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Weber State Notebook: Football enters top 10; Bankston, Kelly get Big Sky honors

Volleyball also grabs honors, Shaheed shines for Saints, WBB gets first 2024 commitment

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Sep 11, 2023

Robert Casey, Weber State Athletics

Weber State's Damon Bankston, center, runs the football as Northern Iowa's Corry Thomas Jr. (3) and Edwin Dearman (21) pursue on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Weber State football has been rewarded — both the team and individual standouts — for its 34-17 road victory at then-No. 21 Northern Iowa on Saturday.

The Wildcats moved up three spots to No. 9 in this week’s STATS FCS Top 25, as voted upon by members of media and conference offices, and school information directors.

Weber State (2-0) is one of four Big Sky Conference teams ranked in the top 10 and six to appear in the poll.

Montana State remains at No. 3 after its final-minute road loss to No. 1 South Dakota State. Idaho rose to No. 5 after shellacking FBS Nevada. Sacramento State checks in at No. 8. In two weeks, Big Sky play starts with a bang as MSU visits Weber and Sac State trips to Idaho.

Montana is now ranked No. 12 after beating up Utah Tech and UC Davis, who lost big to FBS-ranked Oregon State, fell one spot to No. 16.

Eastern Washington is now receiving votes after losing at Fresno State in two overtimes.

Individually, Damon Bankston and Jack Kelly took home Big Sky honors as players of the week.

Bankston, who crossed the 1,000-yard career rushing mark, totaled 144 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries to help WSU to the win. In two games this season, Bankston has rushed for 263 yards on 35 carries, scoring five touchdowns.

Linebacker Jack Kelly is the Big Sky’s defensive player of the week. He totaled four tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles (one he recovered, one a teammate recovered), and also tipped a pass that was intercepted by a teammate.


Weber State volleyball hauled in a pair of individual honors after winning three matches by a 9-1 set margin at a tournament hosted by Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Junior setter Kate Standifird is the Big Sky’s offensive player of the week by totaling 114 assists and seven aces in wins over Tulane, Prairie View A&M and host TAMU-CC.

Senior libero Makayla Sorensen is the defensive player of the week. She totaled 52 digs and served four aces last week, including 20 digs against PVAMU.


Former Weber State all-world kick returner Rashid Shaheed shined again in the New Orleans Saints’ NFL season opener.

Shaheed totaled 216 all-purpose yards, including 100 from scrimmage, and scored the game’s only touchdown in a 16-15 win over Tennessee in the first game of his sophomore pro season.

Shaheed totaled 89 yards on five catches, rushed twice for 11 yards, returned five kickoffs for 110 yards, and returned two punts for 6 yards.


Weber State women’s basketball ticked a mark in the 2024 recruiting class by garnering a commitment Saturday.

Dakota Nap, a 6-foot wing/forward from the greater Seattle area, announced her commitment to Jenteal Jackson and company via social media posts.

Nap averaged 10.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game for Hazen High School in Renton, Washington, last season. She tallied shooting splits of .410/.300/.713.

Nap is the sister of current Montana men’s basketball player Jaxon Nap.


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