Look at us now...we're well on our way to kickoff in the Jawja Dome and the countdown is getting into the meat of the D-line. As I highlight a different roster spot for each remaining day until the opener, take a minute to marvel at Boise State's incredible defensive line. Minute over? Okay, let's keep going.
We've got 97 days until kickoff...so today we'll be taking a look at number 97 on the Bronco roster—Chase Baker.
#97, Chase Baker, Senior, DT
Weight: 296 lbs.
High School: Rocklin High School (CA)
How'd he get to The Blue™?
As a do-it-all athlete at Rocklin, Baker lettered in football, rugby, and track. He was named first-team all-league, second-team all-metro, defensive lineman of the year and all-state as an underclassman but didn't get to play his senior year due to a knee injury suffered while playing rugby overseas. Baker still ended up with 58 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries while playing at Rocklin, the alma mater of newest QB recruit Jimmy Laughrea. His only other scholarship offer that we know of was from Sacramento State, although the Broncos might have been lucky that his knee injury took him off the radar so they didn't have to fight too hard for his services.
The success of this nickname is entirely dependent on one of his D-line mates somehow gaining the moniker "the Candlestick Maker".
Old Spice pitchman Brian Urlacher
Recorded 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks in just 11 games in 2010. Recorded 37 tackles (4 for loss), two sacks, and two pass breakups over 14 games in 2009. Named to the All-WAC Academic Team in 2008.
Forced grayshirt due to knee rehab.
Baker represents the meat and potatoes of the interior Bronco D-line—a D-line that has grown in girth and talent of late. Baker had a fairly quiet freshman year in 2008, registering just 10 total tackles, but had a breakout year in 2009, pairing up with Billy Winn to shut down nearly every O-line they faced. 2010 was more of the same for Baker, who sat out two games due to injury, but still managed to double his number of sacks from the previous year. Baker is a physical tackle who plays assignment football and has really come into his own on the Bronco D-line, while learning to shed blocks effectively and occupy offensive lineman. Chase definitely isn't in any danger of losing his "1B" status in the D-line rotation alongside "1A" Billy Winn in 2011, and look for him to be good for at least 30 tackles as the senior interior D-line could be the best we'll see for a long time in Boise, Idaho. Hopefully, Chase and Billy will both don their professorial caps this year, and coach up the incoming D-line recruits. The talent pool is growing at Boise State, but wizened vets like Baker and Winn need to impart the "Bronco way" onto the youngsters to ensure the Broncos keep rolling when they've moved on.
Completely made up fact
As Chase's surname implies...he does indeed come from a long line of bakers. That line ended when Chase was born, however, as his 20 bearclaw, 15 maple bar, 30 eclair a day diet was simply unsustainable and forced the bakeries into bankruptcy.