<strong>LOGAN, Utah </strong>– Utah State football has two nominees for the fourth annual Utah Governor’s State of Sport Awards, hosted by the Utah Sports Commission and presented by Zions Bank. The award celebrates Utah’s sports community and honors excellence in high school, amateur, collegiate, Olympic and professional sports. The event also recognizes key sports partners who have been instrumental in helping to build Utah’s sports industry.
Linebacker Zach Vigil has been nominated for Male College Athlete of the Year, while head football coach Matt Wells is a nominee for Coach of the Year.
Fans can now vote to help pick the winner in each category at <a href=”http://www.stateofsportawards.com/”>www.stateofsportawards.com</a>. Winners in each of the 10 categories will be announced and recognized at an awards dinner on Tuesday, April 21 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City at 7 p.m. Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert will provide remarks and present awards along with acclaimed entertainer and motorsports enthusiast Jay Leno, who will be speaking to those in attendance at the awards dinner.
As a senior, Vigil was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports, a third-team All-American by Phil Steele, a fourth-team All-American by Athlon Sports and an honorable mention All-American by <a href=”http://si.com/”>SI.com</a>, along with being named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and the Defensive Most Valuable Player of the 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
During the 2014 season, Vigil led Utah State in tackles (156), tackles for loss (20.5), sacks (9.0) and QB hurries (6) to go along with four pass breakups and one interception, as his 20.5 tackles for loss ties the Mountain West single-season record. He also ranked second in the Mountain West and seventh in the nation in tackles (11.1 pg), second in the MW and 13th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.46 pg), and tied for third in the MW and tied for 39th in the nation in sacks (0.64 pg).
Vigil concluded his Utah State career with 43.5 tackles for loss breaking Jermaine Younger’s school record of 43.0 tackles for loss set from 1990-93. Vigil also ends his Aggie career with 389 total tackles to rank fifth all-time in school history.
Vigil ends his career as part of the winningest senior class in Utah State history with 37 victories, as well as a member of the group of Aggies who have participated in four-straight bowl games and won three-straight bowl games, both of which are school records.
In his second year at the helm of Utah State football, Wells led the Aggies to a 10-4 record, as USU recorded double-digit wins for just the second time in school history, trailing only the 2012 team that finished with an 11-2 record. Among the 10 wins was a 21-6 victory against UTEP in the Gildan New Mexico bowl, which was USU’s fourth-consecutive bowl game and its third-consecutive bowl game victory, both of which are school records.
Utah State ended the year ranking 32nd nationally in the final Associated Press poll with 11 votes, marking the third time in as many years that USU has concluded the season ranked among the top teams in the nation
Wells’ 19 victories in his first two seasons are the most by any Aggie coach his first two years, putting him as the 11th winningest coach in school history.
During the 2014 season, Wells mentored a league-leading 15 players to 16 all-Mountain West honors, including Vigil as Defensive Player of the Year. Overall, Utah State had six first-team Mountain West selections to lead the league.
Wells, who is the 12th-youngest head coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level and one of just 13 coaches to lead his alma mater, is just the second Utah State graduate to be appointed its head football coach joining Chris Pella, who graduated from USU in 1965 and coached the Aggies from 1983-85.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at <a href=”http://twitter.com/USUFootball”>twitter.com/USUFootball</a> or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at <a href=”http://instagram.com/USUFootball”>instagram.com/USUFootball</a>. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at <a href=”http://twitter.com/USUAthletics”>twitter.com/USUAthletics</a> or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.