By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Former Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor made a strong showing in Senior Bowl practices this week in Mobile, Ala., and will play for the North team in the game at 2 p.m. MST Saturday (NFL Network).
“Monday was a real good day for me (in practice),” Taylor said. “I got the first turnover for the DBs (an interception), flew around a little bit. Tuesday was a little bit rougher. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to my expectations. I got beat for a touchdown and gave up another route. Other than that, I was out there battling. Everybody’s good at their school, so you can’t expect to win every play. I was real happy that I didn’t dwell on anything. I just let it go.
“Wednesday, I had a real good practice. (Thursday) was OK. … Overall, my week, I did well at being an ambassador and representing my family and my team out here.”
An NFL scout told me Taylor was “very good” in Mobile and helped his stock. An AFC director of scouting was quoted in the Senior Bowl’s official practice reports saying Taylor was one of three standout cornerbacks for the North. Taylor also will attend the NFL Scouting Combine next week.
Taylor will be sporting the blue Pro Combat Boise State helmet. He’s wearing No. 21 and playing predominantly left cornerback.
“Hopefully I make some plays out there for my team,” he said. “It’s the last time wearing that Bronco helmet — go out with a bang.”
I got to talk to cornerback recruit Jonathan Moxey after I wrote my recruiting story for Thursday’s paper.
Moxey, of Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is visiting campus this weekend. He committed last week.
Defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake, a former assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, recruited Moxey.
“I kind of liked coach Lake and I feel like going to Boise will give me a chance to go to the next level,” Moxey said. “Boise having two corners leave at the same time makes an open spot for me to go in and compete.”
Moxey was an under-the-radar recruit in Florida. Bowling Green and Middle Tennessee were the two other schools he was considering.
One of last year’s starters, Jerrell Gavins of Miami, was similarly under recruited.
“Now he’s going to the league,” Moxey said. “I bet a lot of Florida schools are saying, ‘We wish we would have had him.’ Hopefully the same thing can be said for me the next four or five years.”
I caught up with a couple Boise State football players this week — senior left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and junior nickel Corey Bell. I’ll have a story in the newspaper in the next few days, but here are a couple highlights from each.
— On how he wants to see the offense get better: “I want to run the ball better than we did last year. I know that’s one of the (points of emphasis) we’re going to work on.”
— On how to improve the run game: “Just play better assignment football. We can turn up the intensity and physicality. It’s a lot of things that can factor into running the ball better.”
— On leadership: “I’ve got to be more vocal, I believe. I was a captain in high school. I don’t know, this might be the same thing, maybe not. … Me, Spencer (Gerke), (Joe) Southwick and (Matt) Paradis will probably be the main leaders on the offensive side of the ball.”
— On his own play: “Finish more. That’s probably my biggest thing — I want to finish more. Finish blocks and be more dominant out there.”
— On Christmas break: “It’s a pretty long break, being away for a month. It was good for everybody to get that time to go home and kind of get their bodies refreshed.”
— He said several local players worked out together during the break at Boise State. “I didn’t do anything for the first week and a half. After that, I felt like I better do something.”
— On the team meeting Monday night: “There’s a little bit of a different feeling in that there are different people in the room, but the coaches do a good job of keeping that same attitude that our team has tried to keep over the years. … It’s the same type of stuff they push every time — we need to do well in school and then just how important this winter period is because this really sets the foundation for our spring ball and into summer lifting.”
— On winter conditioning: “These couple months are some of my favorite months. You get to get in there and get stronger and get bigger and build on what you had the year before. … You go into fall camp and hopefully it’s paid off and usually you can see a pretty big difference.”
— On his play: “I just want to become more consistent, spend a lot of time studying my position and hopefully putting in more time in the footwork area.”
I know many people are waiting to hear official word on the status of suspended Broncos Lee Hightower, Hayden Plinke and Jeff Worthy. I have asked repeatedly but still have not received any answers. The school also has not released a list of players who joined the team when school started this week. I expect to have answers on all of that by early next week.
