The panel that compiles the watch list for the Mackey Award gave Boise State senior tight end Jake Roh a mulligan for his injury-riddled 2016 season. Roh is on the Mackey list again, with expectations that he’ll return to the form that saw him make 68 catches for 765 yards in his first two seasons as a Bronco. Last year was marred by a knee problem that never went away—at least not until the Cactus Bowl. Roh logged just 10 receptions for 113 yards all season, with six of the grabs and 54 of the yards coming in the loss to Baylor. This is going to be an interesting season for Roh. He was an Arizona all-state wide receiver as a high school junior in Scottsdale. Roh’s capable of lining up anywhere.
Conventional wisdom is that Boise State’s uncommonly deep stable of tight ends, combined with uncertainty at wide receiver beyond Cedrick Wilson, will bring some new things in the passing game this year. Last season, Roh wasn’t even the leading receiver among tight ends—it was Fruitland’s Alec Dhaenens with 15 catches for 119 yards. The unit combined for just 29 receptions in 2016, and Dhaenens scored the group’s only two touchdowns, But Roh is back at full strength, and Dhaenens also returns as a senior. Jake Knight and Chase Blakley are poised to take the next step, and Nick Crabtree, Matt Pistone and John Bates are acapable of contributing as well.
In May, Boise State center Mason Hampton was named to the Rimington Award spring watch list. Now the Meridian High grad is on the main Rimington Award watch list (I don’t know why they have to do this twice). The school’s release makes a point of Hampton’s role in helping Jeremy McNichols to back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons the past two years. If Hampton can help heir-apparent Alexander Mattison go for 1,000 this season, he’ll be making a case for himself in Rimington balloting. That’s one of the questions surrounding the Bronco offense: can Mattison keep it going after four years of McNichols and Jay Ajayi in the role of feature back.
Here’s one takeaway from USA Today’s “Five things to know about every NFL team in 2017.” Writer Steven Ruiz says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still believe in Doug Martin: “About five months ago, Martin’s time in Tampa appeared to be up. That doesn’t appear to be the case any longer after the team waited until the fifth round to draft a running back (Jeremy McNichols). Martin missed the final two games of the 2016 season. He had failed a drug test and eventually checked himself into rehab. He’s back with the team now and expected to be a starter, though he still has three games remaining on his suspension. The Bucs need Martin to stay clean and be on his game if they are going to prevent opponents from gearing up against the pass again.” Tampa Bay has had every opportunity to dump him. But it hasn’t.
The only former Boise Hawk in the All-Star Game had a nondescript night in Miami. Josh Harrison of the Pirates went 0-for-2, including a strikeout with the potential winning run on board for the National League in the bottom of the ninth. The game didn’t seem to miss being tagged with homefield advantage in the World Series. The Mariners’ Robinson Cano provided the winning run with a solo home run in the top of the 10th for a 2-1 American League victory, the AL’s fifth straight in the Midsummer Classic.
Well, at least Thomas Bropleh, has had a chance to represent his hometown team. The former Boise State Bronco hasn’t seen the floor much for the Denver Nuggets in the Las Vegas Summer League, though. Bropleh appeared in one of the Nuggets first three games, playing three minutes in Sunday’s 90-71 loss to Minnesota and scoring on his only field goal attempt. Single-eilimination tournament play begins today in Vegas. Ex-Bronco James Webb III isn’t slated to play in NBA summer leagues this month—he’s healing from a right ankle fracture he suffered in March in D-League (now G-League) play with the Philadelphia 76ers’ affiliate in Delaware. Webb was having a strong season for the 87ers, averaging 13.1 points and 9.3 rebounds in 39 games.
Bishop Kelly grad Madeleine Sheils made her second career cut on the LPGA Tour last weekend, finishing tied for 70th at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. Sheils’ start was tremendous last Thursday in Green Bay—a six-under 66. Only a 76 on Saturday kept the one-time Nebraska Cornhusker from a bigger check. Speaking of which, the money’s a lot different on the women’s tour. Sheils earned $3,939 for her efforts at Thornberry Creek. She’s No. 160 on the LPGA money list with $6,660.
A great honor for a prominent Boise hockey guy. The ECHL has named linesman Scott DeBaugh as the recipient of the 2016-17 Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award. The honor goes annually to an on-ice official for his contributions and dedication to the league officiating staff. DeBaugh has been an ECHL ref for 10 years, and he gave a shout-out to locals: “I would like to thank all of those people that take care of all of the officials at Century Link Arena in Boise.”
This Day In Sports…July 12:
A significant day in the career of Babe Ruth. Before he was the “Great Bambino,” he was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and he made his major league debut on this day in 1914, giving up two runs on eight hits over seven innings in a 4-3 win over Cleveland. On this day in 1921, Ruth broke the big league record with his 137th career home run (yes, 137th). And on this day in 1927—90 years ago today—the Babe swatted his 30th homer of the season, halfway to his record of 60 that would stand for the next 34 years.
(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.)