Peeling away Phil Steele

Phil Steele puts out plenty of teasers to keep fans’ appetites whetted before his college football preview magazine is officially released. The latest are Steele’s All-Mountain West and All-America teams. He goes four teams deep on both, with Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland making his fourth-team All-America squad. Cleveland is first-team Preseason All-Mountain West, joined by guards John Molchon and Eric Quevedo, wide receiver John Hightower, defensive tackle David Moa and STUD end/linebacker Curtis Weaver. Quevedo is a mild surprise—Bronco Nation hopes Steele is right. He sees the big picture with Moa, who’s looking to bounce back with a big senior year after missing virtually all of last season with an injury.

Boise State has healthy representation on Steele’s All-Mountain West teams, but the Broncos’ primary threat in the Mountain Division, Utah State, would like to remind you of its star power. The Aggies have two Steele first-team All-Americans, Savon Scarver and David Woodward. Scarver became just the third consensus All-American in USU history last year as a returner/all-purpose player. Woodward, a 6-2, 230-pound junior linebacker, amassed 134 tackles last season, including 5.0 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss, plus two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Frankly, Woodward’s approaching Leighton Vander Esch territory there. Pro Football Focus graded Woodward as the top linebacker in the nation in 2018. Ya think November 23 is circled on the calendar?


Boise State announced its third late 2019 commit Thursday after another of coach Bryan Harsin’s familiar “Go Broncos” tweets on Tuesday. It turned out to be Jackson Cravens, a transfer from Utah. Cravens is a 6-3, 294-pound defensive tackle. You can’t have enough of those. He played in just one game for the Utes last season, so he was able to redshirt. But as a transfer, Cravens will have to sit out the upcoming season, leaving him three years of eligibility. He’ll be key in 2020, as Moa, Sonatane Lui, Chase Hatada, Matt Locher and Emmanuel Fesili are all seniors this season. Cravens was originally a three-star recruit from Provo, and was a first-team 4A all-state selection as a junior before an injury forced him to miss his senior season.

One player who won’t be reporting to Boise State this summer is 2019 signee Lolani Langi, who has elected to go on a two-year LDS mission first. Langi is a 6-2, 210-pound linebacker from South Jordan, UT. Presumably the Broncos had a hunch Langi would go that route this spring, hence the signing of one of the other late recruits, linebacker Josh Booker-Brown. Langi was a first-team Utah 6A all-state pick last fall. Senior athletic director Brad Larrondo hinted Thursday on Idaho SportsTalk that the Broncos might not be done with the NCAA transfer portal, particularly at the linebacker spot.


At first glance, a Boise State home game against UC Irvine doesn’t get fans jumping up and down. But maybe it should. It’s about as good as the Broncos can do these days. The Anteaters will be coming to ExtraMile Arena on November 15, with the Broncos making a return trip to Irvine next year. UCI is not only the defending Big West champion, it was a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament and upset Kansas State 70-64 in the first round. The Anteaters won a school-record 31 games. UC Irvine has notched 20-win seasons in the six of the past seven years (Boise State is seven-for-eight). Broncos coach Leon Rice equates it to the visit by Loyola-Chicago a couple years ago. “This will give us an early opportunity to test our team,” said Rice.


The Boise Hawks (and Colorado Rockies) hope to kick-start Frederis Parra, the Hawks’ starting pitcher in tonight’s season-opener at Salem-Keizer. At the age of 24, Parra is at a crossroads as he returns to Boise after going 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA in three appearances for the Hawks last year. The Dominican righthander made it to long-season Class A with Ashville last summer and began the season there this year. But Parra allowed seven earned runs in 10 innings of work and needs a second wind. The Memorial Stadium opener is Monday night, when the Hawks begin a five-game series against the Everett AquaSox.


Tomas Sholl, the Idaho Steelheads’ standout goalie for much of the past two seasons, has been invited to Dallas Stars Development Camp June 24-28. Fellow netminder Colton Point, who also spent time with the Steelheads this past season, will attend the camp as well, but he had a contract with the Stars organization. Sholl was on a straight, one-way ECHL contract, and it’s rare for a guy like that to have this kind of opportunity. Sholl went 26-12-1 with three shutouts for Idaho in 2018-19.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!

June 14, 2007: With an 83-82 Game 4 victory, the San Antonio Spurs win their fourth NBA championship in nine years with a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Only one game was decided by double-digits, but there was never any doubt the Spurs would be champs. It was the Cavs’ first-ever trip to the Finals—therefore, it was the first for LeBron James as well. Capping his fourth NBA season, the superstar averaged 22 points per game to lead the Cavs in the series. But James couldn’t save the TV ratings, which were the lowest in history for an NBA Finals.

(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.)