Bronco Beat

Freshman receiver impresses at Boise State fan fest; linebacker out for the season

Outside of senior Cedrick Wilson, the Boise State wide receiver crew is short on known commodities, and full of possibilities.

Receivers coach Eric Kiesau said on Wednesday he expects to be able to go eight or nine deep, a larger number than usual, but with fewer than 30 catches among the non-Wilson players, it may be necessary.

One of those who should see action is true freshman Octavius Evans (6-foot-1, 195 pounds). During Saturday’s open practice, he flashed plenty of potential, making a knockdown block and catching a touchdown pass from senior Montell Cozart while covered well in a red-zone drill.

“He looked pretty good,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “We feel good about where he’s at.”

Harsin said Evans has helped his cause by spending a lot of time around veterans like Wilson and junior A.J. Richardson, who caught a touchdown pass from junior Brett Rypien. Evans and fellow Texan true freshman CT Thomas appear to be in line to play right away.

When he signed in February, Evans was listed at 6-3, and though he now is listed 2 inches shorter, he plays big. At Center High, he had 254 career receptions for 3,200 yards and 26 touchdowns.

“He’s going to be a freak,” Richardson said. “At a young age, he’s already competing with us. He’s a magnet, he sees the older guys putting in work and he does the exact same thing. If he keeps his head on straight, he’s going to have a nice future.”


Following Saturday’s practice, Harsin said senior linebacker Blake Whitlock is out for the year with a shoulder injury. He is expected to have surgery soon.

Whitlock joined the team as a walk-on last summer after playing at Saddleback (Calif.) College and earned a scholarship in fall camp. He played in all 13 games last season, starting five, and had 36 tackles (four for loss) and two sacks. He has a redshirt year available.

This fall camp, Whitlock had played strongside and weakside linebacker, mainly with the second unit. Harsin said that means players like juniors Joseph Inda and Joe Provenzano, redshirt freshman Bruno DeRose and true freshman Riley Whimpey will see more quality snaps.


There were a handful of players who were suited up and took part in some warmups but did not participate in the full-team drills.

Potential starters sophomore running back Alexander Mattison, senior offensive tackle Archie Lewis and sophomore guard John Molchon were among them. Harsin said he hopes Mattison can practice some Tuesday and be full-go Wednesday, while he expects the linemen to be ready next week.

Redshirt freshman defensive end Kayode Rufai was in a walking boot, but as a precautionary measure, Harsin said, expecting him to be practicing next week, too. Redshirt freshmen Jordan Happle (safety) and Curtis Weaver (STUD end) were not on hand Saturday because they had a stomach bug.

▪  Check out a photo gallery from the open practice and Fan Appreciation Day here.