No one knew what to make of the skinny kid from Capital High when he arrived at Arizona State in 1993. No one knew what to make of the skinny kid from Capital High when he arrived at Arizona State in 1993. But by October, Jake Plummer was activated as a true freshman quarterback, and by the time he was a senior, he was leading the Sun Devils to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the Rose Bowl. Yesterday Plummer was announced by the National Football Foundation as a ballot entry for the 2017 class at the College Football Hall of Fame. Okay, okay. There are 95 FBS players and 75 players from the lower divisions on the ballot. But doesn’t the 1996 Pac-10 Player of the Year deserve to be in the Hall? The unveiling of the 2017 Hall of Fame class will be January 6 as part of the College Football Playoff National Championship Weekend.
Idaho State has two nominees, Eddie Bell and Case deBruijn. Known later as Ed “The Flea” Bell when he was catching passes from Joe Namath with the New York Jets, the speedy wide receiver was a first-team All-American in 1969 at ISU and still holds the school career record with 30 touchdown receptions. deBruijn was a first-team All-American punter in 1981 after leading Division I-AA in punting for the second straight year. His season average of 45.9 yards per punt in 1981 is third all-time in what is now the FCS. He was also the Bengals’ placekicker as they won the 1981 national championship.
Two players from current Mountain West programs are on the prospective Hall of Famer list. Brian Urlacher was a big safety and occasional fullback in his college days at New Mexico and was the Mountain West Player of the Year in the conference’s first year of existence in 1999. Urlacher, you may remember, scored the Lobos’ only touchdown in a 20-9 loss to Boise State on the blue turf that year. He led the nation in 1998 with 178 tackles. And Utah State is represented by Phil Olsen, an consensus All-America defensive end in 1969. The field at USU’s Maverik Stadium is named after his late brother, Merlin.
Big 12 presidents and chancellors get down to brass tacks as their meetings continue in Irving, TX, today. Sources told the Dallas Morning News that at least six of the 10 conference schools favor expansion, but it would require eight to make it happen. It’s becoming clear that nothing in that regard will be decided at these meetings. Texas is a major roadblock—UT doesn’t want anyone messing with its Longhorn Network, and a Big 12 TV Network won’t happen unless Texas turns it loose. “The prudent thing for us to do as a conference is stay where we are,” Texas athletic director Mike Perrin said in a Yahoo! Sports story. “That’s my personal opinion.” And it’s a significant one.
Multiple reports say expelled Boise State linebacker Marquis Hendrix will appeal the university’s decision—the Statesman reports cornerback Donzale Roddie will appeal his expulsion as well. No word yet on safety Darreon Jackson, who was suspended for one year. The deadline to appeal is June 5. The three players were implicated in a sexual assault investigation, with Boise State taking action last week.
More on the college football over-under wins totals this week from VegasInsider.com. Again, oddsmakers have a lot of faith in Boise State, with an over-under of 10.5 wins. Among Bronco non-conference opponents, BYU gets an 8.0 projection, pretty good for a team with a new head coach (Kalani Sitake). Washington State is tabbed at 7.5, maybe a bit lower than expected considering the Cougars’ firepower. Louisiana-Lafayette is seen as a bounce-back squad after a four-win season, with a 6.5 over-under. And Vegas expects Oregon State to face another rebuilding season with a 3.5. One other to check out: Idaho’s over-under is 3.5 wins despite its apparent momentum coming off last year’s 4-8 campaign.
It took some time, but Darian Thompson is in the fold with the New York Giants. The third-round pick out of Boise State agreed to a standard four-year rookie contract yesterday. Thompson continues to impress with the Giants as he now mixes with the first-teamers. During OTAs yesterday he was working with the No. 1 defense and recovered a fumble during the practice. Thompson looks like he’s indeed challenging for the Giants’ starting free safety spot. “This guy’s a ball hawk. His instincts are what separates (him),” vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross told NJ.com. “He can anticipate where a route is, where a ball is going and he jumps on it. And that’s what distinguishes him with making interceptions.”
The only local playing the PGA Tour this week is Troy Merritt—in one of the great traditional events of pro golf. The Memorial, founded 40 years ago by Jack Nicklaus, tees off today in Dublin, OH. Merritt’s coming off a 17th-place finish last week at Colonial. Graham DeLaet withdrew from The Memorial yesterday, tweeting, “I’m dealing with incredible anxiety while chipping/pitching right now. It’s not fun. I needed to WD to get it sorted out and get back ASAP.” DeLaet’s short-game stats have dropped off in recent years. This season the former Boise State star is 186th on the PGA Tour in scrambling, a stat that measures how often golfers avoids bogeys after missing the green with their approach shots.
Former Boise Hawk Kris Bryant had one hit last night at Wrigley Field against the L.A. Dodgers. It was in the third inning, and it was one of only three hits on the night from Chicago bats. But it happened to be a two-run homer, accounting for all the Cubs’ scoring in a 2-1 win as Jon Lester spun a complete-game four-hitter. It was the 12th home run of the season for Bryant, who now has 39 RBIs. The Cubs now hold a 7½-game lead in the National League Central.
This Day In Sports…June 2, 2010:
About a third of the way through the 22nd season in his surefire Hall of Fame career, Ken Griffey Jr. announces his retirement from the Seattle Mariners. Griffey ended up fifth in career home runs with 630, a number that could have been a lot higher were it not for his injury-plagued years in Cincinnati. Junior’s retirement announcement was actually overshadowed the same night by one of the most disappointing moments in big league history: umpire Jim Joyce’s bad call that resulted in an infield single on what would have been the 27th and final out of a perfect game by Detroit’s Armando Galarraga. Impressive, however, was Joyce’s emotional apology to the pitcher afterward, and Galarraga’s heartfelt acceptance.
(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.)