LAS VEGAS - Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner has received plenty of preseason publicity over the last few weeks.

And it's flattering to the senior.

"It means a lot," Wagner said on Wednesday morning. "It just means that my hard work is being seen by others across the country. I definitely feel honored, but it's not necessarily what I want out of the season. If I get all of those awards and we still don't win, it won't mean anything."

Wagner picked up another preseason honor on Thursday as he was tabbed the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

"It's definitely a blessing and humbling experience," Wagner said. "... It's definitely an honor, and I appreciate it."

Media members that cover the WAC voted on the preseason player of the year awards.

"There are a lot of talented players in this league and to be recognized as the top defensive player is a tremendous honor," Wagner said. "I am very grateful. I am also even more motivated to continue the hard work that got me here and have a solid season to show that I deserve this honor."

Hawaii senior quarterback Bryant Moniz was tabbed the Offensive Player of the Year.

"It's a great honor and it's really tipping the hat off to our offense, the offensive line, our receivers and everybody that we have," Moniz said. "This year, we've got a bunch of new guys and I know they all want to step right into filling those shoes and being that next name for Hawaii."

If what Wagner has done in the past is any indication, he should have another solid season for the Aggies.

Wagner is a two-time first-team all-WAC honoree. Last season, he led the WAC and tied for seventh in the nation with 11.1 tackles per game.

"I definitely want to go out with a bang, however that is, I don't know," Wagner said. "Winning is our No. 1 goal. Individual stats really don't mean anything to me. If I get 60 tackles but we're in a bowl game, I'm perfectly fine with that. As long as I'm doing my best to help the team win, that's all I care about. So, my main focus right now is to win."

The native of Ontario, Calif., is the first Aggie to earn a preseason WAC honor since USU joined the league in 2005.

"Bobby Wagner is the best," Utah State running back Robert Turbin said. "Bobby Wagner is the best linebacker, in my opinion, in the nation. And, he will compete that way. ... It's not about being the best on the team, it's not about being the best in the conference - at least for me. It's about being the best out of everybody.

"I know Bobby Wagner has that same mentality."

This is the Aggies' first conference preseason honor since 2004 when Ronald Tupea and Robert Watts were named to the Sun Belt preseason first-team all-conference team.

"It is a great honor for Bobby to be considered by the league's media as the best defensive player in the conference," USU head coach Gary Andersen said. "We are extremely happy for Bobby. He is not only an outstanding leader on and off the field, but he is the catalyst for our entire defense, because he does things the right way.

"He never has been motivated by individual honors or individual stats. Bobby strives for team goals and team success, and his number one priority is to help this team compete for a WAC title and a bowl game."

Wagner racked up 133 tackles in 2010. He enters his senior season needing just 22 stops to break into USU's top-10 list for a career.

Despite his past success, Wagner has worked hard this offseason to get even better.

"I've just been working hard becoming a better leader," Wagner said. "I'm not that vocal of a leader; I like to lead by example. I definitely feel like in the offseason I tried to be a little bit more vocal and have tried to say more.

"As far as the game, I've tried to watch a little bit more film. You can always understand the defense a little bit better. I don't know the defense perfectly, but I want to know it as well as the coaches do, and I want to be that coach on the field."

Wagner and Moniz will square off Nov. 5 in Honolulu. The Warriors' signal caller has great respect for Wagner.

"Those kind of guys just give you headaches," Moniz said. "We have to scheme to try and block him and make sure that he doesn't disrupt anything in the passing game or running game," He causes problems and he's going to be a tough one to deal with this year."

New Mexico State quarterback Andrew Manley agreed with his Hawaii counterpart.

"He's a very good linebacker," Manley said. "He's all over the field, so when we play them, just try to stay away from him as much as we can. He's a real good player and it's just exciting to face a player like that."

Moniz was the nation's leader in passing and total offense last year as he became just the 11th player in FBS history to surpass 5,000 passing yards in a season.

The native of Wahiawa, O'ahu, set four school records including most yards passing in a game with 560 against San Jose State.

"He's a great quarterback," Wagner said of Moniz. "He's got a solid arm and he can run. That's his strong point, is running. He can use his legs and use them pretty well. When we play them, we've just got to stop that."


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