Dec. 13, 2013
When the Colorado State football team accepted an invitation to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl last Sunday, the announcement kicked off an exciting week that put on display the incredible transformation that has taken place in just two short seasons under head coach Jim McElwain.
As a promising group of recruits was wrapping up its three-day official visit in Fort Collins last Sunday, McElwain gathered his team in the McGraw Center auditorium and delivered the news they’d waited all week to hear: They were going back to a bowl game for the first time in five years. CSU will play Washington State in the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
A look back at the events in an exciting week as the Rams prepare to take the field this afternoon for their first official New Mexico Bowl practice:
MONDAY, DEC. 9
Monday morning, as coaches got back out on the recruiting trail and the student-athletes focused on classes and pre-bowl game workouts, one student-athlete was off to New York to receive a very special honor.
Freshman offensive lineman Zack Golditch from Gateway High School in Aurora, Colo., was chosen by the National Football Foundation to receive an inspiration award from the NFF at its annual College Football Hall of Fame and awards festivities. The trip placed Golditch at the epicenter of the college football world on Monday and Tuesday, attending various events to honor high school and collegiate scholar-athletes and this year’s College Football Hall of Fame class.
TUESDAY, DEC. 10
Tuesday brought the announcement of the 2013 All-Mountain West teams and players of the year, which included Rams senior linebacker Shaquil Barrett being named MW Defensive Player of the Year. He was the first CSU player to earn MW Defensive Player of the Year honors since Rick Crowell in 2000 and just the second Ram to be named the top defender in either the MW or WAC.
In all, nine CSU players were recognized, including first-team All-MW choices Barrett, Kapri Bibbs (RB), Crockett Gillmore (tight end), Weston Richburg (center) and Jared Roberts (kicker); second-teamers Shaq Bell (cornerback) and Ty Sambrailo (tackle) and honorable mention choices Kivon Cartwright (tight end) and Max Morgan (linebacker).
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 11
On Wednesday, head coach Jim McElwain and athletic director Jack Graham traveled to Albuquerque to take part in a Gildan New Nexico Bowl team announcement luncheon and press conference, also attended by Washington State head coach Mike Leach.
The event not only gave an opportunity for McElwain and Graham to express their appreciate and excitement, but allowed them to get a feel for the excitement of that community and the bowl’s supporters to host the Rams and Cougars on Dec. 21.
THURSDAY, DEC. 12
The Rams’ roster features a number of national honors candidates, and Thursday running back Kapri Bibbs’ name was called for the oldest established All-America team, from the Walter Camp Foundation. Bibbs was named to the second team of the 124th edition of the Walter Camp All-America squad.
Bibbs is just the third Ram to earn Walter Camp All-America honors, joining defensive lineman Mark Bell (1978) and safety Greg Myers (1995), and one of just three Mountain West players recognized (notebook).
Colorado State will hold practices through Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 17, before departing for Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
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