This time last year, Akilian Butler was showing playmaking abilities and speed that Boise State coaches couldn’t keep under wraps for long.
The 5-foot-10, 183-pound Dallas native was one of four true freshmen to play last season, along with quarterback Brett Rypien, defensive end Durrant Miles and cornerback Tyler Horton.
Though his touches were minimal, Butler showed potential, scoring a 10-yard touchdown on an end-around Oct. 3 against Hawaii. He had one catch in that game and one the next week against Colorado State.
“It was unreal,” Butler said of the touchdown. “... I don’t even remember it.”
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Butler is part of a group of about a half-dozen receivers who have spent a year or more with the Broncos, looking to fill the void left by Shane Williams-Rhodes’ graduation. He, fellow sophomores A.J. Richardson and Sean Modster, plus junior Austin Cottrell, combined for 16 receptions last season.
“We’re all just competing, pushing to get each other better, trying to get more involved in the system, get more familiar with it so we can move around to different spots,” Butler said.
Said receivers coach Junior Adams: “The next step for Akilian is to really get the system under his belt. Playing him at a young age as a true freshman, we saw that he has the skillset to play.”
Boise State picked up a commitment from DB Marques Evans (Newbury Park, Calif.) on Monday, a day after tweeting he received an offer “from one of my dream schools as a kid.” Evans (6-1, 180) also had offers from Colorado State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming, according to Rivals.com. ... Rypien appeared on a fourth watchlist Monday when he was one of 30 quarterbacks named to the Manning Award watchlist.
The award is given to the nation’s top quarterback, selected by a national media panel, along with Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. Ten finalists will be chosen Nov. 30, and the winner announced Jan. 11, 2017.
Rypien, the first-team All-Mountain West quarterback as a true freshman last season, also is on the watchlists for the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.
BOISE STATE 2017 VERBAL COMMITMENTS
- OT Mike Young, 6-6, 335, Queen Creek (Ariz.) HS
- QB Chase Cord, 6-3, 185, Sunrise Mountain High (Peoria, Ariz.)
- S Mike Young, 6-0, 205, Dodge City CC (Raytown, Mo.)
- LB Breydon Boyd, 6-4, 215, Katy (Texas) HS
- OL Isiah Moore, 6-5, 315, Mesa CC (Tiffin, Ohio)
- DE Aisa Kelemete, 6-4, 225, Highland HS
- DL Zeke Birch, 6-5, 270, Madison HS
- DB Marques Evans, 6-1, 180, Newbury Park (Calif.) HS