Tuesday, August 5, 2014.
If, under Bryan Harsin, Boise State football still emanates the family feeling for which it has become known, then cornerback Kevin Person has come to the right place. Person was a late scholarship addition to the Broncos' 2014 recruiting class, and he comes from quite a program at Santa Monica High in Southern California. Person is featured in "Matt The Film," an original short by Diesel Films. It seems Santa Monica coach Travis Clark created an initiative last fall called "And One" in which players bring a pal to meet the team, and one player brought a senior named Matthew Tapia. The film explains that Matt was born three months premature and weighed 1.5 pounds, and doctors gave him a five percent chance of survival. Small and physically-challenged, he dreamed of playing football, and Clark gave him the opportunity to be part of the team.
Players, including Person, credit Matt with gluing the team together for a run to the CIF Playoffs. In Santa Monica's first postseason game last fall, a victory over Channel Islands, Clark got Matt into the game for the team's final kneeldown, something Matt's dad called "maybe the happiest moment of my life." Interview bites from Person are shown numerous times during the film. "When you see him on the field, it's like a dream come true for all of us," Person said. "What I've learned from that? Anything is possible. Nothing can stop you. Don't let anybody say what you can or can't do." Check out the 13-minute film on YouTube.
Maybe he was inspired by Boise State's surprise team announcement of Bishop Kelly grad Jake Hardee earning a scholarship after three years as a walk-on. Offensive lineman Sitini Kauvaka has taken the spot vacated by defensive back Dionza Blue on the Broncos' 105-man fall camp roster. Kauvaka, a 6-2, 287-pound walk-on from Lovelock, NV, is coming off back-to-back Northern Nevada Division III Lineman of the Year awards. He's the ninth walk-on to be added to the team this season. Four of the previously-revealed players are locals: Salmon River linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, Fruitland wide receiver Josh Rhinehart, Timberline offensive lineman Jake Templeton, and Eagle defensive tackle Paul Semons. Hardee's emotions spilled over Saturday when coach Bryan Harsin revealed the scholarship during a team meeting.
I'm not a fantasy football guy, but so many people are that Sports Illustrated devotes more and more space to it every year. There's a large section in the middle of this week's SI prepping participants for the 2014 NFL season. Heading the list of "5 Bounce-Back Guys" is Tampa Bay's Doug Martin. The former Boise State star's second year with the Buccaneers ended early when he tore his labrum against Atlanta in late October.
Writes Michael Beller: "Sure he struggled before a shoulder injury in Week 7. But Tampa retooled its NFL-worst offense in the draft, which should help the Muscle Hamster get back on the productive course he set during a big rookie season. He was a top five (fantasy) pick in 2013 for a reason." Wow, SI called him the Muscle Hamster. Martin is the 11th-rated fantasy running back according to SI. He had rushed for 456 yards and one touchdown with a 3.6-yard average last season before the injury.
Another Kellen Moore note—he'll be wearing a neon green jersey tomorrow night when the Detroit Lions practice at Ford Field. The club is on a recycling kick, and instead of red "don't touch me" jerseys, Moore and the other Lions quarterbacks will wear green threads made from 21 recycled bottles. Detroit is promoting a new green campaign as well as Repreve, the recycled fiber brand the jerseys are made of. Some would say No. 2 QB Dan Orlovsky is a key part of the Lions' recycling campaign, but that's another story.
Former Boise State hoops foward Thomas Bropleh gets to play for pay, too. Bropleh has signed a contract with the Finke Baskets of the Germany ProA League, a second-division professional league in Germany. Bropleh's audition for the German coaches came at the Scorers First Showcase last month in Las Vegas, and he received an offer shortly thereafter. He produced some clutch moments for the Broncos as a senior, especially during the Mountain West season. Bropleh joins Ryan Watkins as recent grads with European pro deals. Watkins will be playing for Aris Leeuwarden of the Dutch Basketball League.
It's the All-Star break for Northwest League teams. The Boise Hawks had six players named to the NWL All-Star Game, set for tonight in Eugene. Five will go, as Jeffrey Baez has been playing for long-season Class A Kane County the past two weeks. Representing the Hawks on the South Division squad are catcher Justin Marra, centerfielder Rashad Crawford, infielder Danny Canela, and pitcher Trevor Clifton. Marra and Crawford are slated to start.
There's another Baez to talk about today—no relation to Jeffrey (I don't think, anyway). The Chicago Cubs are set to promote top prospect Javier Baez from Triple-A Iowa in time for tonight's game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver. Baez, who made it up to the Hawks late in the 2011 season after being selected ninth overall by the Cubs in that year's draft, was ranked as a top 10 big league prospect by all three major scouting services at the beginning of this season. He was drafted as a shortstop but word is he'll be playing second base. That'll probably be at the expense of another former Boise alum and current Chicago second baseman, rookie Arismendy Alcantara, whose average has cooled to .250 after a hot start to his major league career the second week of July.
NASCAR update on Brian Scott: the Boise driver finished seventh for the second consecutive week Sunday at the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway. Scott also just missed winning another $100,000 in the Nationwide "Dash 4 Cash" series, edged out by Trevor Bayne in the contest's finale. Nonetheless, it was Scott's 11th top 10 finish of the season. He's tied with Bayne for fifth place in the Nationwide Series drivers standings.
This Day In Sports…August 5, 2007:
The New York Mets' Tom Glavine, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame 10 days ago, notches his 300th career victory in an 8-3 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Glavine spent most of his career with Atlanta, where he was a five-time 20-game winner and two-time Cy Young Award winner. With 305 wins, he is one of only 24 pitchers (and just six southpaws) in major league history to hit the 300-victory plateau.
(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.)