Bronco Beat

Boise State football linebacker Joe Martarano puts baseball on back burner

He has a tattoo of the Major League Baseball logo on his right calf, but Boise State junior linebacker Joe Martarano is all football these days.

Martarano played minor league baseball in the Chicago Cubs' system the last two summers, but said Tuesday he plans to focus solely on football this summer.

“No baseball, just want to be the best football player I can be, work out with the guys, be in meetings, all that,” Martarano said.

The Fruitland High graduate also will be leaned upon as a now-veteran presence in the linebacker group, and one in line for his biggest impact yet.

Martarano had four starts last season and was tied for fifth on the team with 53 tackles. He had five stops in the Poinsettia Bowl against Northern Illinois as part of a dominating defensive effort. He's often worked with the No. 1 defense this spring at middle linebacker.

“I just wanted to come out, pick up where I left off in the bowl game, not take any steps back,” Martarano said.

With only two true linebacker spots in the base defense (senior Tanner Vallejo has mostly worked with the nickels in the spring), there’s a lot of competition, especially with seniors Ben Weaver and Darren Lee, along with sophomore Leighton Vander Esch in the group.

“There’s talent everywhere,” Martarano said.

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Boise State’s spring game will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.

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