacker, led Idaho in total tackles with 117 (59 solo and 58 assists). Included in those tackles were two sacks and seven tackles for loss. He also forced a team-best four fumbles and had three quarterback hurries and two pass breakups. From Upland (Calif.) High School, he finishes his Idaho career with 250 total tackles after starting his playing career as a true freshman in 2008.
Toomer, a linebacker from Las Vegas, Nev., spent two seasons at Arizona Western before joining the Vandals in time for their 2009 Humanitarian Bowl run. After playing in a backup role in 2009, he redshirted with an injury in 2010 before returning to the field in 2011 and having what may be one of the most versatile seasons ever for an Idaho player. He played two linebacker positions, defensive end, and in the Vandals’ nickel package as well as some memorable moments out of the backfield where he played fullback. His first carry was a two-point conversion in Idaho’s victory at San Jose State with his career best a three-touchdown performance in Idaho’s game against Utah State. He finished with 68 total tackles (38 solo and 30 assists), which includes a team-best 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. He also had four pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, one interception, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick. His offensive totals were nine carries for 28 yards and three touchdowns.
Cowan, who waged a year-long battle for the longest punting average in the nation, came to Idaho from Evergreen High School (Vancouver, Wash.). He finished second in the battle for the average with 46.41 per punt – just shy of the national lead of 47.0. However, his 2011 numbers put him in a tie for most punts in a season (88), the No. 1 figure for total punting yards (4,084) and the second best single-season average (46.4) in school history. He is the Vandal career leader in average per punt (45.2) and third in career punting yards (8,552) and fourth in career punts (189). He was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation’s best collegiate punter.
LaGrone began to come into his own as a sophomore tight end. After redshirting out of Reno’s McQueen High School as a freshman in 2009, he played in 11 of 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2010. This fall, he was the Vandals’ fourth-leading receiver with 21 catches for 262 yards and an average of 12.5 yards per catch. His long reception was 37 yards and his three scoring catches tied for a team-high. He also garnered attention for his abilities as a blocker.