Now that Cedrick Wilson’s shoulder is healed, he resumes his role as the trendy dark horse pick to make an impact in the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers room this year and essentially replace Cole Beasley. You don’t see so much from mainstream NFL experts on Wilson as you do from fan sites, but the former Boise State star has some good karma going. From The Landry Hat: “Bold prediction—Wilson makes the final-53. The former sixth round pick had a year off last season due to an injured shoulder. Now he’s healthy and better than ever.” And this from Inside The Star: “The talent is there, along with the praises of his position coach, now it’ll be interesting to see if this potential diamond in the rough can shine under the bright lights of AT&T Stadium.” I’m with them.
Beasley was 5-8, 174 pounds (he still is in Buffalo). Wilson is 6-3, 183. If you want mainstream, here’s USA Today’s take on Wilson’s possibilities: “Many fans automatically look at the size and style of player Beasley is and assume that’s the only type Dallas can plug into his role. That simply isn’t the case. There’s a growing trend around the league to allow larger receivers to man the slot, as long as they have the necessary sudden movement to befuddle defenders. By nature, the slot position allows every receiver a better start to their route, as they have an added two-yard buffer so they are more difficult to jam.”
LAWRENCE IS A LEGIT NFL STAR
Pro Football Focus has released its list of the “NFL’s 50 best players entering the 2019 season.” No. 32 is the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence. PFF points out that Lawrence was a late-bloomer coming out of Boise State: “The 2014 second-round pick earned sub-72.0 pass-rush grades in each of his first three seasons in the NFL before exploding in Year 4. Before committing to Lawrence long-term after just one breakout year, Dallas’ brass asked him to prove it via the franchise tag. He played on the tag in 2018 and very much proved himself. Now, Lawrence’s two-year pass-rush grade of 91.4 ranks fifth among NFL edge defenders with 500 or more pass-rush snaps since 2017.” I kind of thought I’d see Leighton Vander Esch on that list. Maybe next year.
THE RUNNING BACKS SWEEPSTAKES
It’s been well-chronicled that some of Boise State’s incoming freshmen arrived a week ago to get a head start on summer school. The two most intriguing ones are running backs Keegan Duncan of Declo and George Holani of Bellflower, CA. And so the speculation begins. Can Duncan and Holani make enough of a dent to compete with Robert Mahone and Andrew Van Buren for a starting spot with the Broncos? The raw data says yes. At 6-3, 220 pounds Duncan is just not your everyday Idaho 2A athlete. Holani is, well, an above-average Bronco recruit, coming in as an ESPN and 247 Sports four-star prospect and a top 25 running back nationally.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T FOR ALLIE
This is not a surprise. Boise State’s Allie Ostrander has been named the 2019 Mountain West Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Ostrander is the first woman in conference history to earn the honor three straight times. She stirred things up at the end of last week with her Instagram post taking the ESPN announcing crew at the NCAA Track and Field Championships to task for focusing on her size and looks.
Ostrander also took offense at last year’s comments calling her a “baby-faced assassin” after her second national title. I admit, I was caught up in that name at the time. But if Ostrander thinks it’s wrong, its wrong. Just like Doug Martin rejecting the “Muscle Hamster” moniker once he reached the NFL. Or 5-9, 174-pound Jeremy Avery asking that the nickname “Peanut” be shelved early in his Bronco career.
AN OPENING NIGHT GEM
It was a Chamber of Commerce home opener for the Boise Hawks at Memorial Stadium Monday night—temperatures in the upper 80’s with a tempering breeze. And the Hawks stuck to the script, beating Everett 4-1 for their first win of the season. It had to feel good for Steve Soliz, who at the age of 48, picked up his first-ever victory as a manager. Soliz got a great start from Wander Cabrera, who went five innings and allowed one run on three hits. Cabrera, a 21-year-old Dominican, got in two appearances at long-season Class A Ashville this spring before being assigned to the Hawks. Boise’s key blow offensively was a two-run double by Bladimir Restituyo in the fourth inning.
VANDALS SEEK CONTINUITY
What to make of Zac Claus being named interim coach all the way through the 2019-20 season at Idaho? It’s still only June—there might be some strong candidates out there for the full-time job in the wake of Don Verlin’s firing. But Claus is not a greenhorn and is a logical choice to keep Idaho hoops on an even keel. He’s been in Moscow for four seasons, and the Vandals won 62 games over the first three before last season’s 5-27 debacle. To be sure, Claus will have to earn his keep the hard way, as the Vandals are in total rebuild mode. But he was part of four regular-season WAC championships in a decade as a staffer at Nevada.
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June 18, 2014, five years ago today: It isn’t a perfect game, but some consider it to be the best pure pitching performance ever. Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw no-hit the Colorado Rockies, 8-0, his night spoiled only by a seventh-inning throwing error by teammate Hanley Ramirez on a routine ground ball. Kershaw struck out 15 batters and did not walk anyone, the best strikeout-to-walk ratio ever for a no-hitter. The count went to three balls only once all night, and Kershaw needed only 107 pitches total to accomplish the feat.
(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.)