A popular question I get this time of year: how many scholarships does Boise State have to give. I can’t come up with an exact number because I don’t know who has or will leave the team between now and August. But here’s my best guess:
I think 19 of last year’s seniors were on scholarship (coach Chris Petersen declined to say which walk-ons received scholarships last year).
I expect at least five guys won’t return for the 2013 season — a combination of the guys I mentioned above and the usual transfers/injuries/etc. that happen in the offseason.
That would open 24 scholarships. We have reported 26 players who are expected to join the program this year and there’s one commitment I have not been able to confirm. The Broncos usually grayshirt a handful of players, but it looks like they’re close to maxed out in this recruiting class. Also of note: linebacker commit Joe Martarano, a highly regarded baseball prospect, may not play football.
Keep in mind the Broncos get 82 scholarships this season because of the NCAA sanctions. That number returns to 85 in 2014. There are only 13 scholarship seniors on this year’s team, so next year’s class likely will be in the neighborhood of 20-22 (13 seniors, three added scholarships, attrition, grayshirts).
Here’s our latest recruiting list:
HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS
— LB Joe Martarano, 6-3, 215, Fruitland HS
— TE Alec Dhaenens, 6-4, 235, Fruitland HS
— QB Ryan Finley, 6-4, 180, Paradise Valley HS (Phoenix)
— OL Eli McCullough, 6-5, 255, Rocky Mountain HS
— C Andrew Tercek, 6-3, 285, East Central HS (San Antonio, Texas)
— LB Tanner Vallejo, 6-2, 220, Nevada Union HS (Grass Valley, Calif.)
— LB Durrant Miles, 6-4, 225, Bingham HS (South Jordan, Utah); expects to join in 2016 because of LDS mission
— N Mat Boesen, 6-4, 210, West HS (Torrance, Calif.)
— RB Aaron Baltazar, 5-11, 198, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
— DT Nick Terry, 6-4, 260, Pleasant Grove HS (Elk Grove, Calif.)
— WR Kendal Keys, 6-2, 185, Helix HS (La Mesa, Calif.)
— DE/OLB Gabe Perez, 6-4, 215, Valencia HS (Placentia, Calif.)
— TE Jake Roh, 6-3, 210, Chaparral HS (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
— CB Dionza Blue, 5-11, 180, Bishop Amat HS (Pasadena, Calif.)
— CB Jonathan Moxey, 5-10, 175, Dwyer HS (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)
— ATH Thomas Sperbeck, 6-1, 175, Jesuit HS (Carmichael, Calif.)
JUNIOR COLLEGE SIGNEES
— K Tyler Rausa, 5-10, 180, Riverside CC (Temecula, Calif.)
— RB Derrick Thomas, 6-1, 210, Butler CC (Dothan, Ala.)
— CB Cleshawn Page, 5-10, 190, Harbor College (Los Angeles)
— DT Deuce Mataele, 6-3, 285, Mt. San Antonio College (West Valley, Utah)
JUNIOR COLLEGE COMMITS
— DL Justin Taimatuia, 6-1, 280, Fort Scott CC (Waipahu, Hawaii)
— CB Mercy Maston, 6-1, 190, Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, Calif.)
— LB Chris Collins, 6-1, 208, Santa Monica HS (Santa Monica, Calif.)
— WR/S D.J. Dean, 6-1, 190, Eagle HS
— OL Archie Lewis, 6-4, 255, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) HS
— LB/FB Darren Lee, 6-2, 203, Lassen HS (Susanville, Calif.)
Former Boise State wide receiver Titus Young seems to be digging a bigger hole for himself with the Detroit Lions this week. Young has taken his case to Twitter — his account is @TitusDYoungSr — and on Friday tweeted, “Oh I’m not done, if y’all going to cut me let me go. I’m tired of the threats.”
Lions coach Jim Schwartz, speaking at the Senior Bowl earlier this week, said there are good and not-so-good ways for Young to communicate with his employers. “This is a pretty good example of a no-so-good way,” Schwartz said of the tweets.