BOISE, Idaho — (TOM SCOTT'S COLUMN WILL RETURN TUESDAY.)
Friday, June 21, 2019.
Lindy’s College Football Preview dates back 37 years, and it has evolved over time. Like the other preseason publications, Lindy’s previews all 130 FBS teams. But its unique selling proposition is its lists, compiled by longtime college football scribe Dennis Dodd and Arizona beat writer Anthony Gimino. The main list is, needless to say, the overall team rankings, and the Broncos come in at No. 27 (Fresno State is next out of the Mountain West at No. 42). Ezra Cleveland is the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country, and Curtis Weaver is the No. 10 defensive end. Boise State has four of the conference’s top 10 NFL prospects: Weaver, Cleveland, David Moa and John Molchon (interesting that all four are from the trenches).
The list of “top 10 storylines” for the season includes the Group of Five race. “UCF is sorting out its quarterback spot but remains in the pole position for another New Year’s Six bowl, with conference rival Memphis and Boise State out of the Mountain West drafting close behind,” write Dodd and Gimino. My favorite Lindy’s list, though, is the top 10 “baby quarterbacks.” No. 5 is the Broncos’ Hank Bachmeier. According to Dodd and Gimino, “Perhaps sophomore Chase Cord is next up, but he is coming off an October ACL tear. Should Bachmeier win the job, he’d be in position to post the best numbers of any true freshman in the country.”
A BIG COMMIT…LITERALLY
Boise State has its second verbal of the 2020 recruiting class. Offensive lineman Brandon Hernandez of Yucaipa, CA, tweeted his commitment Thursday night. He’s already 6-6, 275 pounds—wait ‘til Broncos strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman gets him in the program. Hernandez had scholarship offers from, among others, Oregon, Arizona State, Cal, Washington State, Colorado, Colorado State and Fresno State.
D.J. GOES NORTH
A salute to former Boise State standout D.J. Harper and the next chapter in his career as the Canadian Football League season is underway. Harper is now the running backs coach for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after two years as a grad assistant at Fresno State. The Ti-Cats opened with a 23-17 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last weekend and go on the road versus the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday. Harper had a six-year career as a Bronco, capping it with a 1,000-yard season in 2012. He spent one season as a player in the CFL, with the Ottawa Redblacks in 2014. He was then back at Boise State as a grad assistant before going to Fresno.
I submit my top two memories of D.J. Harper at Boise State. It starts with his first 100-yard game as a true freshman in 2007. Ian Johnson was injured, and Harper rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown in a key 34-21 win at Fresno State. In 2010, Harper was backing up Doug Martin as the Broncos opened the season in Washington, D.C., beating Virginia Tech 33-30 on Labor Day. Harper produced one of the biggest game-changers of the night, a 71-yard touchdown run in the third quarter after the Hokies had taken the lead. In his Boise State career, interrupted multiple times be knee injuries, Harper rushed for 2,779 yards and 39 TDs.
HUTCHISON A DRAFT SPECTATOR THIS YEAR
A year ago, Boise State was reveling in its first-ever NBA first-round draft pick, Chandler Hutchison of the Chicago Bulls. Hutchison’s rookie year ended in late January with a fractured toe—there’s been no update on whether he’ll recover in time for the NBA’s summer leagues. There was no such local tie in the 2019 NBA Draft Thursday night. But the Mountain West was far from shut out. Nevada star Cody Martin was taken in the second round by Charlotte, followed by Wyoming’s Justin James going to Sacramento. Then Martin got a familiar new teammate—not his more decorated twin brother Caleb, but Jalen McDaniels of San Diego State, who was also picked by the Hornets. Caleb Martin went undrafted, as did Wolf Pack teammate Jordan Caroline.
GOTTA BE GREAT THIS WEEK, NOT JUST GOOD
The Travelers Championship didn’t start on Thursday the way The Memorial did three weeks ago for Troy Merritt. With two birdies early and two bogeys late, the former Boise State standout shot even-par 70 in Cromwell, CT. And par was taking a beating in the first round. Merritt is tied for 87th and will need a solid round today to make the cut. On the other hand, there seems to be a lot of parity at the Travelers. Merritt is only six shots off the lead.
A NOTABLE HAWKS DEBUT—SPOILED
Yorvis Torrealba, whose story I wrote about extensively on Wednesday, made his debut for the Boise Hawks Thursday night. And what happened? Torrealba rapped his first professional hit in the seventh inning, driving in the go-ahead run. Unfortunately, Everett took it to extra innings with a run in the ninth, and a five-spot in the 10th produced a 7-2 AquaSox victory. Boise starter Eris Filpo went 5 2/3 innings and clocked 10 strikeouts, a huge number for a Northwest League game. The Hawks now hit the road for a four-game series at Spokane. Tonight marks the Indians’ home opener, and before the game, the late Bill Buckner will be inducted into the team’s Rim of Honor. Buckner, who passed away in Boise on Memorial Day, played for Spokane in 1969 and 1970 when it was a Triple-A club.
This Day In Sports…June 21, 2016:
The Eagle High girls softball team, which earlier in the spring became the first high school team from Idaho in any sport to be ranked No. 1 in the nation, finishes on top in the final MaxPrep Xcellent 25 rankings. The Mustangs, the state 5A champions led by two-time Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year Bradie Fillmore, were 29-0 and outscored opponents a staggering 378-26 while hitting 65 home runs. Fillmore would begin her college career at Cal before transferring to Boise State two years later.
(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.)