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Countdown Schmountdowns: #67 & #66

The atomic clock actually says that we have just 66 days until the Ducks hit the blue turf (hard).

So, today we'll continue our countdown by briefly highlighting the Bronco players whose jersey numbers correspond with the number of days remaining till the opener. I'm sneaking in two features today since I epically slacked yesterday. Hopefully neither player feels slighted and please make sure to scroll down. I'll try to get back to one-a-day posts tomorrow.

And we're off..

#67 Jake Broyles, OL

It's always nice to sneak recruits right out from under Chris Ault's nose. The main reason for this simple pleasure has to be the Little General's now infamous comments in the 90s that the Broncos needed to "improve the quality of its players" or discontinue the rivalry. Well, the Broncos did improve the quality of their players and they've looted Chris Ault's backyard for a fair share (Chris Carr, Billy Winn, Bart Hendricks...). Mmmm Karma is delicious, no? Well, this year's recruiting border crossing must've been done under cover of night, because Henderson, Nevada's Jake Broyles is no small kid.

At 6'5" and 250 lbs., it's hard to imagine Jake Broyles escaping many looks, but that seems to be exactly what the lanky tackle did at Foothill High, only locking down one scholarship offer (albeit a very good one). Broyles, who wore the Clady-esque number 79 in high school, looks more like a basketball center than a dynamic tackle...he's got a thin frame, overall, that just begs some attention from Coach Socha. The big fella will certainly report packing a few more kilos, but the Broncos didn't run him down because of his frame alone...Broyles was one of the best tackles the state of Nevada had to offer last season, and we got him—chew on that, Chris Ault (put in your dentures first).

Broyles was named first team All-Sunrise League as a senior and was given the All-State tag by Maxpreps. He was named his team's MVP in his final season at Foothill racking up 55 pancake blocks, 3 sacks, and two blocked punts. He registered 40 pancake blocks as a junior, which garnered him 2nd team All-Conference honors and he graduated with a 4.4 GPA. Brains and brawn? Well done. Broyles will almost surely redshirt in 2009, but in 2010 will be thrown in with a young and talented O-line that has more size of late than Bronco Nation is accustomed. Enjoy your "year off", Jake—and eat up.


#66 Thomas Byrd, C

Forrest Whitaker lookalike Thomas Byrd, proves the old adage about the size of package that dynamite usually arrives in. T-Byrd is the prototypical Boise State center in the lineage of Jadon Dailey and Klayton Adams...small, compact, and one heck of a player. Byrd started every game for the Broncos last year as a redshirt freshman, and he was one of the only players that seemed cemented into the lineup all year. Overall, the Broncos allowed only 13 sacks last year (led the WAC) on the not-so-mobile Kellen Moore, and Thomas Byrd deserves his fair share of the credit.

Byrd was a 3-year football letterman at San Pablo, CA's McClymond High, where he started 2 years at center. Byrd was named first team All-East Bay as a senior and gathered All-League honors in the Oakland Athletic League (OAL) all 3 years with the Warriors. Byrd was named the team's offensive MVP after his senior campaign and was also tagged "Cream of the Crop" by local media. Byrd's best football may yet be ahead of him, however, as he was named to the 2009 Rimington Trophy (outstanding collegiate center) Watch List this Spring, and should gather pre-season All-WAC nods if the media knows what's good for them. Byrd is a great leader, a tenacious player, and an extremely smart center. Heck, he writes up offensive plays as a hobby and workshops them with coach Harsin. A center with off-the-charts football IQ snapping to a QB with off-the-charts football IQ will make for some offensive fireworks, of that I am sure. Byrd is a rare breed of player at his position. We're proud to have him.