John Hightower is the Boise State wide receiver on Athlon’s Preseason All-Mountain West first-team. Khalil Shakir is the underrated one on Athlon’s fourth-team. But Stefan Cobbs is generating more buzz all the time. Sky’s The Limit Elite Training tweeted video of Cobbs acing one of its drills during a workout, his feet nearly a blur going through cones, then running an out-route and making a catch. Who retweeted it? Brett Rypien, who said: “Can’t wait to watch @stefcobbs this year. Has worked his tail off since the moment he stepped on campus. Bronco nation get excited!” Avery Williams, who said: “Uhhh ohhh” with a lightning emoji. Understatement: Cobbs is a Bronco to watch.
The original tweet came from Margin Hooks of Sky’s The Limit. “Putting in technique work. Fluid hips/Change of direction,” posted Hooks from a Dallas area high school. After some dazzling footwork, Cobbs’ route featured a couple of serious cuts on cones placed downfield. The redshirt freshman was certainly one of the emerging stars during Boise State spring football. Cobbs made three catches for 69 yards in the Broncos’ Spring Game last month, including one that covered 35 yards.
COLLINGHAM CORRALS A SCHOLLY
Hmmm…we wondered when this would happen. It was inevitable. Former Mountain View High quarterback Garrett Collingham, now a Boise State tight end, has been awarded a scholarship by the Broncos. Coach Bryan Harsin tweeted the news Tuesday. Collingham is on his fifth position at Boise State, and he has found a home. He became more than a special teams player last year and worked his way into the tight ends rotation, so much so that his first career touchdown actually came on a four-yard run against Colorado State. Collingham’s first TD reception was a big one—versus Utah State in the Broncos’ division-clinching victory in November. A classic Boise State walk-on story.
HARWELL FROM MOUNTAIN WEST TO BIG WEST
Malek Harwell, who elected to transfer from Boise State at the end of this past season, tweeted Tuesday night that his “next chapter will be at Cal Poly.” Harwell was Idaho’s 2015 Player of the Year at Century High in Pocatello and was a favorite of coach Leon Rice, but a torn ACL before his redshirt freshman season was a setback he wasn’t able to recover from as a Bronco. He averaged 1.7 points in 57 games at Boise State. Harwell is a graduate transfer and will be eligible to play immediately for the Mustangs this fall. He’ll be a key part of a rebuilding project, as Cal Poly was 6-23 last season and embarks on a new journey with first-year coach John Smith.
QUETA WILL STAY
Who’s the favorite in the Mountain West men’s basketball race in 2019-20? It’s not Nevada. Utah State is getting Neemias Queta back, and with Sam Merrill already sticking around, the Aggies will be formidable. Queta, the 6-11 Portuguese center who was last season’s conference Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year, had declared for the NBA Draft earlier this spring. Today is the deadline to withdraw, and Queta did so Tuesday. He was one of 66 players invited to the NBA Combine and received mixed reviews. But while Queta’s skills may need some refinement in NBA terms, they’re certainly scary at the Mountain West level. And he’s poised to improve by leaps and bounds next winter.
GROUND BECOMES SHAKIER UNDER VERLIN
Peter Harriman of the Spokesman-Review in Spokane reports that Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin was placed on paid administrative leave last Thursday, “one day after university officials received a consultant’s final report detailing three potential violations of NCAA bylaws.” The university reported the possible infractions to the NCAA, according to Vandal spokesman Mike Walsh. Verlin’s leave is initially for 10 business days. Idaho players return to campus June 8, and Idaho will have an update on Verlin’s status no later than that date, Walsh said. No interim coach has been named—anything can happen. Times have been tough in Moscow; Verlin and the Vandals went 5-27 last season.
STUNNING BUCKNER FACTOIDS
Boise State baseball coach Gary Van Tol made a point of Bill Buckner’s dislike for strikeouts while paying tribute to the late big league star and Boisean on Monday. Here are the best two stats that relate. Buckner averaged 29 strikeouts per year. There are 200 big leaguers who have already exceeded that this season. The only player in the expansion era with a lower percentage of strikeouts was Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. On Sunday, the last full day of Buckner’s life, there were 16 major leaguers who struck out three or more times. That never happened to Buckner in his 22-year major league career. It happened to Gwynn once. Billy Buck was amazing.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by VETERANS PLUMBING…eliminate your drips and drops!
May 29, 1983: Spokane’s Tom Sneva discards his bridesmaid’s image by winning the Indianapolis 500. Late in the race, Al Unser Sr. was leading, with Sneva in second. Unser’s son, Al Jr., tried running interference for his dad, and it appeared Sneva may be unable to get by. But finally, Sneva passed both Unsers and pulled away to take the checkered flag. Sneva had finished second at Indy in three of the previous six years.
(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.)