Monday, April 26, 2010.
What do you do when you’re a brand new first round draft pick in New York City? Why, you throw out the first pitch at a Mets game three days after the big event. Former Boise State star Kyle Wilson did just that last night at Citi Field, wearing a Mets jersey with his name on the back. His pitch was low and away to rightfielder Jeff Francoeur. To be fair, Wilson never played much baseball growing up. He was all about football then, and he certainly is now. Most reviews of the New York Jets’ draft talk about Kyle’s “confidence” and “attitude.” They also rave about his value on special teams. “The Jets won’t allow two kickoff return touchdowns to the Dolphins with Wilson on the coverage units,” wrote Mike Tanier in the New York Times, noting the kick Kyle downed on the one-yard-line before TCU’s last-gasp drive in the Fiesta Bowl.
I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say that Richie Brockel’s experience as a free agent signee with the San Diego Chargers is going to be a lot different than Jeremy Childs’ last year. Brockel, who went undrafted Saturday, played all four years at Boise State and is close to a master’s degree. Childs, the Broncos’ single-season record holder in receptions, declared early for the NFL Draft after his junior year—and was not selected in 2009. Childs signed with the Chargers but did not make it as far as training camp. I’m thinking Brockel, envisioned as a tight end by San Diego, will still be on the roster at the end of July. End of August, for that matter.
Nuggets from the NFL Draft’s final two days: yes, there were three WAC stars chosen in the first round. No, that wasn’t the start of something big for the conference. Only two other WAC players were selected, both from Louisiana Tech. Defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith went in the third round to Jacksonville, and tight end Dennis Morris was picked in the sixth round by Washington. The five total selections were the fewest in the draft for the WAC since 2006. Also, Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount was snubbed Saturday. Whether it was fallout from his punchout of Boise State’s Byron Hout last September will forever be debatable. Blount first agreed to a few agent deal with the 49ers over the weekend but has reneged, going instead with the Tennessee Titans.
With Boise State’s senior class size getting back to normal this season, who are the Broncos’ most likely draft candidates 12 months from now? It could be a pretty good year. By consensus it would be Austin Pettis and Titus Young on offense and Jeron Johnson and Ryan Winterswyk from the defense. Those are four excellent prospects. The wild card would be Winston Venable, who doesn’t fit the physical mold but certainly meets the intangible requirements. Boise State’s record for NFL draft picks is four in 2007. Could there be five in 2011?
Idaho’s Silver & Gold Game Friday night in the Kibbie Dome was all about the defense. And that’s fine with coach Robb Akey. "We gained a lot of ground on defense this spring,” said Akey. “What I see was a defense that has gained confidence. It has a swagger. I'm very happy to see that." That’s big, because despite their first winning season in 10 years, the Vandals allowed an average of almost 49 points a game over their final six games of the season, including the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl win over Bowling Green. Linebacker Paul Senescall was the monster of the spring game, recording four tackles-for-loss.
Can the Idaho Steelheads do this twice more? The Steelheads completed perhaps the most dominating playoff series in their history Friday night, finishing off Utah 4-1 in the National Conference semifinals to record a four-game sweep. The Steelies now look ahead to Friday night, when they open the conference finals against Stockton in Qwest Arena. Idaho dominated the Thunder during the regular season, winning 10 of 12 games. That may be ancient history for purposes of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, but the Steelheads’ performance in said playoffs is quite relevant. The Utah Grizzlies never knew what hit ‘em, watching the puck end up in their net 21 times in the four-game series.
New Orleans was the tonic for Troy Merritt. The former Boise State star not only made his first cut since the end of January, he earned big money at the Zurich Classic. Merritt finished third yesterday, four shots behind winner Jason Bohn, the wire-to-wire leader. Merritt put a Sunday exclamation point on the weekend with a wild five-under-67. He carded three bogeys—and six birdies and an eagle. Merritt’s performance was worth a cool $435,000, quadrupling his total winnings in this, his rookie year on the PGA Tour.
It’s very rare that an Idahoan appears in the “Faces In The Crowd” feature in Sports Illustrated. The state can go years without having somebody sneak in there. Well, Capital High track & field star Kasen Covington is not only in the section this week, he’s the centerpiece as the “High School Video Face.” The text cites Covington’s title in the triple jump at the Reed/Sparks Rotary Invitational in Sparks, NV. That’s where he leaped 52 feet, two inches, the best non-wind-aided high school mark in the country this year.
This Day In Sports…April 26, 2008:
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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)