Minnesota Vikings third-round draft pick Alexander Mattison is the second-highest selection ever among Boise State running backs. The first is 2012 first-rounder Doug Martin. Martin has been an unrestricted free agent after spending last season with Oakland, which appeared to be willing to let him walk. Now Martin’s expected to re-sign with the Raiders after the team announced Isaiah Crowell has torn his Achilles tendon and will miss the 2019 season. Oakland had just signed Crowell five weeks ago as it prepares for the retirement of Marshawn Lynch. It might be Martin who ends up mentoring first-round draft pick Josh Jacobs into a starting job in the NFL.
The player once involuntarily known as Muscle Hamster had a solid (but not spectacular) 2018 campaign, leading the Raiders in rushing with 723 yards. Martin was able to stay healthy and finished the season as Oakland’s starter after Lynch went on injured reserve in late October. He scored four touchdowns and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. But the Raiders definitely have plans for Jacobs, the former Alabama standout who was MVP of the SEC championship game. Incidentally, Oakland has given jersey No. 28 to Jacobs, so Martin’s going to need a new number. What about No. 22, his old calling card at Boise State? Well, the Raiders had given that to Crowell. Maybe it’s negotiable.
FANTASY ALREADY FLIES WITH MATTISON
Is it too early to loop Mattison into fantasy football? Not according to USA Today’s “Vikings Wire” writer Kyle Ratke. “While Mattison is slotted as the team’s backup running back behind Dalvin Cook, Cook has missed 17 games in his first two seasons, making his backup valuable in the real and fantasy world,” writes Radke, who consequently loves the fact that Mattison logged 302 carries for Boise State last season. “There’s a reason why Latavius Murray had more than 1,300 yards to go with 14 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Vikings. I don’t think Mattison is going to be the Rookie of the Year, so let’s not get wild. But if you can snag him late in your rookie draft, especially if you can handcuff him with Dalvin Cook, that could pay off for you as the season progresses.”
LOBOS LOOKING FOR QUICK ANSWERS
Boise State doesn’t play New Mexico this year until November 16 on the blue turf. Maybe by then the Lobos, who just finished spring football last Friday, will have all their pieces figured out. There sure are lots of new ones. UNM brought coach Bob Davie back partly because it would have been too expensive not to. Davie’s teams have gone 3-9 each of the past two years with season-ending seven-game losing streaks, and in an effort to stem the tide, he has brought in a whopping 19 junior college transfers. Davie, like the Broncos, will wait until late in fall camp to name a starting quarterback. He doesn’t have the options Boise State does, though. There’s last year’s opening-game starter Tevaka Tuioti, senior Sheriron Jones, who started against the Broncos last November, redshirt freshman Trae Hall and JC transfer Brandt Hughes.
STEELIES: CUE SCARLETT O’HARA
“Tomorrow is another day.” And the Idaho Steelheads are happy to have one. The Steelheads earned it with a 4-2 victory over Tulsa Wednesday night to stave off elimination in the ECHL Mountain Division finals in CenturyLink Arena. A.J. White, Reid Petryk and Steve McParland scored in a frenetic first period to stake the Steelies to a 3-0 advantage. The Oilers’ series lead is now three games-to-one going into Game 5 Friday night. It’s a long shot, but Idaho is bent on becoming just the third team in ECHL history to recover from a three-zip deficit to win a Kelly Cup Playoff series. The Steelheads, of course, were the second team to do it when they pulled it off last year against Allen.
AKOT MONITORS THE PROCEEDINGS
If you read the tea leaves, new Boise State transfer Emmanuel Akot still has a chance to become eligible for the Broncos next season. Due to alleged transgressions involving his former coach, Sean Miller at Arizona, Akot hopes to be granted a waiver from the usual procedure of sitting out a year. And there are new alleged transgressions. A former Wildcats assistant, Book Richardson, was heard via a wiretap telling an agent that Miller was paying future No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Deandre Ayton $10,000 per month while he was enrolled at Arizona. Federal prosecutors played the phone call yesterday at the trial into college basketball corruption. Akot’s still got a shot.
THE NBA WATER-TESTERS
There are 175 college players on the NBA Draft early entry list, but only three are from the Mountain West: Colorado State’s Nico Carvacho, San Diego State’s Jalen McDaniels and Utah State’s Neemias Queta. For perspective, Gonzaga itself has five early entrants. Out of that MW trio, Queta looks most like an NBA player, McDaniels is most NBA-ready and Carvacho is most likely to return to school. Underclassmen must withdraw by May 29 to retain their college eligibility. Many wise ones will, because when you add in 58 international players who have declared, there are 233 guys currently vying for 64 spots in the two-round NBA Draft. The big night is Thursday, June 20, in Brooklyn.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by FRANZ WITTE NURSERY…where everyone is part of the flock!
May 2, 1939, 80 years ago today: Lou Gehrig pulls himself out of the New York Yankees lineup for the first time since 1925—2,130 consecutive games earlier. Gehrig would never play another game and would soon lose his battle with ALS, now known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Gehrig’s consecutive games record would stand for over 66 years, with Cal Ripken finally breaking it in 1995. Ripken’s record total is 2,632 games.
(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.)