Ryan Finley has found his post-Boise State landing spot, according to multiple sources. Ryan Finley has found his post-Boise State landing spot. And it’s with his former offensive coordinator at BSU, Eli Drinkwitz, at North Carolina State. Finley, who decided right after spring football that he would seek playing time elsewhere as a graduate transfer, will be eligible to play this season for the Wolfpack after having received his degree from Boise State Saturday. Finley will have either two years to play two or three years to play three, depending on whether he gets a medical redshirt for his 2015 season. He should, since he played less than 25 percent of Boise State’s game as a sophomore. That would make Finley a sophomore again. How many times has there been a graduate with three years of eligibility left?
Inquiring minds want to know: what are Finley’s chances of seeing the field at North Carolina State? Last year’s Wolfpack starter, Jacoby Brissett, was taken in the third round of the NFL Draft by New England. Redshirt sophomore Jalan McClendon and redshirt freshman Jakobi Meyers had similar stats in NC State’s spring game—not bad, not great. McClendon’s the only QB who has played; he threw just 14 passes last season, completing eight for 69 yards. It’ll be hard for either of them to keep from looking over their shoulders, knowing that their new offensive coordinator is bringing in a quarterback from his old school. Finley will have to cut down on his interceptions, though. He threw five picks in 97 attempts last year for the Broncos.
A new feature at ESPN.com lists “the best offseason acquisitions for all 32 NFL teams,” and for the New York Jets it’s former Boise State star Ryan Clady, late of the Denver Broncos. Writes Rich Cimini: “Trading for the four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Clady could be a steal for the Jets. They didn’t give up much (a fifth-round pick), the contract is reasonable and he could return to a Pro Bowl level, if healthy. D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s unexpected retirement in April put the Jets in a tough spot, but they did well to acquire Clady, who missed all of the 2015 season after tearing an ACL last May. He could be an upgrade.”
I mentioned yesterday that former Boise State running back Kelsey Young was not among the 15 tryout players signed after the Washington Redskins’ rookie minicamp over the weekend—and he wasn’t. But Washington announced four more free agent signings yesterday, and Young was on that list. He’s on the roster, listed as No. 32. It’ll be interesting to see if Young gets to show his wares as a receiver out of the backfield in training camp. He wasn’t used that way as much as expected as a Bronco, making eight catches for 65 yards last season.
What price do you pay for exposure? It’s a subject that’s broached every time a Boise State game kicks off 8:15 p.m. Conference USA schools are finding out as they return to ESPN this year. C-USA hasn’t been a regular on the network since 2011, when the league signed new agreements with Fox Sports and CBS Sports Network. Now the conference goes for what it hopes will be more eyeballs on ESPN, currently at about 94 million subscribers. The payout per school will drop from $1 million per year to $300,000-400,000. Can you say “ouch?” And that only guarantees Conference USA’s five top games will show on the ESPN networks. Then CBS Sports Network will choose some—and the rest that make it on the tube will be on a regional circuit called American Sports Network. A cautionary tale for the Mountain West.
The San Diego State basketball program, with a new chip on its shoulder after missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years, keeps reloading for the 2016-17 season. Valentine Izundu, a graduate transfer from Washington State, has chosen the Aztecs as his team for his senior year. Izundu averaged just 3.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per game for WSU last season, but his ceiling is seen as much higher than that, and he seems primed to fill the role of departed SDSU mainstay Skyler Spencer inside. Izundu also averaged 2.2 blocks for the Cougs.
San Francisco’s leading scorer, Devin Watson, transferred to San Diego State on Mother’s Day, although he’ll have to sit out next season. Watson averaged 20.3 points per game for USF and put up 32 points in an overtime loss to Gonzaga. The Aztecs will be potent with Watson in 2017-18, but to them the future is now. In fact, the process started in March. They responded to the tournament snub (granted, they had some bad losses last season) by making the semifinals of the NIT at Madison Square Garden and finishing 28-10.
With the Boise Hawks crankin’ it up one month from tonight, let’s check in on the count of former Hawks in the majors—there’s a lot more of them this year. Twenty-five Boise alums are on big league rosters (including those on the disabled list). And there are some good ones, starting with the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and the Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson, the reigning American League MVP. With Marco Hernandez making his debut for the Red Sox last month, there have now been 116 former Hawks to make it to the majors. Coincidentally, Hernandez was called back up by Boston yesterday.
The College of Idaho baseball team hopes to recreate a little 2012 magic when it takes the field this morning for the NAIA National Championships Opening Round in Santa Barbara. The Coyotes last made the first level of nationals four years ago, when they produced a 7-6 walk-off victory over bracket host Azusa Pacific to advance to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston. Today the Yotes take on William Carey in the morning. If they win, they take on Westmont this afternoon. If not, C of I faces an elimination game tomorrow morning.
All three of the players advancing out of U.S. Open Local Qualifying Sunday at TimberStone say they’re headed for Sectional Qualifying June 6 at Royal Oaks Country Club in Vancouver, WA. Former Eagle High and Boise State standout Ty Travis, who had just qualified for PGA Tour Canada the previous weekend, led the pack with a four-under 68 on the Caldwell course. Current Eagle High star Josh Gliege and Washington State golfer Nick Mandell also moved on to Sectionals. How are their odds? The USGA is conducting 111 18-hole local qualifiers in 43 states to determine which players advance to the 12 36-hole sectional qualifying events. It’s tough. The U.S. Open is four weeks away in Oakmont, PA.
This Day In Sports…May 17, 2011, five years ago today:
The most prolific professional athlete ever to come out of the state of Idaho passes away at the age of 74. There was no brighter beacon from the Gem State in pro sports than Harmon Killebrew—on so many levels. The Pride of Payette broke into the majors as a 17-year-old in 1954 and hit 573 career home runs. He was the top right-handed home run hitter in American League history until being passed by Alex Rodriguez. But Killebrew also left a legacy of caring, typified by the golf event he founded in 1977 honoring a Minnesota Twins teammate, the Danny Thompson Memorial Tournament in Sun Valley for leukemia research.
(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.)