The impression in the Treasure Valley was that Boise State landed two good players from Central California’s San Joaquin Valley. The take in Fresno was a bit different. The Broncos scooped up two players from Fresno State’s backyard in a 24-hour period this week, linebacker DJ Schramm of Clovis West and all-purpose running back/receiver Kazmeir Allen of Tulare. We don’t know how seriously the Bulldogs recruited them. Schramm is the son of former Fresno State offensive coordinator Dave Schramm, who was fired by coach Tim DeRuyter at the end of the 2015 season. That would have been awkward, perhaps. But the ‘Dogs had to have interest in Allen, didn’t they? He finished sixth in California in the 100-meters at the CIF state championships.
Allen has the look of a “tall” Shane Williams-Rhodes. He’s 5-9, 160 pounds (although he said he’s 172 now on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday), coming off a junior season that produced 1,842 rushing yards and 582 receiving yards with 34 total touchdowns. Fresno has not exactly been a hotbed of recruiting activity over the years for Boise State. But it’s producing Broncos right now, much to Bulldog fans’ chagrin. Already starring on the blue turf is Fresno’s Tyler Horton, who had the single most exciting play during the Broncos’ 2016 season, the 85-yard pick-six against Washington State in Week 2.
Here’s a little wrapup on the three college football preview magazines that are out so far. Boise State still gets mention in the upper echelon of the Group of Five these days. But both of the two publications that project bowl games, Athlon and Street & Smith’s, have South Florida as the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six representative, and both say USF will face Auburn in the Peach Bowl. The Bulls are the pick to win the American Athletic Conference despite a new coach, Charlie Strong, who’s trying to resurrect his career after a sour stay at Texas.
In the Sun Belt, Idaho is predicted to finish fourth by Street & Smith’s, fifth by Athlon and sixth by Lindy’s in what will be a 12-team conference this year. Street & Smith’s includes the headline, “Watch out for the Vandals’ parting shot,” as UI plays its final season in the Sun Belt before returning to the Big Sky in 2018. Matt Linehan is the magazine’s first-team All-Sun Belt quarterback, and why not? Linehan is coming off his finest campaign, with 3,184 yards and 19 touchdowns against 10 interceptions.
Who the heck on the Boise State basketball coaching staff is recruiting Oklahoma? According to Scout.com, the Broncos have now landed two of the top four recruits from that state in the class of 2018, as shooting forward Jaycson Bereal out of Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa tweeted his commitment yesterday. Bereal joins his friend, Trey’von Hopkins, who verbaled last weekend. The two have played together on the same AAU team, Oklahoma Run PWP. Bereal is 6-7, 180 pounds (weight room, weight room—although Rivals.com lists him at 200). While the 2018 class is off to a great start, Boise State coach Leon Rice still has one scholarship remaining for the upcoming season.
Troy Merritt tees off in his fourth career major when the US Open begins this morning at Erin Hills, WI. The Meridian resident and former Boise State standout earned spots in his first three majors when he notched his only PGA Tour victory at the 2015 Quicken Loans National. Merritt made the cut in two of them, missing only at last year’s PGA Championship. This is where he’d like to act like a college kid. Merritt won seven tournaments as a Bronco senior in 2008, the most in Division I. Included was the WAC championship. A refresher: he cut his teeth on golf in Burley before his family moved to Fridley, MN, when he was in high school. Merritt started his college career at Winona State, A Division II school in Minnesota, before transferring to Boise State.
What is the Boise Hawks’ goal as they open their 2017 season? Winning a Northwest League championship, of course. The Hawks haven’t captured one since 2004. But manager Scott Little is at the mercy of the talent provided him by the Colorado Rockies organization. And in June, we have no idea how that will shake out, as a number of brand new draft picks have yet to arrive. The new campaign begins tonight against the Spokane Indians before an expected 7,000-plus at Avista Stadium. There’s been no official word from the Hawks on who will get the Opening Night call on the mound.
One of the side stories of North Fork Championship IV is the Whitewater Awards, being hosted by Boise for the first time. The Whitewater Awards is an international awards ceremony that showcases the world’s best whitewater kayaking via film clips. It was previously held in Ottawa, Canada, but it moves into the Egyptian Theater tonight. Meanwhile, competitors from 15 countries will begin entering the abnormally high and wild water of the Payette River today as the the Expert race weeds out racers in advance of Saturday’s Elite race. The top five finishers today get wild card spots in the big enchilada down Jacob’s Ladder.
This Day In Sports…June 15, 1997, 20 years ago today:
Ernie Els, who in 1994 had become the first Albertsons Boise Open alumnus to win one of golf’s majors, notches another with his second victory in the U.S. Open. Els trailed by six strokes after the first round at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. But the 27-year-old South African worked his way into contention and beat Colin Montgomerie by one stroke, helped by what he calls one of the shots of his life, a five-iron into Congressional’s treacherous 17th green in the final round.
(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.)