LANSTON TANYI, DEFENSIVE END
Tanyi graduated from Appalachian State with one year of eligibility remaining, which allowed him to transfer to Colorado State, enroll in graduate school and play immediately. His promising career at Appalachian State was derailed by injuries, but he has been a force in the Mountain West. He ranks third in the nation among defensive linemen with 70 tackles.
He can get after the passer and track the ball down in the run game, Boise State quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith said. Hes a guy whos definitely drawn our attention.
Tanyi recorded 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks earlier this season against Hawaii. Including special teams, he played 114 snaps in that game. Coach Jim McElwain apologized to him in front of the team for the excessive workload.
He said, Coach, no problem. I would have gone more, McElwain said. The amazing thing is, when you look at it, his motor was going. He still didnt take a play off. ... It opened a lot of eyes for some people in this culture to say, You know what, there is no excuse.
DONNELL ALEXANDER, RUNNING BACK
Alexander, a redshirt freshman, has broken the 100-yard mark in each of the past two games. He brought an intriguing résumé to the Rams more than 7,000 rushing yards, 95 touchdowns and an 8.8-yards-per-carry average at three schools in the Kansas City area. And hes the son of late NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.
Alexander averages 5.7 yards per carry.
Where Im really proud with Donnell is he had the opportunity to maybe bow out with a broken hand, Colorado State coach Jim McElwain said. What he did is he said you know what, I can play with this, and he proved it last week. ... What hes done is hes really taken it seriously, especially in the protection part, and is starting to become a complete back.
CONNER SMITH, QUARTERBACK
Smith is the Rams third starting quarterback, ascending the depth chart because of injuries. He has completed a team-best 64 percent of his passes and won two of his three starts.
Conners a gifted guy. He can throw the ball. He can stretch the field with his arm, Colorado State coach Jim McElwain said. And yet, that is really probably the smallest part of being a great quarterback. Im really happy with how he has stepped in and some of the good things hes done. Hes really helped our production.