Boise State Football

Need an NFL team to root for? There are 38 players with Idaho ties on rosters right now

Last season, Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi became the fourth player in NFL history to post three games in the same season with 200 or more rushing yards (Tiki Barber, Earl Campbell, O.J. Simpson). He also made his first Pro Bowl roster.
Last season, Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi became the fourth player in NFL history to post three games in the same season with 200 or more rushing yards (Tiki Barber, Earl Campbell, O.J. Simpson). He also made his first Pro Bowl roster. The Associated Press

In the cutthroat world of the NFL, tomorrow is never promised.

NFL teams have until Sept. 2 to cut their rosters to 53 players. That gives the 38 players with Idaho ties currently in training camp more than a month to make an impression in the league.

Twenty-three of the league’s 32 teams boast at least one player with an Idaho connection.

Preseason games begin Aug. 3 with the Hall of Fame Game (6 p.m., NBC) between Arizona and Dallas in Canton, Ohio. Those two teams have a combined seven players with Idaho ties between them.

Here are those 38 players (plus five free agents):


▪ RB, Jay Ajayi, No. 23 Miami Dolphins, was the league’s fourth-leading rusher in 2016 with 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns. He suffered a possible concussion in Miami on Sunday

▪ C, Travis Averill, No. 61 Atlanta Falcons, started 41 games at Boise State and was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent

▪ LB, Kamalei Correa, No. 51 Baltimore Ravens, played in nine games, including one start, and recorded four total tackles in his first NFL season

▪ DL, Tyrone Crawford, No. 98 Dallas Cowboys, started all 14 regular-season games he played — missing two with shoulder and hamstring injuries — and tallied 21 tackles and 4.5 sacks

▪ DB, Donte Deayon, No. 38 New York Giants, was undrafted but spent last season on the Giants’ practice squad and played in four preseason games

▪ S, Lee Hightower, No. 39 Indianapolis Colts, signed by the Colts to a reserve/future contract on Jan. 12, 2017, after spending part of the 2016 season on the practice squad

▪ S, George Iloka, No. 43 Cincinnati Bengals, logged 74 tackles and three interceptions last season and is entering sixth NFL season. He was taken off the field after a non-contact injury that left him grabbing his right knee Monday. He was able to walk to the cart and had an MRI done. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, no ligament damage was found, though the sprain will keep him out for three to four weeks

▪ S, Chanceller James, No. 43 San Francisco 49ers, signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in May after a minicamp tryout

▪ DE, DeMarcus Lawrence, No. 90 Dallas Cowboys, played in nine games (three starts), missing the first four due to a league-mandated suspension and the final three with a back injury

▪ OL, Charles Leno Jr., No. 72 Chicago Bears, beginning his fourth year in the league after starting all 16 games for the Bears last season

▪ RB, Doug Martin, No. 22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, totaled 144 carries for 421 yards and three touchdowns with eight starts in 2016

▪ DE, Sam McCaskill, No. 66 Minnesota Vikings, led Boise State with 14 tackles for loss as a senior and signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent

▪ LB, Shea McClellin (Marsing High), No. 58 New England Patriots, played in 14 regular-season games with four starts and posted 39 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery that he returned for a team-record 69 yards

▪ RB, Jeremy McNichols, No. 33 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was selected in the 2017 draft with the 162nd overall pick in the fifth round by the Bucs

▪ QB, Kellen Moore, No. 17 Dallas Cowboys, missed the 2016 season with an ankle injury suffered in training camp, but returns in 2017 looking to retake his role as the club’s backup QB. Third-string QB Zak Dysert was injured Wednesday

▪ CB, Jonathan Moxey, No. 41 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the rookie was picked up by the Bucs as an undrafted free agent

▪ G/T, Rees Odhiambo, No. 70 Seattle Seahawks, was inactive for all but one of the Seahawks’ first 10 games but made an appearance in the final eight games of the season

▪ C, Matt Paradis (Council High), No. 61 Denver Broncos, entering his third season and has started all 32 regular-season games and three postseason contests

▪ CB, Orlando Scandrick, No. 32 Dallas Cowboys, after returning from ACL surgery, he started 10 of the 12 games he played and the divisional playoff game

▪ DB, Jamar Taylor, No. 21 Cleveland Browns, tied for the team lead in interceptions last season with three

Boise State Bronco football player Darian Thompson is one of the top defensive players in the NFL Draft starting next Thursday.

