Dialing in a few Division I-AA D-lineman

Recruiting defensive linemen at the Group of 5 level is like recruiting big men in basketball at mid-major schools. It ain’t easy. TRecruiting defensive linemen at the Group of 5 level is like recruiting big men in basketball at mid-major schools. It ain’t easy. With that said, Boise State’s track record at that position group is impressive. It’s the defensive line that has two days to go on the ballot as voting continues for the Broncos’ 30-Year All-Blue Team. How about a player who landed in Boise long before the Golden Era that has marked the new century? Kimo von Oelhoffen starred during a transitional time in Boise State’s Division I-AA era. He played in Skip Hall’s final season (1992) and Pokey Allen’s first (1993), and man did the 6-4, 295-pounder stand out during those years.

Von Oelhoffen was then selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by Cincinnati and ended up with the longest NFL career of any Boise State product—14 seasons with the Bengals, Steelers, Jets and Eagles. He won a Super Bowl ring with Pittsburgh 10 years ago, and it was a play leading up to the win over the Seahawks that many remember him for. In one of the 2005 Wild Card games, von Oelhoffen tackled Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer low and severely damaged the quarterback’s knee injuring his ACL, MCL and PCL. That winter, the NFL Rules Committee created what is known as the “Kimo Clause,” requiring pass rushers to make every effort to avoid hitting defenseless quarterbacks in the act of throwing at or below the knees.

Perhaps Boise State’s most decorated Division I-AA player ever was defensive end Erik Helgeson, a local favorite out of Bishop Kelly who was the Broncos’ first great sackmaster. Helgeson is the school career leader in sacks with 54.5 and tackles for loss with 68.5. He was not only a three-time first-team All-Big Sky pick, he was also named a first-teamer on 10 different I-AA All-America teams in 1989 and 1990. The question is as you consider voting for Helgeson: how did he stack up against Boise State’s competition in his era as compared to the stalwarts of the new century against current contemporaries? Actually, pretty darn good.

Defensive end Chris Wing played at Boise State from 1994-96 after serving in the US Air Force, and he was a sackmaster in his own right. Wing holds the Bronco single-season record with 20 sacks in 1996. He played during the Pokey Allen years and ran the gamut of emotions with the program, from the 13-2 season that culminated in the Division I-AA national championship game in 1994 to the 2-10 season in 1996 while Allen was away battling the cancer that would take his life. Pokey always liked Wing—he called him “Wing Ding.” My favorite memory of Wing wasn’t a sack, but of the raw elation while he stood next to Allen in the waning moments of Pokey’s only Division I-A victory, the 33-32 win at New Mexico State, six days after doctors had agreed to end treatment and allow him to return to the sideline.

Boise State has brokered some bulk in its 2017 recruiting class with Friday’s commitment from Isiah Moore, an offensive lineman from Mesa Community College in Arizona. Moore is a 6-5, 315-pounder who joins previous commit Mike Young, a 6-6, 330-pound offensive tackle. Moore hails from Tiffon, OH, and originally signed with Bowling Green in high school. At Mesa, he played with Daniel Auelua, the defensive tackle who joins the Broncos this season. Moore has three years to use his two remaining seasons of eligibility.

In the face of budget problems and football struggles and lagging attendance, Fresno State’s renovation of Bulldog Stadium can comfortably move forward with a lead gift of $1.5 million announced Friday. The donation came from a former Bulldog athlete who wishes to remain anonymous. Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko says the school has $10 million of the $20 million needed for phase one already committed. The entire project will run $60-70 million. Bartko says the renovation plan remains on target for completion in time for the Bulldogs’ 2019 home opener against Minnesota.

It’s going to be one tired bunch of Boise Hawks taking the field tonight for the home opener at Memorial Stadium against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. But at least the Hawks come home on a high. After being victims of an 11th-inning walk-off win by Eugene Saturday night, Boise beat the Emeralds 6-4 in 13 innings last night with two runs in the final frame, one on a passed ball and the other on a sacrifice fly. The Hawks hope home-cookin’ helps their bats the next three nights. Last season they had the lowest batting average of any Northwest League team against Eugene, just .231. After three games against the Ems this season, Boise is batting .191.

Former Boise Hawk Willson Contreras’ first weekend in the majors was a now-you-see-him, now-you-don’t affair. Oh, but there’s a catch. Contreras made his much-celebrated big league debut Friday—as a ninth-inning defensive replacement in the Cubs’ 6-0 win over Pittsburgh. The 24-year-old catcher didn’t play Saturday night. All Contreras did last night was pinch-hit in the sixth-inning…and deliver a two-run homer on the very first pitch of his first major league plate appearance during the Cubs’ 10-5 rout of the Pirates. Contreras is batting 1.000.

Dane Jackson of Walling, TN, is the 2016 King of the North Fork after winning the Elite Race Saturday at North Fork Championship V on the Payette River north of Banks. The Payette River Games usually come on the heels of the North Fork Championship. The PRG event was once set for June 19-21, but the Idaho Business Review reports that Mark Pickard, the owner of Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade and the founder of the Payette River Games, put the event on hiatus while he looks for a new organizer. Last year’s PRG had a purse of $25,000 and drew about 25,000 spectators, according to Pickard, but running the three-day affair was costing him $250,000 per year.

This Day In Sports…June 20, 1993:

John Paxson’s three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left holds up for a 99-98 Chicago win in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. With the victory the Bulls complete their first three-peat by beating the Phoenix Suns, four games to two. Michael Jordan averaged a Finals record 41 points a game, but no one realized it would be Jordan’s final game prior to his first retirement. Jordan left for an ill-fated attempt at baseball in the Chicago White Sox organization before returning to the Bulls almost two years later.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)