UPDATE: TCU coach Gary Patterson won the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year Award and TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin won the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award on Wednesday. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin and tailback Jay Ajayi were finalists.
Former Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick will play in the new College Gridiron Showcase on Jan. 31 at Maverick Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The game doesn’t have a TV partner yet.
Hedrick will play for the Wranglers against the Desperados. Other Wranglers quarterbacks include Pete Thomas of Louisiana-Monroe (a Colorado State transfer) and Phillip Sims of Winston Salem State. The Desperados quarterbacks are Jerry Lovelocke of Prairie View A&M, Quinn Epperly of Princeton and Bryan Bennett of Southeastern Louisiana.
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“I was just thinking last night — a year ago this time, it was, ‘All right, I get one more season. This was a good ride. Move on, find a job,’ ” Hedrick said Wednesday morning. “Now it’s kind of like the way the year went, it’s a great opportunity to keep playing. I didn’t really have any expectations at all in terms of playing at the next level. Obviously I wanted to, but it wasn’t a huge deal for me. Now that it’s over, I have the bug to keep playing. Wherever that may be, I want to make the most of my opportunities.”
Hedrick led the nation in completion percentage in 2014 (70.8). He was ninth in pass efficiency (157.2) and 14th in total offense (306.3 yards per game). He got some attention as an NFL prospect at the Fiesta Bowl, where ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay raved about him and Boise State offensive coordinator Mike Sanford made a pitch for Hedrick as a pro.
“I really do believe he’s an NFL quarterback,” Sanford said on the University of Phoenix Stadium field. “People don’t really credit him like that. Even Todd McShay was out at practice the other day and he said he’s one of the most accurate, efficient quarterbacks he’s seen across the country this year. He’s going to make a name for himself and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure this wasn’t his last game. It ain’t close to being his last game in my opinion.”
Hedrick plans to do most of his preparation for the Broncos’ March 18 pro day with strength coach Jeff Pitman in Boise. However, Hedrick is going to Florida next week to spend five days working with quarterback coach Ken Mastrole, who specializes in preparing quarterbacks for all-star games and other workouts in front of NFL scouts.
Hedrick arrives in Texas on Jan. 26 for the all-star game practices. He knows his size (6-foot, 198 pounds) will be an issue with NFL scouts.
“There’s guys in the NFL who are 5-11, 6-foot — Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Kellen (Moore) has been in the NFL for a while,” Hedrick said. “There’s a lot of guys like that. In terms of what coach (Bryan) Harsin and coach Sanford worked with me on over the season — pocket presence, standing in there, finding windows — I think that will help me. I think I can make all the throws. The ability I have to run a little bit helps me. Initially people are going to shy away because I don’t pass the eye test because I’m not the biggest guy in the world.”
Hedrick is the only Bronco named to an all-star team so far. Tailback Jay Ajayi isn’t eligible because he’s a junior. Wide receiver Matt Miller still is recovering from a season-ending ankle injury.
Hedrick on the 2014 season:
“It’s weird. I drove home (a few days after the Fiesta Bowl). I had like an 8-hour drive to do a lot of thinking. I was thinking about the full season. I still can’t even believe it kind of. It’s just weird to me that this all happened. It kind of hit me a few days after the game that, ‘Wow, we actually did that.’ For the first time, I went back and watched the game, the ESPN recording. I was thinking, ‘What are we doing out there? Me and Thomas Sperbeck and Shane (Williams-Rhodes) — what the heck, we don’t belong out there.’ It’s just pretty cool looking back and looking at what we did. It’s exactly what we came here for. When we first got there, Kellen Moore and Doug Martin and Shea McClellin, they had won a Fiesta Bowl, and we looked up to those guys. And it was, I don’t know if we’ll ever get there.” I asked if he singles out himself, Sperbeck and Williams-Rhodes because of their slight frames. “I do,” he said. “You see us in street clothes and you’re like, ‘No way he plays Division I football.’ ”
Boise State’s Bryan Harsin was named the nation’s top first-year football coach Wednesday as part of the FWAA Freshman All-America team. Harsin led the Broncos to a 12-2 record, Fiesta Bowl and Mountain West championships and No. 16 ranking in his first season at his alma mater.
Harsin is scheduled to be in Houston on Wednesday night to attend the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year Award banquet. Harsin is one of five finalists, joining Jimbo Fisher of Florida State, Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss, Gary Patterson of TCU and Nick Saban of Alabama.
Former Boise State coach Chris Petersen won the award for the 2006 and 2009 seasons, the Broncos’ two previous Fiesta Bowl seasons.
Meanwhile, Ajayi is a finalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, which will be announced Wednesday in Tyler, Texas. Ajayi isn’t expected to attend because he is preparing for the NFL Draft. The award goes to the top offensive player with ties to Texas. Ajayi, of Plano, Texas, is a finalist alongside Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty and Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine.
The NCAA has finalized the team and individual statistical rankings for the 2014 season.
On the team side, Boise State finished in the top 10 in scoring (39.7 points per game, ninth), sacks (3.36 per game, seventh), tackles for loss (7.8 per game, seventh), defensive touchdowns (6, tied for second), completion percentage (68.7, third), interceptions (22, fifth) and takeaways (31, ninth).
Individually, Hedrick led the nation in completion percentage (70.8) and Ajayi tied for the lead in scoring (13.7 ppg). Other top-10 finishes: Ajayi fifth in all-purpose yards (168.4 per game), ninth in rushing (130.2 ypg) and second in rushing touchdowns (28), safety Darian Thompson tied for fourth in interceptions (.54 per game), cornerback Donte Deayon tied for seventh in interceptions (.5 per game), Hedrick ninth in pass efficiency (157.2) and seventh in yards per pass attempt (8.9), and linebacker Tanner Vallejo tied for 10th in fumble recoveries (three).
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