BOISE, Idaho — Monday, April 20, 2020.
Curtis Weaver is known for conversation, but this one was unique. Pro Football Focus asked Weaver not about his own outlook in this week’s NFL Draft, but that of former Boise State teammate Ezra Cleveland. Weaver drills down the reasons Cleveland has “blown up” as a first-round prospect. “Speed’s probably not gonna get with him—you’ve gotta get in that toolbox with Ezra,” said Weaver, who worked against him endlessly in practice. “I gave him a first-round grade when he came out myself. I knew what he was capable of two weeks before the combine.” It was in Indianapolis that Cleveland laid down one of the best performances by an offensive lineman in recent years. “Ezra’s my guy,” Weaver said. “Scouting report: best feet in the draft.” Cleveland, at any rate, is expected to be the Broncos’ top pick this week.
A LOT ON THE LINE FOR BYU
One “what if” scenario has BYU wondering where that would leave its football schedule. If the 2020 season is delayed and shortened to conference-only games, what if you’re not in a conference? That would throw a haymaker at the Cougars right out of the gate, as they’re scheduled to open against bitter rival Utah on September 3 in Salt Lake City. Obviously, the BYU-Boise State game on the blue turf on November 6 would be axed as well. Would the Cougars be forced to cobble together a set of home-and-home series against fellow independents Army, UMass, Liberty, New Mexico State and UConn? BYU would be saved is the entire schedule is pushed back to the first of the year.
SLOCUM BACK TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY
Mountain View star Destiny Slocum committed to Washington early in her junior year in September, 2014. The Huskies’ coach at the time was Mike Neighbors, who ended up losing Slocum to Maryland. Now, Neighbors will have Slocum at the peak of her college career, as she announced Sunday she’s transferring from Oregon State to Arlansas, Neighbors’ current school. Slocum, a two-time Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year as a Maverick, was an All-Pac 12 guard this past season after averaging 14.9 points and 4.7 assists per game for the Beavers, who finished the season ranked No. 14 in the nation.
MALACHI MAKES HIS MOVE
The only surprise here is that it took so long, but Mountain West Player of the Year Malachi Flynn has declared the for the NBA Draft. The San Diego State junior, the No. 40 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, was robbed of the spotlight in the NCAA Tournament due to the coronavirus. He and the Aztecs could have been a No. 1 seed. But Flynn has his resume: 17.6 points and 5.1 assists per game this past season. He was also the conference Defensive Player of the Year. After watching Flynn play, I’ve always felt he’s got a little Steph Curry in him. Flynn would be the first to point out, though, that he’s 6-1 and Curry is 6-3.
REXX LIFE RAJ GOES ALL BACON
While Faraji Wright is in California lockdown in Berkeley, his life as Rexx Life Raj goes on. And The Athletic’s Dave Southorn tracked down a pretty good story on Wright, the former Boise State offensive lineman who still cherishes his Bronco roots despite having entered an entirely different line of work. “If you listen to my music, there’s a common theme, and it’s something I took from back then—you had that structure, that teamwork, the work ethic,” Wright told Southorn. “It was big in Boise and with coach (Chris) Petersen, I feel I’ve carried that into my career.”
What Southorn latched onto was a new song by Wright called “Canadian Bacon” in honor of former Boise State defensive tackle Mike Atkinson. It’s a little beyond a PG rating, but it’s cool, and Atkinson loves it. Spotify did too, putting it on “New Music Friday” 10 days ago. Wright has released three albums as Rexx Life Raj and has toured the U.S. and Europe. He was the Broncos’ on-field deejay during the 2017 season on the blue turf—a great idea that was never properly promoted in Albertsons Stadium. Could have been big.
STORM AHEAD AT SAN JOSE STATE?
If there’s one Mountain West school that doesn’t have any wiggle room in the college athletics budget crisis, it’s San Jose State. So, if this fosters lawsuits—and/or an expensive defense of such—it could leave the Spartans program at a crossroads. Scott Shaw, San Jose State’s director of sports medicine since 2008, was accused of sexual misconduct toward more than a dozen female athletes a decade ago, and “an initial university probe quietly cleared him of wrongdoing,” a USA TODAY investigation found. Now, SJSU is reopening the case. The Spartans can ill-afford the budgetary hit they could take from this. Proponents of Mountain West contraction may have found an unlikely ally.
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 20, 1945:
The birthday of the “Head Ball Coach.” Before he picked up that famous nickname, Steve Spurrier was a great college football player, winning the 1966 Heisman Trophy as Florida’s quarterback. But Spurrier is best-known for his coaching. A forgotten fact—his first head coaching job was with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the old USFL in 1983. He made his mark in the college ranks with Duke, Florida and South Carolina, leading the Gators to the 1996 national championship. Steve Spurrier…75 years old today.
(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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