Boise State Pro Day: Tale of the Tape, Take 2

You know and I know that the essence of Alexander Mattison is not in his top-end speed, but in finding creases and the burst that explodes him to the second-level. But there’s a traditional hangup with 40-yard dash times, and that will be the focus of Mattison’s performance at Boise State’s Pro Day today at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex. He ran an official 4.67 seconds in the 40 at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, a mark that won’t set any stopwatches on fire. Mattison’s goal was to run a sub-4.5, something he says he has done before. For Mattison, the intangibles will be huge. As for Boise State’s other legit NFL Draft hopeful, quarterback Brett Rypien, he’ll seek to put some polish on what was a strong showing at the Combine.

There were two Boise State players who should have received NFL Combine invites but didn’t, and this is a big day for both of them. Jabril Frazier became a formidable Bronco force the past two years after an injury-racked sophomore season that resulted in three surgeries—all on the same day—in early 2017. Frazier began his career as a defensive end, morphed into Boise State’s STUD position, and projects as an edge-rushing outside linebacker in the NFL. Tyler Horton seems to fit the mold of a late-round NFL cornerback, but he’s also on the outside looking in and will have to produce some numbers today. But what’s wrong with this picture? Horton has speed, physicality and instinct.

Other former Broncos auditioning at Pro Day today include wide receiver A.J. Richardson, who’s also getting some buzz as an undrafted free agent possibility, as well as fellow wideout Sean Modster, kicker Haden Hoggarth, linebacker Tony Lashley, defensive end (or outside linebacker) Durrant Miles, running back Skyler Seibold and punter Quinn Skillin. Players will first go through measurements and testing (vertical leap, broad jump, bench press) in the weight room at the Bleymaier Football Center before shifting next door to the Caven-Williams indoor facility for on-field testing (40-yard dash, shuttle sprints and position drills).

MOA CONSTRICTOR ON THE TRIPLE-OPTION

Boise State’s April Fool’s Day prank on Monday went like this. On camera, coach Bryan Harsin: “Alright, Bronco Nation, just finished up our Monday practice. The guys did a great job, and as promised, we’re gonna make that announcement on our quarterback today. Guy’s been here six years, knows our offense the very best, I feel like he’s a great runner. David Moa.” Camera pans to Moa, throwing his arms in the air: “Yes! Yes!” Nobody had to check the calendar for that one. The page on the calendar that counts right now is Saturday, April 6, when four real quarterbacks will try to get noticed in the Broncos’ Spring Game.

THEY’RE BATTLIN’ IN TALLAHASSEE, TOO

SI.com recently featured “12 Quarterback Battles That Should Last Beyond Spring Practice.” One was Boise State’s, which writer Joan Niesen characterized as a five-way race, with Hank Bachmeier as a favorite. But another was Florida State’s between James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook. Writes Niesen: “Most presumed Blackman would overtake Deondre Francois for the starting job in 2019 even before Francois was dismissed from the team in February, but Hornibrook, the former Wisconsin starter, threw a bit of a wrench into that plan when he announced in March that he was transferring to Tallahassee.”

Can Hornibrook catch up enough to get the FSU job? Niesen continues: “As a graduate student, Hornibrook has immediate eligibility, and he intends to challenge Blackman for starter’s reps. Hornibrook has dealt with accuracy issues in the past, and neither he nor Blackman are threats with their legs. Regardless, adding him to the roster gives the Seminoles some depth they desperately needed after coach Willie Taggart failed to reel in a quarterback for the second consecutive signing class.” The dynamic of the QB competition is so very different at Boise State. A lot friendlier, it seems.

FOR THOSE WHO REMEMBER THIS GUY

This former Boise Hawk bears mentioning today. Very few players who come through Boise are remembered in future years by anyone outside hardcore baseball fans (the Cubs’ Kris Bryant would be an exception). But Jeimer Candelario had a solid season with the Hawks in 2012, batting .281 with six home runs and 47 RBI. He didn’t reach the majors until 2016 with the Cubs—and didn’t become a regular until last year with Detroit. Candelario was the star of the Tigers’ 11-inning 4-3 win at Minnesota Sunday, collecting the first five-hit game of his career. He had come into the game 1-for-12 on the season.

YOTES STICKING AROUND IN NAIA WEST

It’s been an occasionally challenging season for the College of Idaho baseball team, but the Coyotes are coming off a doubleheader sweep of Oregon Tech Sunday—and a sweep of the weekly awards in the NAIA West. The Yotes’ Richard Walker is Pitcher of the Week after tossing a two-hitter Saturday versus the Owls, retiring 23 of 25 batters at one stretch and striking out a season-high nine. And C of I’s Matthew Clay is NAIA West Player of the Week. Walker recorded four multi-hit games in the series at OIT, upping his season average by 39 points. The Yotes are 16-23 overall but have evened their NAIA West record at 10-10, moving into second place.

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April 2, 2012: After two consecutive years that saw Cinderella Butler make the NCAA Tournament championship game, college hoops bluebloods Kentucky and Kansas battle it out for the title. The Wildcats, featuring a cast of talented underclassmen headed for the NBA a couple months later, smothered the Jayhawks 67-59 for their eighth national crown. The “one-and-done” players, those jumping to the NBA after their freshmen seasons, had become a controversial trademark of UK teams under coach John Calipari. This time the contingent was led by college basketball’s Player of the Year, dominant 6-10 forward Anthony Davis.

(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.)