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OBNUG’s 2016 Boise State senior salute

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Colorado State v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Two more wins (one of which hopefully comes this evening) and this Boise State senior class will have won 40 games. Forty...and that ain't even "great" by Boise State fan (admittedly ludicrous) standards. Nonetheless, to average double-digit win totals over a four year period is not normal—it's exceptional, and the OBNUG staff has divvied up the Bronco senior class to honor their incredible accomplishments on and off the field. We aren't gonna cry (well, I can't promise anything), but we ARE gonna miss these guys a whole lot. Salute.

Michael

Tyler Rausa, K

Farewell, kicking Bronco

Tyler Rausa took over kicking duties last year and had an okay year. And by 'okay', I mean he set a Mountain West record with 134 points and a Boise State record with 25 field goals made. This year the kicking game hasn't been used as often, but even so, Rausa has converted a decent 5-8, and has not missed an extra point. Also relevant: After famously missing on some celebratory high fives early in his career, Rausa has yet to be jilted, high 5-wise, this season. Best of luck in your future, Mr. Rausa!

Raymond Ford, CB

Farewell, Everybody-Loves-Raymond-Bronco

Raymond Ford--no relation to Henry (THAT WE KNOW OF)--came in as a junior college transfer, hailing from Riverside Community College. He played in 12 games last year, and has been heavily involved in the rotation this year as well--even starting a few games. He had 2 picks last year, as a backup, and another one this year. He's been a solid contributor to the defense that has made his presence felt in his abbreviated time here. Best of luck to you, Mr. Ford!

Chanceller James, DB

Farewell, rangy Bronco

Chanceller James has unfortunately had to battle some injuries in his tenure at Boise State, missing part of one season and all of another. But, when he wasn't getting battered by the injury demon, he was a great contributor--as was first evidenced by his being named scout team defensive player of the year on special teams, during his freshman year. I'm on record somewhere saying that I thought Chanceller James would ultimately supplant Darian Thompson and be the better player. Obviously, I didn't exactly nail that prediction, and Chanceller has only been the starter this year. But in his final season (and finally healthy) James has established himself as a more than capable safety. Best of luck to you, Mr James.

Mario Yakoo, OL

Farewell, NES Classic Bronco

Mario Yakoo was a big get, both literally and figuratively when he arrived at Boise State. Luigi, however, did up committing to UCLA and missed out on the opportunity for a career like Mario has had...probably mostly because Luigi doesn't exist though. We only got Mario, but he came in so large that it was like having gotten two players. The Yakoo-za has been cutting down defensive players since his freshman year and has been starting in that role since he was a sophomore. He was also named to the All-Mountain West Academic Team 3 times. Coach Huff didn't quite get emotional talking about his departing senior offensive linemen on Tuesday but I'm sure it wasn't too far around the corner, had he continued talking about them. Of Yakoo, Huff said that Mario might be the smartest player he had ever coached, and clearly has a high level of respect for him as a player and a person. I suspect that Mario's playing career will only be over after this year if he wants it to be. He has the smarts, size, and durability to be successful at the next level. In the meantime, best of luck Mario!

Will Adams, OL

Farewell, SEC Bronco

Will Adams came to Boise State as a graduate transfer from Auburn. As I understand it, the pathway to his becoming a Bronco was greased by former Bronco defensive end, Beau Martin. He was a strength coach at Auburn at the time and apparently sold Will on the idea, because he came and played and has been a solid contributor along the Boise State offensive line--albeit, not always as a starter. I feel like as fans we didn't get the chance to know Adams as well, but it's been clear to me through conversations with teammates and coaches that he's been a beloved and valuable addition to this team, and especially in the O-line room. Best of luck to you, Mr. Adams!

Drew

Tanner Vallejo, LB

Farewell, hard-hitting Bronco

Man, I'm going to miss Tanner Vallejo. You know who isn't? Everyone that had to play against him. Perhaps no Bronco player has struck more fear in the hearts of our opponents than Vallejo. Just ask Mike Leach:

You can teach technique, but it's hard to teach toughness.

