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Holker named finalist for Mackey Award, Kamara named MW Defensive Player of the Year

Justin Michael Avatar
November 28, 2023

Colorado State football came up short of its goal of returning to the postseason. 

While the 2023 season did not play out the way the team would have liked, many individuals on the roster played well enough to receive various forms of recognition this year. 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

Dallin Holker named finalist for Mackey Award

Dallin Holker has a chance to become the second Ram in the last three years to win the John Mackey Award. On Tuesday it was announced that Holker, along with Georgia’s Brock Bowers and Ohio State’s Cade Stover, are the three finalists for the prestigious award which is given annually to the nation’s top tight end. 

Holker leads all tight ends in the FBS in receptions (64) and receiving yards (767). He’s top three in touchdown receptions as well (6). 

Oct 14, 2023; Fort Collins, Colorado, USA; Colorado State Rams tight end Dallin Holker (5) celebrates after catching the game-winning touchdown against the Boise State Broncos at Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Of Holker’s biggest moments this season, the touchdown thrown to him by Tory Horton in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, as well his TD on a fake field goal against Middle Tennessee State were fun plays for the Green & Gold. 

Obviously his game-winning touchdown against Boise State was the biggest highlight of the season though. The “Holy Holker” is a play that will live on in the hearts of Ram fans for the rest of their lives. And it was the type of play that played a role in him receiving this type of national recognition. 

Mohamed Kamara named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year

Mohamed Kamara was unsurprisingly named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year after putting together a truly spectacular 2023 season. 

Kamara led the MW in sacks (13) and tackles for loss (17) this fall — even despite missing the first half of the MTSU win due to a targeting ejection late in the CU game. He was a nightmare for opposing offensive lines all season long and it will likely result in him going in the first couple rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft. As things currently stand, Kamara is Mel Kiper’s No. 6 edge rusher for the 2024 class. 

Kamara leaves CSU with 30.5 sacks and 45.5 tackles for loss on his resume. The sack total ranks second in school history, trailing only Clark Haggans (33). It’s also the second-most in MW history, with only Boise State’s Curtis Weaver having more (34). His TFL total ranks top five for both CSU and the conference as well. 

He is the first CSU football player to be named Mountain West Player of the Year since Garrett Grayson was recognized on the offensive side in 2014. Shaq Barrett was the last defensive player to receive the recognition back in 2013. 

Four Rams earn first-team all-conference honors

In addition to the honors we have already mentioned, Holker and Kamara were each named to the All-Mountain West first team. As were Tory Horton and Jack Howell. 

Horton finished the year with 96 receptions for 1,136 yards and eight touchdowns. He led the conference in catches per game (8). And he was a dynamic punt returner as well, which he was recognized on the All-Mountain West second team for. 

In just two seasons at CSU, the athletic wide receiver already is top 10 in school history in catches (167), yards (2,267) and touchdowns (16). 

Howell had another phenomenal season for the Green & Gold, finishing with 114 total tackles, the most among MW defensive backs. Since defensive stats became official in 2000, he is the first Rams DB to record back-to-back seasons with 100+ tackles. 

First Team

Tory Horton (WR)

Dallin Holker (TE)

Jack Howell (DB)

Mohamed Kamara (DL)

Second Team

Jacob Gardner (OL)

Tory Horton (PR)

Chase Wilson (LB)

Honorable Mention

Chigozie Anusiem (CB)

Henry Blackburn (DB)

Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi (QB)

Drew Moss (OL)

Justus Ross-Simmons (WR)

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