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Boise State football: Pretending it’s Pro Day

Nobody thought at the time that the NFL Combine would be just the last chance for Boise State’s pro prospects to impress NFL teams.
Credit: Steve Conner, AP Images
Boise State wide receiver John Hightower throws a pass out of the wildcat formation against Hawaii in the Mountain West championship game Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 31-10.

BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, April 2, 2020. 

Today was supposed to be Pro Day at Boise State, with a slew of NFL hopefuls going through the rigmarole at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex.  That, like everything else, is a no-go, although the NFL Draft is still scheduled three weeks from today.  Who would Pro Day have benefitted the most?  It’s not a stretch to say wide receiver John Hightower and offensive guard John Molchon.  Hightower ran 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in late February, tying for the eighth-fastest time among the 45 wideouts tested in Indianapolis.  Scouts like that speed, but they want to see more from Hightower.  He’s likely to be drafted, but where?  Molchon was a mild surprise as a Combine invitee.  That put him on the radar for at least an undrafted free agent opportunity.  But again, scouts need to see more.

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BRONCO TIGHT ENDS SCENARIO

Kent Riddle’s Zoom session with the media this week brought out a couple interesting points from the Boise State tight ends coach.  Everybody’s excited by Borah High star Austin Bolt, one of the state’s most decorated athletes.  Bolt can hit the floor running, as the playing field will be more level since the other tight ends didn’t have the benefit of spring football.  But Riddle noted that Bolt does have to gain some weight to have that typical tight end look.  That doesn’t mean Bolt can’t contribute as a blocker in the run game, though.  “Much like Jake Roh, he can stay on a guy and keep a guy from making a play,” said Riddle.  It goes without saying that Bolt can be a Roh-type receiver.

Riddle will have seven tight ends once the newcomers arrive.  He likes them all and hopes they all play this year.  “I’m trying to figure out a lineup with seven tight ends,” quipped Riddle.  It would be nice to see that position post big numbers this year.  Only three tight ends made catches last season, and the only one returning is John Bates.  But the stats for that group were better than the year before—39 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns versus 33 grabs for 306 yards and three TDs in 2018.  

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FULL CIRCLE IN SEATTLE FOR MAYOWA  

When Benson Mayowa joined the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 after finishing his college career at Idaho, he had to do what all other undrafted free agents have to do: fight tooth-and-nail for a roster spot.  Mayowa got one.  And now, after parlaying that into an NFL career that is entering an eighth season, he’s back where it began.  Mayowa has agreed to terms with the Seahawks, according to his agent, David Canter.  The 6-3, 265-pound defensive end played only two games for Seattle as a rookie.  But he has stuck in the league through stints with Dallas, Arizona and two in Oakland.  Last season, Mayowa logged a career-high seven sacks and had three forced fumbles with the Raiders.

WHAT BECAME OF THE MARTIN TWINS?

We know how Chicago Bulls guard Chandler Hutchison’s season ended—the former Boise State star was taken down with another unfortunate injury.  So how did twin brothers Cody and Caleb Martin from Nevada do as rookies with Charlotte?  It was ironic from the beginning.  Caleb, voted the 2018 Mountain West Player of the Year over Hutchison, went undrafted in 2019, while Cody was selected in the second round by the Hornets.  Caleb signed with Charlotte as an undrafted free agent, and the twins’ playing time followed the script.  Cody played 48 games this season and averaged 5.0 points per game.  Caleb appeared in only 18 games before his first G-League assignment—he played 28 games with the Greensboro Swarm.

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ANOTHER DECORATION FOR COLBY BLAINE

Any local sports news is news right now.  And any sports news involving College of Idaho’s Colby Blaine is good news these days.  Blaine nabbed another NAIA Coach of the Year honor on Wednesday, this one from HoopDirt.com, which bills itself as the largest website in the country dedicated specifically to college basketball coaching news.  I ran into former Yote Gibson Berryhill Wednesday (six feet away, of course).  We were just shaking our heads over Blaine.  The guy is 62-9 in two years at C of I, and he rides into next season with a 25-game winning streak.

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THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 2, 1983:

Three weeks after leading Virginia through Boise’s first-ever NCAA Tournament bracket, 7-4 center Ralph Sampson wins the Adolph Rupp Award as college basketball’s Player Of The Year.  Sampson was the first one to win the honor three years in a row.  Later that spring he would be the first pick in the NBA Draft, going to the Houston Rockets.  The Cavaliers, by the way, made it into the Elite Eight that year before falling by a point to eventual national champion North Carolina State.

(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.) 

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