▪ FS, Darian Thompson, No. 27 New York Giants, played in two games as a rookie, registering seven tackles

▪ LB, Tanner Vallejo, No. 40 Buffalo Bills, was the 195th overall pick by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2017 draft

▪ DE, Billy Winn, No. 97 Denver Broncos, played in 16 games, including two starts, recording 19 tackles and one fumble recovery

Free agents: OT Ryan Clady signed a 1-year, $6 million contract with the Jets last season. In February, the Jets declined his $10 million option, making him an unrestricted free agent; SS Jeron Johnson played in four games with the Seahawks in 2016; CB Kyle Wilson spent the 2016 season on injured reserve with the Saints; WR, Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State’s all-time receiving yardage leader with 3,601 yards, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on July 30.


▪ OT, Jesse Davis, No. 77 Miami Dolphins, played in three preseason games last season before being cut

▪ CB, Aaron Grymes, No. 38 Philadelphia Eagles, the Grey Cup champion and CFL All-Star in 2015 joined the Eagles’ 53-man roster last season in Week 10

▪ G, Mike Iupati, No. 76 Arizona Cardinals, has started 28 regular-season games and both playoff contests in his first two seasons with Arizona

▪ DT, Tueni Lupeamanu, No. 67 Jacksonville Jaguars, the rookie signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent

▪ DE, Benson Mayowa, No. 93 Dallas Cowboys, started a career-high six games and led the team with a career-best six sacks

▪ RB, Elijhaa Penny, No. 35 Arizona Cardinals, the undrafted free agent spent the 2016 season on the Cardinals’ practice squad

▪ P, Austin Rehkow, No. 3 Buffalo Bills, the rookie signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent

▪ ILB, Korey Toomer, No. 56 Los Angeles Chargers, started eight games last season with 75 tackles, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery

Free agent: S Shiloh Keo was released by the New Orleans Saints on May 15


▪ TE, Josh Hill (Blackfoot High), No. 89 New Orleans Saints, started eight games in 2016 with 15 receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown

▪ C, Evan Smith, No. 62 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, played in 12 games, including two starts, for the Bucs in 2016


▪ QB, Taysom Hill (Highland High), No. 8 Green Bay Packers, the undrafted free agent signed with the Packers in May after passing for 6,929 yards, rushing for 2,815 yards and contributing 75 total TDs at BYU

▪ OT, Josh James (Coeur d’Alene High), No. 66 Kansas City Chiefs, signed a reserve/future contract with the Chiefs in January. He battled a hamstring injury prior to the beginning of the 2016 season and was released by Green Bay at the end of August

▪ WR, Colby Pearson (Blackfoot High), No. 1 Green Bay Packers, the rookie signed with the Packers on June 1, 2017, as an undrafted free agent out of BYU

▪ G, Hugh Thornton (Mountain View High), played in 37 games with 32 starts for the Indianapolis Colts from 2013 through 2015. Announced his retirement in May


▪ QB, Brock Osweiler, No. 17 Cleveland Browns, born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he passed for 2,957 yards and 15 TDs in 14 starts for the Texans last season

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts

Tampa Bay releases former BSU great Sperbeck

One of Boise State’s many ties to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was cut Sunday.

Just three days into training camp, former Boise State wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck was released. Sperbeck was an undrafted free agent, signed by Tampa Bay on April 29. The team still has 11 receivers on the roster.

Sperbeck finished his Boise State career as the Broncos’ all-time receiving yardage leader with 3,601 yards, 538 more than anyone else in school history. He had 80 receptions for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior.