Teams: Boise State vs Utah
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Telecast: Wednesday December 22, 8:00 PM, ESPN
This was supposed to be the year for Boise State. Starting the season on the road against Virginia Tech, the Broncos beat the Hokies on the big stage, in a hostile environment, on national television. Nearly everyone who wants to see the demise of the shady BCS system was rooting for Boise State to advance into the BCS Championship game and stump the good ole’ boys in the Automatic Qualifier conferences. Then, like a loose hair in your pie, a disheartening overtime loss to Nevada spoiled the whole thing. And guess what happened next? The BCS collusion lovers lit a big fat cigar, opened a cheap bottle of elitist wine, and rejoiced in their own pompous arrogance to celebrate the fall of the little guy.
Boise State Top Senior Prospects
Nevertheless, Boise State has proved themselves to be a worthy title contender. Perhaps some valid proof comes in the fact they have at least a half dozen senior 2011 NFL draft prospects. WR Titus Young could be the most coveted because of his speed and big play ability. Young is smallish, but could have a DeSean Jackson type of impact if he can beat press coverage. Another WR, Austin Pettis, is a bigger possession receiver. Not great speed but has some of the best hands in the nation. He is Boise’s career leader in receptions and touchdowns. DE Ryan Winterswyk was slowed in 2010 due to knee surgery. The former walk-on is relentless and productive with 21.5 career sacks. He was voted All-WAC for three straight years. K Kyle Brotzman will unfortunately be remembered for missing two FG’s which contributed to Boise’s loss to Nevada. Despite some inconsistency, he has a strong leg, is the WAC career scoring leader, and also doubled as a punter. CB Brandyn Thompson (13 career INT’s) and SS Jaron Johnson (Boise’s leading tackler) are on the small side, but make plays with speed and good range.
- Titus Young – WR, No.1 (5-11, 170)
- Austin Pettis – WR, N. 2 (6-3, 201)
- Ryan Winterswyk – DE, No. 98 (6-4, 263)
- Kyle Brotzman – K, No. 35 (5-10, 201)
- Brandyn Thompson – CB, No.13 (5-10, 180)
- Jaron Johnson – SS, No. 23 (5-11, 194)
- Jeremy Avery – HB, No. 27 (5-9, 173)
- Tommy Gallarda – TE, No. 85 (6-5, 249)
- Derrell Acrey – ILB, No. 52 (6-1, 235)
- Winston Venable – OLB, No. 17 (5-11, 223)
Utah Top Senior Prospects
Utah finished out their last season in the Mountain West with a respectable 10-2 record. They should be a fine addition to the Pac 10 conference, soon to be known as the Pac 12. The Utes beat three solid opponents in 2010 including Pittsburgh, Air Force and San Diego State. However, they were trounced by TCU and Notre Dame in back-to-back weeks.
There are no high level NFL prospects on this year’s Utah senior squad. C Zane Taylor tops the list as a three time All-Mountain West selection. He needs to add strength, but is a fine athlete who can pull and trap. WR Shaky Smithson is a versatile play-maker who will earn his keep as a kick returner if he makes an NFL roster. He returned 2 punts for touchdowns in 2010. K Joe Phillips is an All-MWC selection who has converted 32 of 36 FG attempts in his two years at Utah.
- Zane Taylor – C, No. 77 (6-2, 309)
- Shaky Smithson – WR/KR, No. 1 (5-11, 202)
- Joe Phillips – K, No. 39 (5-11, 192)
Other Utah Senior Prospects
- Matt Asiata – HB, No. 4 (5-11, 220)
- Eddie Wide – HB, No. 36 (5-10, 195)
- Caleb Schlauderaff – OG, No. 72 (6-4, 302)
- Christian Cox – DE, No. 94 (6-1, 250)