Broncos' Ajayi loses weight, ready to carry the load

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.com © 2013 Idaho StatesmanJuly 12, 2013 

  • BRONCOS TRADE FOOTBALL CLEATS FOR SOFTBALL BATS

    The Bronco Football Summer Classic is Saturday at Memorial Stadium. A home run derby begins at 6 p.m., and the offense vs. defense six-inning charity game benefitting The First Tee of Idaho begins at 6:45 p.m.

    A postgame autograph session will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

    Tickets range from $3 (children 12 and under) to $12 (third base/home plate box seats); available for purchase at boisehawks.com or at the stadium box office Saturday.

Jay Ajayi turned heads with his 6.7 yards per carry last season as a redshirt freshman for the Boise State football team.

He did it knowing he wasn't in ideal shape.

With a full season of action under his belt, Ajayi has a taste of what to expect in 2013, and he'll likely get plenty of chances to prove he can be the No. 1 running back.

"I was just blessed to play, I felt like I did well, but I wasn't myself - I was overweight, and I was playing in a knee brace,'' said Ajayi, who tore his ACL while redshirting in the fall of 2011. "I don't think I was 100 percent, so I'm excited to see what can happen when I'm fully there.''

Ajayi and more than three dozen other teammates will take part in the sixth annual Bronco Football Summer Classic charity softball game Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Ajayi (6-foot, 215 pounds) ran for 548 yards on 82 carries last season, scoring four touchdowns, with his per-carry average the best in school history among rushers with at least 75 attempts. On his second career carry, Ajayi broke a 71-yard run at New Mexico, finishing with 118 yards on six carries in the second quarter alone against the Lobos.

"I don't think we knew what we had until that game,'' quarterback Joe Southwick said. "He had that run and I was like 'Wow.' He's got a lot of confidence now, and he's a leader as a young guy, which is good to see. I'm expecting big things from him.''

While hopes are high for Ajayi, the Plano, Texas, native is more than happy to have them placed in front of him as the next in a long line of 1,000-yard Boise State running backs.

"Every running back comes in wanting to be that. I'm excited for what the future holds. I'm blessed to have the opportunity - if I'm the feature back, I'm going to appreciate it, because I know a lot of college football players want it, but not many get it,'' Ajayi said.

Ajayi said he played the 2012 season at 226 pounds, and expects to play between 210 and 215 pounds as a sophomore. He's hoping that means more quickness while maintaining better health, along with the ability to run between the tackles.

"I'll still be bigger than your average back,'' Ajayi said. "It'll be better on my knee, and hopefully I'll be a little faster out there.''

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