Tuesday, May 2, 2017
This was the eighth straight season Boise State had at least one player taken in the NFL Draft (and it would have been the 12th had Ian Johnson not gone surprisingly undrafted in 2009). So, will the Broncos make it nine years in a row 12 months from now? At first glance, there’s one player on the current Bronco roster who’s a legit candidate in 2018, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. And as good as Wilson was last season, with 56 catches for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns, he’ll need a similar or better year as a senior to cement his status as an NFL Draft pick. There’s another player who could get in the conversation if he can get healthy again and return to his freshman-sophomore form. Jake Roh is a high-level tight end, but he’s undersized as an NFL guy at 6-3, 227 pounds.
Two years from now, Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien will be a much-discussed guy. That makes the buzz surrounding Wyoming QB Josh Allen all the more interesting. USA Today has identified Allen as one of its 10 players to watch for next year’s draft, and one NFL personnel director told ESPN's Adam Schefter to "put it in the books" that Allen will be the No. 1 pick overall. Um, he was second-team All-Mountain West last season behind Rypien as a first-year starter. Allen, who like Rypien will be a junior this season, completed just 56 percent of his throws in 2016 for 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns against 15 interceptions. Those numbers will tell you there’s a lot riding on Allen in 2017 if he has designs on departing early for the 2018 draft.
What is it about Josh Allen? You know it starts with size. Allen is 6-5, 233 pounds. Voila. And, the conventional wisdom goes, if Wyoming coach Craig Bohl could bring along current Philadelphia Carson Wentz in the North Dakota State days, why can’t Allen be a clone? He does have a big arm, and to be fair, he does have savvy. Allen’s 27-yard off-balance, under-pressure, fourth-quarter rocket to Tanner Gentry in the back of the end zone against Boise State last October was a jaw-dropper.
Since Jeremy McNichols and Doug Martin are now teammates at Tampa Bay, I thought it would be interesting to look at their Boise State career rushing stats, since it seemed to me they’d be very close. And that is the case. Martin rushed for 3,431 yards over three-plus seasons when the Broncos were more multiple and more committee-like at running back. McNichols ran for 3,159 yards—just 272 yards fewer—while basically compacting his career into two seasons. Martin averaged 5.6 yards per carry, and McNichols 5.7. Martin logged 17 100-yard games and McNichols 16. You can really see a difference in the touchdowns breakout, though, as Martin had 43 TDs on the ground to McNichols’ 44 but trailed in total touchdowns 55-48 thanks to the McWeapon’s passing game prowess.
Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter was on KTIK yesterday with Caves & Prater, his old buddies. “We’ve got a little ‘Boise State Deep South’ workin’ here,” said Koetter, the former Bronco coach, noting Thomas Sperbeck, Jonathan Moxey, and scout Antwon Murray in addition to Martin and McNichols. He wouldn’t say that Martin is a lock to be on the Buccaneers’ roster come September. “That’s something that still has to play itself out,” Koetter said. “We’re not going to have him those first three games,” referring to the remainder of Martin’s suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. These next few months are going to be important. Koetter did praise Martin’s mindset and work ethic, though. “We don’t have to make a decision right now.”
No stats were provided from Idaho’s annual Silver & Gold Game last Friday night in, but we do know that it’ll likely be Matt Linehan-to-Jacob Sannon early and often in the upcoming season. Linehan wrapped up spring football with a 34-for-38 performance in the Kibbie Dome, with 10 of the strikes going to Sannon. There were plenty of distractions, all of them welcome. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl championship banner was unveiled, and last year’s Vandal seniors were given their bowl rings. Rings also went to the mom and the widow of the late Jace Malek, who died 15 months ago. And coach Paul Petrino was surprised with an appearance by his dad to present him with his 2016 Sun Belt Coach of the Year award.
They’re not “way too early” top 25’s anymore; they’re now labeled “post-spring.” ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach has released his, and he still sees Boise State as worthy of the rankings. Schlabach places the Broncos at No. 24, five spots behind the only other non-Power 5 school on his list, No. 19 South Florida. “The Broncos figure to be the best team from a Group of 5 conference, especially with quarterback Brett Rypien entering his third season as a starter,” writes Schlabach. (He didn’t forget that the AAC is also a Group of 5 league, did he?) If Schlabach is accurate, he sets up Week 2 of the season nicely. His No. 25 team is Washington State.
There would be a tendency to say that Destiny Slocum will be a program changer upon hearing that she has decided to transfer to Oregon State. But the Mountain View High grad and two-time Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year is merely going to make the Beavers even more powerful than they already are. Slocum, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year this past season at Maryland, has announced she’s coming back out West. And she’ll play for a team that went 31-5 last season, was No. 8 in the final AP Poll and made it to the Women’s Sweet 16. Slocum could be the difference between a Sweet 16 and a Final Four, though—once she gets on the court after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer rules.
This Day In Sports…May 2, 1939:
Lou Gehrig pulls himself out of the New York Yankees lineup for the first time since 1925—2,130 consecutive games earlier. Gehrig would never play another game and would soon lose his battle with ALS, now known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Gehrig’s consecutive games record would stand for over 66 years, with Cal Ripken finally breaking it in 1995. Ripken’s streak would last almost until the end of the 1998 season, finishing at 2,632 games.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)