Friday, April 26, 2013.
Jamar Taylor is accustomed to waiting. The Boise State cornerback didn’t wait out of the gate—he was good enough to play as a true freshman in 2008 and nabbed his first career interception at San Jose State. But Kyle Wilson and Brandyn Thompson were rather settled in at corner, and Taylor preserved a year of eligibility by redshirting in 2009. He thus waited and watched during the Broncos’ second Fiesta Bowl season. What’s a little more waiting today? Taylor wasn’t selected in the first round of the NFL Draft last night, but he should go tonight. There were four cornerbacks selected in the first round, and many draft boards have Taylor as the fifth-best corner available this year.
Who’s not rooting for D.J. Harper tomorrow? I say tomorrow because that’s when Harper will be chosen in the NFL Draft—if he is chosen at all. Three games into the 2009 season, Harper had the look of an NFL running back after big performances against Oregon and Fresno State. That’s when he suffered the first of his two season-ending knee injuries. Harper has received high marks from NFL scouts for resilience, tenacity and toughness, and the ability to bounce back and log a 1,000-yard season as a senior. He still has that burst in the open field, as evidenced by his final game on the blue turf when he peeled off an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against Colorado State.
There aren’t many mock drafts that go all seven rounds. Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com has one, though, and he projects Harper to go in the seventh round to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Flash back to the agony of the 2009 draft when everyone assumed Ian Johnson would be selected—and he wasn’t. Not many around the country are expecting Harper’s name to be called this weekend. It would be ironic if it was.
Has anyone ever zoomed up the draft boards faster than BYU’s Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah? It was just seven months ago that Ansah turned from curiosity to dominator with his performance in the Cougars’ 7-6 loss to Boise State in Bronco Stadium. At the time still a raw talent from Ghana, he led BYU in tackles with eight, 2½ of them for loss, and added a pass deflection and a sack. Most importantly, he was right in the middle of the Cougars’ epic goal-line stand in the third quarter that stopped the Broncos on four consecutive plays after a first-and-goal at the one. And what happened from there? Ansah was MVP of the Senior Bowl in January—and the No. 5 overall pick last night, going to the Detroit Lions. He’s been playing football for three years.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will be played later this year, but that’s only because bowl season begins later. The 17th edition of what was once the Humanitarian Bowl will kick off on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 21, the first day of the bowls. The Mountain West is affiliated with the game for the first time in its history, taking on a MAC opponent. But Utah State could still appear in its third straight Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, as the Aggies move from the WAC to the MW this year. USU used a 28-point fourth quarter to squash Toledo in last year’s game, 41-15.
The Idaho Steelheads are in a must-win situation tonight, because if they don’t beat Ontario in Game 4 of the ECHL Western Conference semifinals, they’ll be in a near-impossible 3-1 hole. Of the offensive woes that have suddenly struck the potent Steelies, the power play stands out. Idaho's power play came up empty on three chances in Wednesday night’s Game 3 loss to the Reign and is now 1-of-16 on the man-advantage in its last five games. The positive for the Steelheads is goalie Josh Robinson appears to have shaken off the rust. Robinson carried a shutout into the third period Wednesday before Ontario spoiled it. The winning goal he yielded late in the game was on a bang-bang play after the Steelies turned the puck over.
The Boise State men’s tennis team has cruised into the semifinals of the Mountain West Championships, beating host Air Force 4-1 yesterday. Thomas Tenreiro won his 16th straight match for the Broncos, who face UNLV Saturday. Andy Bettles was upset in his match, but he was named MW Player of the Year yesterday. The Boise State women’s golf team is second after the opening round of the Mountain West Championships in Rancho Mirage, CA, with Hayley Young two shots off the individual lead. And the Boise State women's softball team tries to build on its two-out-of-three showing against San Diego State last week, hosting Colorado State today, tomorrow and Sunday at Dona Larsen Park. The Broncos are 3-6 in Mountain West play, while the Rams are 6-3.
Graham DeLaet is in a good place heading into the second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans today. The former Boise State star fired a four-under 68 that included four birdies on the back nine yesterday and sits four shots behind first-round leader Ricky Barnes. It was in the New Orleans tournament that DeLaet picked up the second-biggest paycheck of his career three years ago, collecting $281,600 when he tied for fourth.
There was still one former Boise Hawk active in the majors from the Angels affiliation era this month, but that’s over now. Ramon Ortiz was a mid-April call-up by the Toronto Blue Jays, but he lasted a little over a week before being designated for assignment. Ortiz appeared in just one game, going 3 1/3 innings against the White Sox a week ago Wednesday and allowing two runs on five hits. The Dominican right-hander, who turns 40 next month, had not pitched for almost two years, since a brief stint with the Cubs in 2011. Ortiz’s career record is 86-84 with a 4.93 ERA. He went 1-1 for the Hawks way back in 1996.
A Boise State original has passed away. Murray Satterfield, who transitioned Bronco basketball from the junior college era to four-year status 45 years ago, died Wednesday at the age of 87. Satterfield led the Broncos during their final three seasons as a JC and most of their first five seasons as a four-year school, stepping down two-thirds of the way through the 1972-73 campaign due to difficulty with a hearing loss. He coached two players who remain among the best in Boise State history, Ron Austin and Bill Otey. Satterfield returned to the bench three seasons later at the College of Idaho, where he coached for three years. His stay with the Coyotes included a 13-12 record in 1976-77, C of I’s only winning record of the 1970s.
This Day In Sports…April 26, 2008, five years ago today:
Ryan Clady makes Boise State history by becoming the school’s first-ever first-round pick in the NFL Draft. Clady was selected No. 12 overall by Denver, with coach Mike Shanahan immediately anointing him as the Broncos’ starting left tackle. Clady, who started every game of his college career, had left BSU following his junior year after being named the school’s first consensus Division I-A All-American. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick also passed up his senior season at Boise State to enter the NFL Draft, and he was selected in the fifth round by the Dallas Cowboys.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)