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Countdown Schmountdown: #72

The atomic clock actually says that we have just 72 days until the Ducks hit the blue turf (hard).

So, today we'll continue our countdown by briefly highlighting the Bronco player with the jersey number that corresponds with the number of days remaining till the opener.Sorry there isn't a more clear and concise way to explain that.

And we're off

#72 Matt Slater, OT

Matt Slater (no relation to A.C.) came a long way to get here. The 6'5" 280 lb. OT from St. Paul, Minnesota was a standout offensive tackle and defensive end at Cretin-Derham Hall High School who received a lot of regional interest and held an early scholarship offer from the Hoosiers. By the time LOI day rolled around, however, in February of 2006, Indiana had failed to produce their scholarship for the talented big man and his options looked limited. This is where Boise State's much praised and maligned marketing "gimmick" played a role in deciding Slater's fate. The blue turf of Boise State stuck in his mind as he and coach Mike Scanlan looked for a place to take his considerable skills. A highlight tape was sent to the Bronco head-men and a walk-on invite was extended. Since then, Slater has steadily improved, impressed, and climbed the Bronco depth chart as an OT. The Hoosiers loss was the Broncos gain. Slater had pulled some slick marketing of his own.

Slater was an All-State, All-Conference, and All-Metro performer for the CDH Raiders and had a standout 4-year lacrosse career as well. With a frame to support his weight and the athleticism of a two-sport crossover athlete, Slater has the tools to become an impact player on the Bronco O-line. His high school coach gushed about his upside back in '06 "He’s 6-5, but played at about 250 for us, and he’s got linebacker/fullback feet. But he’s going to be able to carry 280 or 300 pounds." Well, coach wasn't lying about his weight gain, and if he's maintained his foot speed in the last 3 years, we could have one of our 2009 tackles locked down. Slater backed up Andrew Woodruff for most of last season and saw action in all 13 games. He should be considered one of the frontrunners at the position and Fall ball will foretell his ultimate place on the young squad. One thing is certain, though—wherever the Junior tackle lands in the 2009 offense, his long journey has been a successful one.