And so it starts. Brad Shepard of Bleacher Report ranks the top 10 freshmen for the 2019 season. There is only one Group of 5 player on the list, and he’s all the way up at No. 5. It’s quarterback Hank Bachmeier of Boise State. Writes Shepard: “While freshmen such as Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz, Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels and Auburn’s Bo Nix have the ability to lead their teams and do big things, there’s one overlooked player who’ll post better numbers than any of them. Bachmeier steps into an ideal situation following Brett Rypien’s departure. Those are huge shoes to fill, but the four-star prospect from Murrieta Valley, CA, is ready. He hasn’t been named the starter yet, but it would be surprising if he didn’t run away with the job. Once he wins it, he’s got the potential to toss 30 touchdown passes as a true freshman.”
This is the kind of hype that’s going to be out there for Bachmeier. Maybe it’s premature, and maybe it’s not. But the Boise State quarterback job is wide open at the moment. It’s too early to be counting out Kaiden Bennett and Chase Cord. Bennett led Folsom High in California to two consecutive state championships and is a solid dual-threat talent. Cord certainly showed his ability as a dual-threat man last season before tearing his ACL in October (a 44-yard touchdown run on the second snap of his career, anyone?). And anybody who saw the recent interview with Jaylon Henderson knows that guy’s a leader. Bachmeier may end up being all that. We just need to pump the brakes first.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES IN DALLAS
What’s going on with DeMarcus Lawrence in Dallas depends on who you talk to in the Jones family. Owner Jerry Jones apparently isn’t worried about getting the former Boise State star signed by July 15, the NFL deadline for players with the franchise tag. “It’s in the works,” Jones said Monday at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. His son, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, said Tuesday, “We’re at an impasse. The franchise tag would pay Lawrence $20.5 million in 2019 after he collected $17.1 as a tagged player last year. But Lawrence wants a long-term deal in line with the highest-paid pass rushers in the league—something like the $90 million over five years Trey Flowers is getting in Detroit. Lawrence totaled 25 sacks and 49 quarterback hits and forced six fumbles over the past two seasons.
To no one’s surprise, guard Patrick Dembley has announced his transfer from Boise State. It never was quite a fit. Dembley’s stay in Boise did not start well, as he was arrested a day after arriving in June for getting into a fight downtown. After garnering a lot of playing time early in the season, he spent more and more time on the bench, with coach Leon Rice thinly veiling the reason: attitude. Dembley averaged 5.5 points in 30 games this season, but the last three games were telling. He played five minutes versus Air Force and hit one three-pointer, got seven minutes against Colorado State in the Mountain West Tournament and went scoreless, and did not get on the floor in the finale versus Nevada.
Here’s an exercise in futility: a projected starting lineup for Boise State next season. Based on what we know, how about Justinian Jessup, Marcus Dickinson and Alex Hobbs at guard, Derrick Alston on the wing, and Mikey Frazier inside? There are so many wild cards, though. For example, 6-8 Australian forward Riley Abercrombie. And 6-6 Oregon transfer Abu Kigab, who will be eligible after the fall semester. And 6-7 Arizona transfer Emmanuel Akot, who could be eligibile immediately if bribery and fraud accusations against the Wildcats blow up. And incoming freshman RayJ Dennis of Oswego, IL. Maybe a graduate transfer figures in, too. Write it in pencil for the next six months.
JOB OPENING IN POCATELLO
Idaho State upset Boise State 72-70 in the season opener in November. But there weren’t enough of those signature moments for ISU coach Bill Evans, and he’s been fired after seven seasons. The Bengals went 11-19 this season and 71-141 total under Evans and never won a Big Sky Tournament game. Evans recorded one winning season, 16-15 three years ago, but Idaho State lost 26 games the following season.
TALKIN’ ECHL AND NHL SHUTOUTS
The Idaho Steelheads turn right around and play Rapid City again, opening the final homestand of the regular season against the Rush tonight in CenturyLink Arena. And the netminder who nullified Rapid City’s offense on the road last Saturday night has been named ECHL Goaltender of the Week. Tomas Sholl won both of his starts last week—one at Orlando and one at Rapid City—the latter a shutout, his third against the Rush this season. Sholl leads the ECHL with a .931 save percentage, ranks second with a 2.19 goals-against average and is tied for third with 24 wins. Meanwhile, former Steelheads goalie Jack Campbell got a rare start for the L.A. Kings Monday night and posted a 42-save shutout in a 3-0 win over Calgary. It was the second shutout of Campbell’s NHL career.
THAT’S ONE MASSIVE RECRUITING CLASS
Back to football—Mike Moroski has signed 12 additional players, bringing the Coyotes’ 2019 recruiting class to a whopping 52 newcomers (things work differently in the NAIA). Among the latest new Yotes are wide receiver Blake Jablonski of Mountain View High and linebacker Andrew Bergey of Boise High. One guy to watch is quarterback Jacob Holcomb, the 2018 Washington Gatorade Player of the Year. Holcomb, the younger brother of current C of I QB Nathaniel Holcomb, threw for 3,148 yards and 45 touchdowns last season for Puyallup High. Spring football continues at the Caldwell campus, with the Purple & Gold Spring Game coming up a week from Saturday.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by VETERANS PLUMBING…eliminate your drips and drops!
March 27, 1917: In just the third year the Stanley Cup was awarded to a professional team—it had been part of amateur hockey for its first 21 years of existence—the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey Association fall to….the Seattle Metropolitans. Yes, Seattle of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association was among the first professional Stanley Cup champions. Now Seattle is poised to come full-circle and join the NHL, with its new franchise to begin play 2½ years from now.
(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.)