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Boise State football: What could or could not have been

Boise State has had only two of its quarterbacks ever take a snap in the NFL. Now one of the Broncos’ former commits is near the top of the NFL Draft board.
Credit: Steve Conner/AP Photo
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson prepares to throw downfield against Boise State in an NCAA game Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Boise, Idaho. BYU won 51-17.

BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, April 22, 2021.

It’s unfair to bring this up, but I will anyway. Would BYU’s Zach Wilson had been in this same draft position had he not backed out of his commitment to Boise State one week before early signing day in 2017? Wilson would have been a really good quarterback for the Broncos, but how far could he have taken it? He would have played behind Brett Rypien in 2018. Well, one week from tonight, Wilson will be among the top overall picks in the NFL Draft, projected to go as high as No. 2 to the New York Jets. Zak Hill would have been his offensive coordinator in his first two seasons and Eric Kiesau in the third. Was there some magic elixir OC Jeff Grimes had in Provo? Some would say Wilson’s competition was suspect in 2020, but he torched Boise State with 360 yards passing and three TDs in the 51-17 rout last November.

BYU’s offensive line was an asset last season, allowing him to roam free to the tune of a 73.5 percent completion rate and 33 touchdowns against just three interceptions. He wouldn’t have had that advantage up front at Boise State. Wilson’s arm strength and the ability to throw accurately across his body are big NFL selling points. He anticipates windows and hits receivers as they’re coming out of their breaks. Those, on the other hand, are attributes he would have brought to the Broncos, too. Wilson has an “it” factor that can’t be taught.

HOUSER ADDS A STAR

Maybe Katin Houser is Boise State’s Zach Wilson. You never know. The Broncos’ first and only commit so far in the 2022 recruiting class is a good one. The 6-3 Houser, who gave his verbal to coaches three weeks ago, has been upgraded to a four-star prospect by 247 Sports and is now rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country. To put that in perspective, the five quarterbacks rated immediately below Houser are committed to Michigan State, USC, Oregon, Oklahoma State and Florida. Houser just completed his abbreviated spring season at St. John Bosco in Bellflower, CA.

MINERS STILL STUCK IN THE MUD

The UTEP football program that visits the blue turf for Boise State’s home opener in September is not exactly humming like a top. Miners coach Dana Dimel received a one-year show-cause restriction and the UTEP athletic department was placed on one year's probation Tuesday over NCAA violations in the program. The Miners were cited for exceeding limits on the size of the coaching staff for two years by allowing offensive and defensive quality control coaches to provide instruction, and Dimel was held responsible for not monitoring the situation.He’s faced with a four-day suspension from coaching activities and a 10-day ban on off-campus recruiting. UTEP is 63-127 since the Broncos last saw the Miners in the WAC in 2005—and 5-27 under Dimel.

CALZARETTA’S A FIRST-TEAM REPEATER

College of Idaho running back Nick Calzaretta has gone back-to-back as a first-team All-Frontier Conference selection. Calzaretta, who was technically a senior this spring but is expected back for one more season, led the Coyotes with 273 rushing yards and five overall touchdowns on the season. He’s now fourth in career rushing at C of I with 2,525 yards. Seven other Yotes were first-team all-conference picks: wide receivers Hunter Juarez and Isaiah Veal, cornerbacks Isaiah Abdul and Dorian Hardin, safety Taeson Hardin, linebacker Dylan Martinez and defensive end Keagan McCoy.

MERRITT FLUSHES LAST FRIDAY

For Troy Merritt, it’s about the next round, not the last round as he tees off in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this morning. His last time out was forgettable. After opening the RBC Heritage with a three-under 68, Merritt carded a 76 in the second round. He started the day with an eagle on No. 2, but from there he was saddled with a bogey, two double-bogeys and even a triple. It can only get better from here. Merritt hasn’t played the Zurich since 2017, but it was the site of his first top 10 result on the PGA Tour. That was back in 2010, when he finished third and earned $435,200. The tournament now employs a pairs format—Merritt is teamed with Robert Streb.

SURPRISING EARLY EXIT AT NATIONALS

College of Southern Idaho carried the No. 3 overall seed into the NJCAA National Championships Wednesday. But 14th-seeded Indian River State of Florida met the Golden Eagles head-on with a 94-82 upset in the first round in Hutchinson, KS. The Pioneers jumped out to a 53-40 halftime lead and kept CSI at arm’s length the rest of the way. Former Vallivue High standout Amoro Lado finished his one-year stint as a Golden Eagle with 13 points.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 22, 1876:

The first game in National League history, with the Boston Baseball Club defeating the Athletic Club of Philadelphia, 6-5. The winning pitcher was Joe Borden, who was rewarded with a then-unheard of $2,000-per-year salary. When he failed to live up to expectations, Borden was forced to moonlight as a groundskeeper to earn his pay.

(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.) 

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