Tuesday, May 21, 2013.
Consider for a moment who you think Boise State’s top NFL Draft prospect is on the 2013 Bronco team. If you’re ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., you’ll say Demarcus Lawrence. Kiper has Lawrence as one of the top 10 prospects at defensive end in the 2014 draft. If Lawrence is available for the draft, that would mean he’d forego his senior year at Boise State—he is only a junior this year. Only three Broncos have ever declared early for the NFL. It worked out well for Ryan Clady and Orlando Scandrick in 2008, and not so well for Jeremy Childs in 2009. In his first season after transferring from Butler Community College, Lawrence led the team with 13 tackles for loss and 9½ sacks last year and was named first-team All-Mountain West. He also had an interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Also of note among Boise State opponents on Kiper’s list: Washington’s Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is his No. 1 prospect at tight end, and UW’s Bishop Sankey is among the top 10 running backs. The Broncos will see them again (or at least Sankey) at the grand re-opening of Husky Stadium on August 31. Kiper likes three BYU players, putting Kyle Van Noy No. 3 among outside linebackers and wide receiver Cody Hoffman and tight end Kaneakua Friel in the top 10 at their positions. And Fresno State’s Derek Carr goes into his senior year as a top 10 Kiper pick at quarterback.
Fresno State released all of its 2013 kickoff times yesterday, and gametime against Boise State will be convenient for Western ESPN watchers. The Broncos and Bulldogs will tee it up at 7 p.m. Mountain time in Fresno on Friday, September 20. For those attending the game, it’ll be convenient, but not particularly comfortable. The normal high in Fresno on September 20 is 90. Four years ago when Boise State played in Bulldog Stadium on September 18 the temperature topped 100.
At the end of a session with reporters yesterday that had Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson talking about his goals this year and playing with injured fingers last year, he was asked about former teammate Titus Young. And he got really quiet. "It's very tough," Johnson said, according to USA Today. "We pray that he can get his off-the-field situation straight so then he can move forward with his life." Johnson sat a few feet away from Young in the locker room during the former Boise State standout’s two seasons with the Lions. "You can never foresee things like this," Johnson said of Young's troubles. "And like I say, we just wish him the best, man. It's unfortunate what he's going through. We're praying for him."
Another shot for Gary Stevens in the Belmont Stakes? Well, why not? After Oxbow’s upset win at the Preakness, trainer D. Wayne Lukas is planning on entering horse and rider in the Belmont on June 8. It sets up a rematch with Kentucky Derby winner Orb, although that horse’s camp hasn’t committed yet. There’s no doubt who Lukas’ top jockey is. “He's so on top of all this stuff," Lukas said of Stevens. "He'll tell you the fractions, who was laying fourth on the backside and everything. He's very into this, very into this.”
Stevens was still relishing his Preakness crown when he appeared on the Jim Rome Show yesterday. “That was one of the easiest of the nine (Triple Crown wins) I’ve had,” Stevens said. Old-timers will remember how ecstatic Stevens was after his first Kentucky Derby win aboard Winning Colors 25 years ago. But this was something else for the 50-year-old native Idahoan. “It’s the best victory of my career—I’m not going to lie to you.”
Former Dontrelle Willis is in Sports Illustrated again this week, but it’s not like he used to be in Sports Illustrated. Under Willis’ photo is the headline, “Misfit Boys Of Summer,” and a story on the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, where one-time big leaguers go to try to resurrect their careers. Nine of the players on the Ducks’ 25-man roster are former major leaguers, including Willis—10 years after he burst on the scene as National League Rookie of the Year and earned a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins. He has been out of the bigs since the end of the 2011 season, when he went 1-6 for Cincinnati while still only 29 years old. The D-Train was the Hawks’ Opening Night starter when the Cubs era began in 2001.
Followup on an ESPN.com non-BCS recruiting analysis I talked about last week that trumpeted Boise State and BYU. It referenced BYU’s ability to extend college careers through LDS missions and brought up Tanner Mangum, the former Eagle High quarterback. Mangum leaves on his mission this summer, but he did get spring football in with the Cougars. In BYU’s spring game, he completed all six of his pass attempts and rushed for 56 yards. Mangum is still technically a true freshman, so he could yet redshirt when he returns to Provo in 2015.
The theory regarding College of Idaho football is proving to be true: that the new Coyote program will provide an invaluable opportunity to in-state players. Yote coach Mike Moroski has signed 10 more players to be charter members of the reincarnation of the C of I team, all of them from Idaho. The Coyotes won’t even take the field until 2014, and they already have 42 players on the roster.
This Day In Sports…May 21, 2010:
The Cincinnati Cyclones end the Idaho Steelheads’ dream of a third ECHL championship with a 2-1 win in Game 5 of the Kelly Cup Finals. That gave the Cyclones a four games-to-one decision before a crowd of 13,438, the largest ever to watch an ECHL playoff game. The Steelheads never recovered from the shock of last-minute Cincinnati game-winning tallies in Games 1 and 2 in Boise. Every game of the series was decided by one goal. The disappointing finish couldn’t take away from an impressive Steelheads season that saw the team capture the Brabham Cup for best record in the ECHL and Derek Laxdal earn league Coach of the Year honors.
(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.)