Marcus Henry received Friday what Matt Paradis should have two years ago. Marcus Henry received Friday what Matt Paradis should have two years ago: placement on the 2015 watch list for the Rimington Award that goes to college football’s best center. Henry anchored a Boise State offensive line that got its run-blocking mojo back last season, helping the Broncos average 214 yards per game on the ground behind Jay Ajayi. It’s a perfect table-setter for Henry’s season. The senior from Bellevue, WA, will make his 27th career start on September 4 when the Broncos face the team he grew up watching, the Washington Huskies. And Henry wouldn’t mind following in Paradis’ footsteps—the kid from Council ended up being a sixth-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos.
The offensive line often toils in anonymity, but that’s not always the case at Boise State, and it may not be this year. That position group is generally recognized as the centerpiece of this year’s Bronco offense as it returns all five starters from a Fiesta Bowl championship team. Beyond Henry there’s Rees Odhiambo, seeking to become the fifth straight Boise State left tackle to be drafted into the NFL. Travis Averill is coming off an all-time Bronco O-line highlight: two blocks in about two seconds on one play that sprung Ajayi on his 56-yard touchdown run against Arizona to open the Fiesta Bowl. Mario Yakoo and Steven Baggett round out the five returnees. You’ll be hearing those names more than is typical for the run-of-the-mill offensive line.
Boise State has picked up another Chase from Rocklin, CA. Like the first one, Chase Baker, Chase Hatada is a defensive lineman, and he gave coach Bryan Harsin his commitment on Memorial Day morning. Hatada’s dad Ian ran track for the Broncos in the 1990’s, and Chase was consequently weaned on Boise State football. The 6-3, 255-pounder also had offers from Washington State, Army, and (count ’em) seven other Mountain West schools. Hatada looks at this as a long-term thing. “If I blow out my knee the first year there, Boise is a place I can see myself living,” he told Scout.com. “It’s more than just football.”
Former Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick is set to sign with the B.C. Lions of the CFL as early as today. Hedrick wasn’t signed two weeks ago by Denver after his rookie tryout, but the Canadian game may be well-suited to his skill-set. I think of former Montana great Dave Dickenson, who had a cup of coffee in the NFL but starred in the CFL, especially during a five-year stretch with B.C. Incidentally, Dickenson is currently the offensive coordinator at Calgary and is the head coach-in-waiting for the Stampeders in 2016. I could see Hedrick following that path as well.
Orlando Scandrick is a considerably richer man now after getting a reworked contract from the Dallas Cowboys last Friday. The consensus in Dallas is that Scandrick had the team over a barrel when he skipped voluntary workouts in his quest for a new deal. The Cowboys have problems at cornerback, with first round draft pick Byron Jones out of UConn unproven and veterans Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne consistently underachieving. The former Boise State standout has been the best-performing corner on the Cowboys’ roster the past two seasons. Scandrick landed a one-year contract extension and an addition $9.5 million, with $4 million guaranteed this year (after he was scheduled to make $1.5 million).
There could be a bonus in store for Bronco fans who get a head start on the Boise State-Virginia game in September. If they want to see more of the state, they can visit Richmond on September 22 and watch Boise’s Kristin Armstrong in the World Time Trial Championships. Charlottesville and Richmond are just 68 miles apart. Armstrong qualified for worlds by winning the US Time Trial Championships Saturday in record time. Safe to say the two-time Olympic gold medalist was inspired after being left off the U.S. team at the Pan-American Championships in Mexico earlier this month. Armstrong is now a legitimate contender for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.
Only a handful of Idahoans have probably ever followed Spain’s Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) soccer match every year. But it’ll be a big deal this year, as this Saturday’s contest now determines whether the Basque Soccer Friendly will play on in Boise July 29 or be moved up 10 or 11 days. Athletic Bilbao, which will face Club Tijuana in the exhibition at Albertsons Stadium, has now earned its way into the third round of the qualifying tournament for the Europa League that begins July 30. If Bilbao can upset international power Barcelona FC in the Copa del Rey, it’ll move past that round, and the Boise date will remain the same. If Bilbao loses to Barcelona, the friendly will be played July 18 or 19.
Graham DeLaet had fought his way into position for a nice payday at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Sunday. But the final round bit the former Boise State star to the tune of a four-over 74, and he tied for 53rd. By the time he reached the 13th tee, DeLaet had clocked five bogeys and had fallen far off the pace after starting the day tied for 17th. He earned $14,976.
Former Boise Hawk Kris Bryant saw his 12-game hitting streak end Sunday in the Chicago Cubs’ 4-3 loss at Arizona, but he has been everything fans had hoped for during his long wait to get to the majors. Bryant is hitting a serviceable .282 with 30 runs batted in over his first 36 games as a Cub. Known for his power, he went without a home run in his first 20 games, but he’s hit six since, including one yesterday in a 2-1 loss to Washington at Wrigley Field. Bryant faced Nationals’ star Bryce Harper for the first time since the two were growing up in Las Vegas and occasionally paired together on the same youth baseball teams.
On the campus cruise, NNU’s Payton Lewis is an All-American after finishing fourth in the pole vault Saturday at the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships. At the NAIA Championships, the College of Idaho’s Amy Pfaff captured All-America honors with a fifth-place finish in the 1,500-meters, and Max Hampton did the same with an eighth-place result in the 5,000-meters, while the Coyotes women’s 4×400-meter relay team also earned All-America status with a seventh-place finish. At the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, Idaho’s Leilanie Kim dropped from fifth to 38th in the final round yesterday. After three steady rounds, the Vandal senior struggled to a 13-over 85.
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May 26, 1993: One of the great bloopers in sports history. Jose Canseco, playing rightfield for the Texas Rangers, misjudges a long fly ball by Cleveland’s Carlos Martinez—and it bounces off his head and over the fence for a home run. Three days later, Canseco would pitch in mop-up of a blowout loss in Boston and hurt his arm, having to undergo Tommy John surgery. Canseco would come back to play seven more seasons and would hit 462 steroid-aided homers in a 17-year big league career.
(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.)