Boise State Football

Boise State football camp report: Fewer than 500 season tickets remain

Boise State has increased football season-ticket sales for the first time in three years with help from the highly anticipated season opener against Washington.

The school reported 21,194 sales through Wednesday – an increase of 55 from last season.

Fewer than 500 season tickets remain. The north end zone is sold out. Tickets are available for $255 in the south end zone and south grandstand corners.

Boise State announced earlier this year that only season-ticket holders and students would be able to get tickets to the Washington game from the school. Even if the season tickets don’t sell out, leftover tickets won’t be available to the general public.

Individual-game tickets for the other five home games will go on sale later this month.

Boise State had absorbed two straight years of season-ticket losses – 7 percent in 2013 and 5.7 percent in 2014.

Player spotlight

Boise State senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes has played bigger through the first week of fall camp – literally and figuratively.

The Broncos’ small but stout playmaker has bulked up to 5-foot-6 and 173 pounds. He was listed at 158 pounds last year.

Along the way, he earned strength coach Jeff Pitman’s nomination as one of college football’s athletic freaks with a 500-pound squat, 310-pound bench and 4.46-second 40-yard dash.

“These first five practices have been a little different running around at 175 instead of running around at 155,” Williams-Rhodes said Tuesday. “When I get against a bigger defender like (junior safety Chanceller James), the weight has helped me a lot.”

His offseason work landed him the No. 21 “freak” ranking from Bruce Feldman of FoxSports.com and No. 14 ranking on a similar list produced by NFL.com.

Williams-Rhodes also has tried to expand his presence on the field through a greater catch radius, a challenge delivered by coach Bryan Harsin going into spring ball.

“If you’re able to have a wide catch radius, you can run different routes and the quarterbacks can have a little more room for error because you can go get the ball,” Williams-Rhodes said.

He has evolved from a screens and sweeps weapon early in his career to a well-rounded wide receiver as he enters his senior year. He has made 170 catches in his career, 74 short of Matt Miller’s school record.

“Shane has grown into playing the position of wideout,” wide receivers coach Junior Adams said. “... Shane, being a smaller-statured guy, is starting to play bigger than his stature right now.”

Still, Williams-Rhodes says, “I’m not where I need to be yet.”

“After my sophomore year, after catching all those bubbles,” he said, referring to the quick screen passes the Broncos favored in 2013, “I said I wanted to become a more complete receiver. And I feel like last year we did that. And this year, I just want to complete the task.”

Broncos in the NFL: LB Shea McClellin

Former Boise State star Shea McClellin seems to fit in with a new position and a new coaching staff in his fourth season with the Chicago Bears.

McClellin, who played defensive end and outside linebacker at Boise State, has moved to middle linebacker this season. He was drafted in the first round in 2012 as a defensive end and moved to linebacker in 2014.

He has been the first-team middle linebacker in training camp with the Bears this year under new coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

“It’s a fresh start,” McClellin told the Chicago Tribune. “They have nothing invested in me.”

The new Bears staff initially asked McClellin where he would like to play. He suggested outside linebacker.

A week later, the Tribune reports, coaches told him he would play at middle linebacker.

The Bears like McClellin in the middle because of his smarts and ability to take charge of the defense, something he hasn’t done before.

“I think he’s found a home in there and it’s going to be a growing process,” Fangio told the Tribune. “It’s a position that relies a lot on experience, instincts, play recognition, and I think he’s getting better and better at that.”

This is a big year for McClellin because the Bears declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. He has made 80 tackles and 7.5 sacks in 40 career games, including 20 starts.

Some people believed he played in recent years because then-General Manager Phil Emery selected him in the first round.

“People could say that,” McClellin told the newspaper. “I still think I earned (playing time).”

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