BSU’s Lawrence decides to make jump to NFL

sports@idahostatesman.com © 2013 Idaho StatesmanDecember 28, 2013 

The Boise State football team’s best defensive player will leave a year early, he said Friday on Facebook.

Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence — the Mountain West leader in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (20.5) — spent two seasons with the Broncos after a stop at Butler Community College in Kansas.

Boise State’s early departures in recent years have experienced mixed results. Left tackle Ryan Clady was a first-round pick in 2008, but cornerback Orlando Scandrick slipped to the fifth round that year, and wide receiver Jeremy Childs went undrafted in 2009.

Lawrence rates as a second- to fourth-round pick, an NFL scout told the Idaho Statesman.

“For these last two years I have had the honor of being part of the Boise State family and have had an incredibly special group of teammates, coaches, trainers, and staff around me,” Lawrence said in his Facebook post. “While Coach (Chris Petersen’s) decision to take the Washington job had some influence on my decision, I felt it was in the best interests of my family and myself to pursue my lifelong dream to become an NFL player.”

Lawrence’s decision leaves Boise State with eight returning starters on defense for 2014, but just one on the defensive line. They have 14 returning starters overall.

LENO TO COMBINE; PARADIS TO PLAY IN BOWL

Left tackle Charles Leno Jr., who just finished his senior year, posted his NFL Scouting Combine invitation on Twitter and has accepted a spot in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Center Matt Paradis has accepted an invite to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which is Jan. 18 in Carson, Calif.

LOCAL RECRUIT WAVERS

Rocky Mountain High defensive back Khalil Oliver gave a verbal commitment to the Boise State football program in March, but has since re-opened his recruiting in the wake of Petersen’s departure.

Oliver said Friday he is now considering Boise State, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington. He has official visits planned at Oregon State on Jan. 17 and Oregon on Jan. 24.

“I made the decision to open it back up, just to make sure I was going to find the right place where I had a scholarship, because we hadn’t heard (from Boise State), if they were honoring it or not,” Oliver said.

“It was about two weeks until I heard something from the AD and then I heard from (new Boise State) coach (Bryan) Harsin shortly after that they were going to honor (my scholarship), but by then I was already talking to schools and getting interest from them and getting official visits set up.”

Oliver said he hopes to make a decision soon.

“I think if I decide on staying (at Boise State) it will be before I take my trips,” Oliver said. “I guess it all depends on what happens after the dead period.”

The recruiting dead period runs from Dec. 16 to Jan. 15. That means schools can’t conduct any in-person recruiting. Phone calls and written correspondence are allowed.

PRINCE, GREGORY WON’T RETURN

Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Robert Prince and linebackers coach Bob Gregory will not be part of Harsin’s staff, a source told the Idaho Statesman on Friday.

Harsin has hired Stanford assistant Mike Sanford — a former Boise State quarterback — as his offensive coordinator but it was possible he would retain Prince as a position coach.

Prince endured heavy fan criticism during his two-year run as the offensive coordinator. The Broncos scored 30.2 points per game last year, their lowest output since Chris Petersen joined the staff in 2001.

They improved to 37.5 points per game this year, which ranks 20th in the nation.

Prince also was the Broncos’ wide receivers coach in 2011 and from 2001 to 2003. He spent much of the time in between as a position coach in the NFL.

Gregory, who was the interim head coach for the Hawaii Bowl, refused to discuss his future during bowl prep or after the game. But he said leading up to the game that he had not discussed a job with Harsin and after the game spoke like a man who was leaving.

“Boise State should have a great year next year,” he said.

Gregory was a linebackers coach from 2010 to 2013 and the defensive coordinator in 2001.

The Price and Gregory exits leave just two holdovers from Petersen’s staff of 10 full-time assistants: Andy Avalos and Scott Huff.

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398,

Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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