BOISE, Idaho — (TOM SCOTT'S COLUMN WILL RETURN TUESDAY.)
Friday, May 10, 2019.
It’s different than being signed as an undrafted free agent. Unrestricted FA Jamar Taylor has been picked up by the Seattle Seahawks, who know what they’re getting and have plans for him. It’s expected that the former Boise State star will be utilized not only at cornerback but also nickel. Taylor has been around since being drafted by Miami in the second round in 2013. He’s also played for Cleveland, Arizona and Denver, with which he finished last season. Taylor’s most productive years were with the Browns, where he started in 2016-17 and made 119 tackles with three interceptions. He’s only 28 years old. Taylor still has some tread left on those tires. His shining moment at Boise State was his school-record 100-yard interception return against Arizona State in the 2011 Las Vegas Bowl.
TRYING TO GRADUATE TO TRAINING CAMP
All of Boise State’s NFL newcomers outside of Alexander Mattison and Sean Modster are in rookie minicamps this weekend. Eyes will focus first on Denver, where Brett Rypien will make his initial throws for the NFL Broncos. That will be under the watchful eye of Denver offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, with whom Rypien professes to have an excellent relationship. Also, Durrant Miles will be in Atlanta, Tyler Horton in Miami, A.J. Richardson in Arizona and Jabril Frazier in New York. The Jets are actually just holding a four-day rookie orientation, already underway in Florham Park (which is actually 30 miles west of the Big Apple). Frazier has a shot there, as does Miles with the Falcons. We don’t know what to make of Horton after his curious performance at Pro Day. Richardson is seen as a longshot.
WAY-TOO-EARLY MW POWER RANKINGS
Chris Murray of Nevada Sports Net in Reno is one of the best beat writers in the Mountain West. His impartial observations are always good, and here’s his post-spring football take on the conference. Who’s No. 1? Writes Murray: “Per usual, Boise State has the most talent in the league. The offensive line and the defense should be excellent, but the Broncos did lose their starting quarterback, top running back and top two receivers, so there’s star power to replace. Boise State will win double-digit games again and is the heavy favorite to take the Mountain Division and overall conference championship. Just as they do every year, the Broncos have a talent edge and are the team to beat in the MW.” Now Boise State just has to live up to it. Murray has Fresno State No. 2 and Utah State No. 3.
EMBATTLED BUT SO FAR UNAFFECTED
The Sean Miller saga at Arizona is worth following locally, because it could affect Boise State’s fortunes on the basketball court next season. We’re talking, of course, about Emmanuel Akot, who has transferred to Boise State from the Wildcats. Akot could get a waiver to play immediately if UA lands in NCAA hot water. Some experts think Miller’s program will get nailed, while others say Miller is not in danger of losing his job and life will go on in Tucson. Robert C. Robbins, the University of Arizona president, appeared to give Miller a vote of confidence Wednesday. "Sean’s our coach, and we look forward to continuing to participate and cooperate in all the investigations that are going on,” Robbins told KGUN-TV. Meanwhile, through all the adversity, Miller has put together the No. 1 recruiting class in the country this year.
RICE LIKES HIS ROSTER PROGRESSION
Boise State coach Leon Rice was on Idaho SportsTalk Thursday and said the Broncos are in wait-and-see mode concerning Akot’s chances. But Rice did talk about the value of the transfer market in keeping his program humming. The group includes Abu Kigab at semester break this year, Akot out of the gate if he gets a waiver, and Mladen Armus and Marcus Shaver Jr. next year. “You have a team that has a lot of guys back (each year)—who haven’t necessarily done it in your program but in other programs,” said Rice. “That’s a lot of experience you can turn to.” All four of these guys are traditional transfers. The Broncos reaped the benefits of grad transfers Lexus Williams and Chris Sengfelder two years ago.
Rice also threw in this nugget: “Word on the street is the three-point line is moving back.” I don’t think I had heard that. But he pointed out that, just like in the NBA, there are more players knockin’ them down at a high rate than ever before. Rice does feel three-pointers should be a special skill and supports the possible change. “That’s great for the Broncos,” he said. “It’ll differentiate between real shooters and guys who just want to shoot ‘em. We’re going to have some real shooters.”
MERRITT MASHES IT AT THE BYRON NELSON
It was a sizzling start for Meridian’s Troy Merritt Thursday at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas. Merritt, who started the day on No. 10, was amazing after the turn. The Boise State product eagled the first hole and followed that with birdies on four of the next five holes. Then Merritt had to take a double-bogey on No. 7, his only problem hole of the day. He carded a six-under 65 and is tied for Fourth after the first round. Yes, were it not for that double, Merritt would have had a 63 and would be tied for the lead. Elsewhere in golf, none of the familiar local names survived U.S. Open Local Qualifying Wednesday at TimberStone in Caldwell. Michael Baldeck of Clarkston, WA, and Andrew Hess of Layton, UT, advanced to Sectionals.
The Boise State softball women’s softball team ends the regular season this weekend with a three-game series at Fresno State. The Broncos dropped the first game of the set 5-0 Thursday night to the Bulldogs. Boise State men’s tennis is not its old dominant self these days, but Bronco alums from the peak years are making waves in the sport. How about these prize Greg Patton pupils from the same family? Arizona’s Clancy Shields has been named Pac-12 Coach of the Year, and Fresno State’s Luke Shields is Mountain West Coach of the Year. And the College of Idaho men’s lacrosse team’s run finally ended Thursday. The Yotes fell 18-7 to St. Thomas of Minnesota in the semifinals of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Division II National Championships in Salt Lake City.
This Day In Sports…May 10, 2016:
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry becomes the first unanimous Most Valuable Player in NBA history after leading the Warriors to the league’s best regular-season record ever. Curry, who averaged 30.1 points per game, shattered his own NBA mark for three-pointers in a single-season—he had set the record with 286 treys the season before, when he was also MVP. He was the face of a suddenly dominant team that won its first 24 games and finished 73-9, one game better than the record set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. The Warriors would, however, lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
(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.)