We’ll kick off today with a positive, because there’s not a lot of that in today’s column. Boise State’s track record in the NFL Draft is rather solid. This will be the 11th straight year that the Broncos have had a player drafted—and the 14th year in the past 15. There have been five first-round picks, all in the last 12 years (the last was Leighton Vander Esch two years ago). That’s the drama Thursday, as Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland is a fringe first-round prospect and Curtis Weaver less so. There have been eight Broncos chosen in the second round and six in the third. Boise State’s biggest year in the draft was in 2012, when six players were picked, and one of them wasn’t Kellen Moore. You had Doug Martin and Shea McClellin in the first round—plus Tyrone Crawford, George Iloka, Billy Winn and Nate Potter.
WEAVER’S HEALTHY, IF THE NFL WILL TAKE NOTE
Weaver’s draft status, like that of David Moa, has been hurt by the absence of a pro day this year. His agent, Ron Slavin, was on Idaho SportsTalk Tuesday and said Weaver’s high ankle sprain took about four games’ worth of good tape away, as the All-Mountain West STUD end-linebacker played on, doing “what’s right as a teammate but not as a prospect.” Slavin said Weaver wasn’t able to get one-on-one time this spring with NFL coaches, who haven’t seen “how much he can contort his body.” Speaking of Weaver’s body, Slavin said, “His body fat has gone down a bunch—he looks like an NFL football player now.”
A TOTAL 10-DAY SHUTDOWN FOR SOME
Boise State appears to be ahead of the curve on this, but it will probably become the norm. University president Marlene Tromp has announced furloughs for any employee making more than $40,000 per year. The furlough will be 10 days for those making more than $150,000. That’s a lifetime for a coach. According to B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press, there are 13 members of the Boise State athletic department affected in addition to athletic director Curt Apsey. Seven of them are on the football staff, including (of course) coach Bryan Harsin.
The furloughs may be taken through July. So football coaches could take it now, since the recruiting dead period has been extended to May 31—or line it up with time they’d take off on vacation anyway. The difference: they won’t have cell phones stuck to their ears half the time—and they won’t be making any money. The story, by the way, has become a national one.
WHEN WILL WE KNOW?
Part II of commissioner Craig Thompson’s Mountain West Network interview was posted Tuesday, and it sure sounds like he’s preparing us for a delayed or shortened fall sports season. “I think they’ll be impacted,” Thompson said of fall athletics. And, “I think it’s got to be all or nothing. I cannot imagine that we would bring football players back and not allow the other sports to come back. One man’s opinion.” Thompson feels football programs need up to eight weeks to regroup and ramp up. “Sometime in early July a decision will have to be made if we’re going to play on Labor Day weekend,” he said. And there’s this: “We will not have college athletics if the campuses aren’t open.” He means all.
MARSHALL STILL ON THE SLATE
If only it was this easy. A Conference USA release says the Boise State-Marshall game in Huntington, WV, has been moved to Friday, September 25. The kickoff time and television network are to be announced. The most important announcement is whether the college football season will start on time. If it doesn’t, non-conference games are in jeopardy. This is going to be the Broncos’ first visit to Marshall’s home field since they fell 28-14 to Youngstown State in the 1994 Division I-AA national championship game. If it happens.
DELAYED STEELIES NEWS
The pandemic has messed up the dissemination of information, especially from the Idaho Steelheads, whose offices are skeletoned like so many others. Heck, this news is 13 days old and passed me by. But the Steelheads’ Tomas Sholl did, in fact, earn ECHL Goaltender of the Year honors. Sholl, who’s under an AHL contract with the Texas Stars, led the ECHL in wins this past season, compiling a 28-8-5 record with five shutouts. He was runnerup for Goaltender of the Year in 2018-19. In 99 career ECHL games with the Steelies and Adirondack, Sholl has an overall record of 68-20-9 with 12 shutouts and a 2.07 goals-against average.
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April 22, 2010, 10 years ago today: Cornerback Kyle Wilson becomes the second Boise State player ever to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft when the New York Jets make him the 29th overall pick. Analysts were surprised Wilson lasted that long, but Jets coach Rex Ryan was thrilled. His NFL career didn’t go exactly the way he wanted, but Wilson remains one of the most respected players in Broncos history. Idaho’s Mike Iupati also became the second Vandal ever to be chosen in the first round, going to the San Francisco 49ers as the 17th overall choice. It was the first time two players from Gem State colleges had ever gone in the first round.
(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.)