By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Former Boise State tailback Malcolm Johnson has returned to the program as a walk-on.
Johnson was added to the roster Thursday, the first day of fall camp. He was suspended for the 2010 Fiesta Bowl for failing to meet team standards and never practiced with the team last fall after coach Chris Petersen said he was “working on some academic things.”
Johnson, who is from Gresham, Ore., attended Mt. Hood Community College last year. Mt. Hood doesn’t sponsor football.
He was a touted recruit in 2009 out of Barlow High. He rushed for 6,975 yards in his high school career and averaged 204 yards per game as a senior.
Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, joins a tailback depth chart that includes just four scholarship players — senior Doug Martin, senior D.J. Harper, junior Raphiel Lambert and true freshman Jay Ajayi.
Other walk-ons who joined the team include running back Zach Keiser (Coeur d’Alene High), fullback Jamal Wilson (Fontana, Calif.), long snapper Dakota Shackleton (Danville, Calif.), linebacker Mitchell McCarthy (Shingletown, Calif.), defensive lineman Beau Martin (Lakewood, Colo.), wide receiver Cory Brehm (Granite Bay, Calif.) and running back Phillip Hogan (Honolulu). Martin, a sophomore, transferred from Colorado State-Pueblo.
Only one member of the recruiting class is slated to grayshirt — tight end Hayden Plinke of Hillsboro, Ore. The rest of the recruiting class joined the team, including safety Taylor Loffler, nickel Corey Bell and wide receiver Dallas Burroughs, who were all grayshirt candidates at one time.
Two players aren’t practicing with the team — scholarship offensive tackle Zach Waller, who was on the preseason depth chart as the backup left tackle, and walk-on wide receiver Anthony Clarke. Waller has some business to take care of off the field and may return to the team. Clarke is being held out pending the conclusion of his court case stemming from an alleged hazing incident during his high school career in Blackfoot.
The Broncos veterans practiced Thursday morning at Dona Larsen Park — in an unexpected rain shower.
Senior cornerback Jerrell Gavins turned in a standout performance. On the first team session of the season, quarterback Kellen Moore was marching the first-team offense right down the field during a hurry-up drill. Gavins stopped the drive with a leaping interception at the goal line in front of wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn.
Gavins got his hands on at least three other passes — including a deep ball that he tipped and wide receiver Mitch Burroughs caught while falling to the ground.
Gavins and junior returning starter Jamar Taylor put in extra work together several days a week during the summer.
“He’s just real aggressive —he’s a playmaker,” Taylor said. “Right now, I wouldn’t rather have anybody else on the other side because I know he’s going to do his job.”
The newcomers and select veterans practice this afternoon.
Here is our photo gallery from practice.
Here are some comments from the players today:
WR Tyler Shoemaker, on the rainy first practice: “We appreciate that. We don’t mind it. It’s better than direct sun the first day.”
Shoemaker on the first practice with players and coaches since mid-April: “Summertime is kind of the players’ time. We get to have fun on our own. The coaches definitely bring another dynamic and another energy to the practices and it makes it fun and I think everybody’s ready to get back in that groove.”
Shoemaker on the Coaches’ Poll: “It just shows the growth of this program. It speaks to the recruiting and things we’ve been able to do over the (past) couple of years. … And it just shows the potential that this program can really reach.”
S Cedric Febis, who didn’t practice in the spring (I’ll have a feature on him in Friday’s paper): “It felt really good. I haven’t been out there in so long — I’ve missed it.”
Former Boise State and San Diego Chargers wide receiver Legedu Naanee has signed with the Carolina Panthers, he announced on Twitter.
Boise State is No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. That post is here.
ESPN.com’s Pat Forde is back driving the Boise State “Bus.” He listed the Broncos as underrated in the Coaches’ Poll.
LSU offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The former Tulsa head coach graduated from Highland High and his dad, Dave, is a former Idaho State head coach.
Here’s a story on Kragthorpe.