In March, the Boise State football team lost a Treasure Valley native to professional baseball. On Tuesday, coach Bryan Harsin announced the Broncos picked up a local player who is leaving baseball behind.
Mason Smith, a Rocky Mountain High graduate who has spent the last four seasons playing minor league baseball, will join the Broncos as a walk-on, Harsin said. Linebacker Joe Martarano, a Fruitland grad, left the team in March to play in the Chicago Cubs system. Smith was a fourth-round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2013.
“His name has been brought up before, obviously knew about him, he was coming to school here and decided he wants to play football,” Harsin said.
In four minor league seasons, Smith hit .201 in 167 games. Last summer, he played nine games at Double-A San Antonio, getting two hits in 24 at-bats. As a high school senior in 2012, Smith was a second-team All-5A SIC linebacker for the Grizzlies.
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“Here’s a guy who is an athlete who ... still wants to compete and wants to compete in football,” Harsin said. “He looks great, like he’s ready to go. Don’t know if he’s football-ready at all, that’s going to take time, but here’s an opportunity. He’s going to be going to school here, being around him, he’s got the type of character you’re looking for.”
Harsin said a handful of newcomers are on campus already: quarterback Montell Cozart, linebacker Joseph Inda, offensive lineman Isiah Moore, Smith and walk-on linebacker John Mackesy. Mackesy had 75 tackles and 3.5 sacks last season as a sophomore at Chaffey (Calif.) College.