By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Boise State senior left tackle Nate Potter has been named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
The award is based on “notable achievements” in four areas — community, classroom, character and competition. CLASS stands for “Celebrating loyalty and achievement for staying in school.”
Potter graduated in May with a 3.70 GPA and a bachelor's degree in history. He is in graduate school. He was named to the WAC's All-Academic team three times and was a second team Academic All-American last year.
He also is involved in Boise State's support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and speaks at local high schools about the “Go On Challenge” to encourage more students to pursue post-secondary education and training.
“Nate’s a leader, regardless of how good he is on the field,” sophomore right tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. “He’s one of those guys I look up to and I always will. He’s a great student in academics. He’s a leader in the community. And he’s also one of the best offensive linemen in the nation. You can’t beat that.”
The other finalists were: Emmanuel Acho, Linebacker, Texas; Jake Bequette, Defensive End, Arkansas; Drew Butler, Punter, Georgia; Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Michigan State; Austin Davis, Quarterback, Southern Mississippi; John Dowd, Guard, Navy; Chase Minnifield, Cornerback, Virginia; Dan Persa, Quarterback, Northwestern; Dawson Zimmerman, Punter, Clemson.
“It’s an honor to be just mentioned with the guys on that list,” Potter said. “I’ve got to attribute it to everybody around me. It’s not just a me thing. It’s the people I’m involved with, school, teachers, the community, coaches. It’s just an honor.”
Said coach Chris Petersen: "I know he's one of the top 10 deserving guys in the country. This guy has been such a spectacular person, player, student since he's been here and that's what it's all about."
Potter, a Timberline High graduate, has been mentioned on several preseason and midseason All-America teams.
Boise State senior quarterback Kellen Moore was named one of 10 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which goes to the top senior or fourth-year junior quarterback.
The other finalists are Nick Foles, Arizona; Robert Griffin III, Baylor; Landry Jones, Oklahoma; Case Keenum, Houston; Andrew Luck, Stanford; Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M; Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State; Russell Wilson, Wisconsin; and Tyler Wilson, Arkansas.
Leno said that Potter will carry the Hammer out for the offensive line Saturday, but Potter said that decision hasn’t been made.
The group won the award that usually honors the best hit on special teams because the Broncos rushed for 393 yards last week at Colorado State.
“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Potter said. “I think a lot of guys are jacked up about it. It’s a fun thing for the O-line. We can’t let it distract us from what we have to get done this week.”
Boise State defensive tackle Mike Atkinson, on Air Force’s offense:
“It’s probably the most difficult thing I’ve seen in a while. We’re really trying to hone in on our new skills we’re going to have to develop in a week to be able to play the blocks we’re going to get.”
Former Boise State safety Gerald Alexander has signed with the Miami Dolphins.
Coach Chris Petersen, on teams using trick plays against the Broncos:
“I would. That’s what I would do. It’s not any surprise at all. Our defense is very aggressive. That’s what you do. You run screens. You run reverses. You do some trick stuff.”
Sophomore cornerback Ebo Makinde earned the start this week by playing well after replacing sophomore Quaylon Ewing-Burton in the first half last week, defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said.
Makinde finished with four tackles and a forced fumble.
Ewing-Burton was pulled from the game based on performance.
Join Brian Murphy and me for a live chat at 1 p.m. Thursday at IdahoStatesman.com.