Boise State went into Wednesday’s early signing day with 14 known recruiting commitments. The Broncos were able to sign all 14 of those guys, plus one reveal. The first fax to arrive came from wide receiver Shea Whiting of Houston, who was the “silent commit” from last week’s flurry of activity. The 6-2, 180-pounder is a Blue-Grey All-American and was a member of the nation’s second-ranked 4X4 relay team last spring. From there, it all went according to plan. Quarterback Hank Bachmeier and linebacker/athlete Casey Kline were not only the two prizes of this class, they were the two earliest verbals Boise State received. Bachmeier and Kline are the second and fourth-highest rated recruits in Bronco history, respectively, according to 247 Sports.
There is one Idahoan in Boise State’s 2019 class (so far), and it’s going to be fascinating to see what happens with him. Keegan Duncan of Declo has Leighton Vander Esch-type mojo, but he’s different than the pride of Riggins. Duncan is not a walk-on, and he was not under the radar like Vander Esch was four years ago. Duncan had interest from Stanford back when he was a sophomore. The 6-3, 220-pounder (think about that) rushed for 2,041 yards this season, a number you sometimes see at the high school level. But Duncan did it on just 130 attempts. That’s a staggering 15.7 yards per carry. He scored 27 touchdowns rushing, 13 receiving, three on punt returns, two on kickoff returns and two on pick-sixes. Duncan is a pinball wizard.
The one position that most eyes will be on now, of course, is quarterback, as Brett Rypien’s Bronco successor is to be determined over the next eight months. Chase Cord is already on the roster and looked good in limited duty before he was lost for the season to a torn ACL in October. And we certainly don’t want to forget current backups Riley Smith and Jaylen Henderson. But here’s Bachmeier, who broke California’s Southern Section record for career touchdown passes when he threw his 152nd in October. And that’s sayin’ something. The Broncos have another QB signee, Kaiden Bennett of Folsom, CA, who led his team to the CIF Division I-AA championship last weekend. Here’s a footnote on Bachmeier: he also had an offer from Boston College. He’ll be dialed in during next week’s First Responder Bowl.
MASSIVE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING FRIDAY
One of the weird things about 6-6 teams qualifying for bowl games: the “opportunity” to achieve a losing season. That’s a huge thing tomorrow for 6-6 BYU in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, considering the Cougars are coming off a 4-9 campaign. Will 2018 go in the books as 7-6 or 6-7? In fact, coach Kalani Sitake’s career record is now 19-19. After the tilt against Western Michigan on the blue turf, will Sitake go into the offseason at 20-19—or 19-20? He’d like to head into the final year of his contract with a winning ledger. BYU hasn’t had back-to-back losing seasons since 2003-04. The result tomorrow afternoon means a lot to this program.
NFL front office people—and TV viewers—are interested in NFL prospects in bowl games, and CBSSports.com has a rundown of them for every game. In the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the lone guy spotlighted is BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki. Writes Chris Trapasso: “Coaches will be interested in Takitaki’s versatility, as he played off the ball frequently but was comfortable rushing the passer. At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Takitaki will check the size boxes for most teams. He’s a decently springy athlete and routinely shows good persistence when scraping through traffic to get to the ball-carrier on outside runs. He reacts quickly to the ball being thrown while in coverage too.” Takitaki’s stat line shows 100 tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks, and three pass breakups this season.
SDSU LAYS A MOUNTAIN WEST EGG
San Diego State had played 10 straight games decided by single digits. “According to the SDSU media relations department, that’s the longest streak by an FBS team in at least 39 years,” said the San Diego Union Tribune. Then came the Frisco Bowl Wednesday night. The Aztecs were shut out—that’s right, shut out—by Ohio in a 27-0 embarrassment. Boise State players and coaches must have watched it and been sick to their stomachs that they lost to San Diego State in October. The Aztecs managed only 287 yards of offense. And how about this? Juwan Washington rushed for 129 yards and ended up with 999 for the season, snapping an SDSU streak of eight straight seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher.
L.A. HEARTBREAK FOR BRONCO HOOPS
Loyola Marymount hasn’t looked this good since its glory days in 1990. So it was an uphill battle for Boise State Wednesday night in L.A. The Broncos trailed by 11 points at the break but opened the second half on a 17-6 run to tie it 49-49 with 12 minutes left. Then, after falling behind by nine, Boise State whittled away again. With seven seconds left, an RJ Williams layin gave the Broncos a 69-68 lead, their first since early in the game. But the Lions’ James Batemon laid it in at the other end with one second left to win it 70-69 for LMU, which improves to 11-1. Unlike the loss at Oregon last Saturday, Williams and Justinian Jessup did some scoring—and Alex Hobbs did not. Williams had 21 points, Jessup 15 points and Hobbs three. Batemon had his way with the visitors, though, pouring in 20 points in the first half and 30 for the game.
The Boise State women had five players in double figures Wednesday night in an 88-53 rout of Southern Utah, and one of them wasn’t Riley Lupfer. The Bronco quintet was led by A’Shanti Coleman with 14 points. Lupfer played only 18 minutes and scored three points. Boise State wraps up non-conference play with a 9-2 record and has two weeks off before beginning Mountain West play. Elsewhere, the Northwest Nazarene men got 33 points from Obi Megwa and 25 from Adonis Arms Wednesday at Metro State. But, amazingly, it wasn’t enough. NNU finished its non-league slate with a 96-91 loss in Denver. The Nighthawks return to the court on New Year’s Day.
ACCOLADES FOR COFFEY UP NORTH
Back to football—through thick and thin, Idaho has always had great kickers. And the Vandals’ current one has been named a second-team FCS All-American by STATS. Sophomore Cade Coffey averaged 44.1 yards per punt this season to rank fifth in the FCS and helped Idaho net 40 yards per punt, the best mark in the Big Sky and second-best in the country. Coffey had 19 boots of at least 50 yards. He was a USA Today Freshman All-American in 2017 at the FBS level. Each of Coffey’s three predecessors also earned All-America recognition of some kind during their careers: Austin Rehkow, Bobby Cowan and T.J. Conley.
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December 20, 1966: The NBA awards a franchise to Seattle, to be christened the SuperSonics and to begin play for the 1967-68 season at the Seattle Center Coliseum. The Sonics had a storied history and a rabid following and won the NBA championship in 1979. But in 2008, new owner Clay Bennett uprooted the team and moved it to Oklahoma City, where it now plays as the Thunder. Will the renovation of Key Arena for Seattle’s new NHL franchise help get the NBA back someday?
(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.)