Jonathan Moxey, CB

Farewell, swaggerin' Bronco

Moxey's game will be missed as much as his personality. At times, his confidence and swagger was to his own detriment...but quarterbacks and wide receivers alike have seen Moxey's finger wag over the last 4 years, and it usually meant they just couldn't get one past the Florida-grown CB.

Darren Lee, LB

Farewell, oldest Bronco

Bronco fans had to wait a little while to first get Lee on The Blue after he took a 2-year church mission...then had to wait a bit longer for him to star on defense, but he made his presence known very quickly on special-teams—where he took pride in decleating kick returners and blockers alike. His strip-six against Oregon State this year was certainly a highlight of his career, but him darn-near killing guys on special teams is his legacy, if you ask me. He especially liked to blow up BYU kick returners, and therefore will hold a special place in my heart.

Thomas Sperbeck, WR

Farewell, greatest-of-all-time Bronco

Think about that for a second. Thomas Sperbeck was recruited as a safety after playing that position and a little QB a Jesuit High School in California. His humble journey at WR started his true freshman year, when he promptly broke his collarbone. As a sophomore, he got his big shot after Matt Miller got injured and then Sperbeck never looked back. He'll enter his final regular season home game already the career receiving yards leader at Boise State and also will hold the distinction of Bronco with the most 100-yard receiving games. Looking back at the incredible wide receivers the Broncos have had over the years...it's hard to believe the unassuming Sperbeck will stand tallest, but I can't think of a guy I'd rather own these records than him.

Devan Demas, RB

Farewell, speedy Bronco

Demas is a heckuva running back, but one that always found himself playing second-fiddle to some all-time greats. Nonetheless, Demas always did his job with a smile on his face and never complained about being the bridesmaid. He may not have ever received the lion's share of the carries...but man alive, if there was ever a guy to get in the open field—Demas was it.

Sean Wale, P

Farewell punting Bronco

Sean Wale has been a bit of an unsung hero for the 9-1 Broncos as his punts have consistently hung in the atmosphere long enough for our special teams to shut down any attempt at a return. And his prowess hasn't just manifested this year—he's had a solid career on The Blue but let's be honest...his 29-yard fake against San José State was what you're going to remember, and I think Wale would be totes cool with that.

Elliot Hoyte, DL

Farewell British Bronco

Not many better stories than Elliot Hoyte, who met former Bronco stalwart Chase Baker in England on a world rugby tour and then was convinced by the Bronco DT to attend a Boise State camp and try his luck. Luck was on Hoyte's side and he earned a scholarship to Boise State and he's been contributing ever since. A solid player and a solid interview—Hoyte has been fun to watch over the last few seasons and keeps the hopes of a fertile British recruiting pipeline alive. Cheers, mate.

Taylor Pope, WR

Farewell hard-working Bronco

College isn't easy. This isn't an adage, it's just a fact...a fact that's even truer for student-athletes, who have all sorts of other obligations besides just studying. The going only gets tougher for walk-ons—who not only take on this enormous workload, but pay to do it. The ones that make it to the end have done so in the face of enormous adversity. Most wash out early if they don't get a scholarship. Not so in the case of Taylor Pope, who stuck with the Broncos through thick and thin despite not earning a scholarship. Finally, before this—his senior season—Pope was awarded his coveted scholarship...but the only thing it changed was his financial obligations...his teammates had accepted him as a full member of their exclusive club long ago.

Ben Weaver, LB

Farewell gritty Bronco

Man...we have to lose Ben Weaver AND Tanner Vallejo at the same time? What kind of cruelty is that? Weaver made his presence known as a freshman at Boise State and kept making plays game after game, year after year. The Weaver/Vallejo duo has already racked up 585 tackles between them—308 of which belong to Weaver and are sure to chip in more than their fair share tonight on senior night. Someone will always be getting tackles, but not everyone can provide the kind of calm leadership that Weaver has and that will leave just as big a legacy as the big hits and key stops.

Kellen Buhr, OL

Farewell little-known Bronco

Buhr, like Taylor Pope, had to wait a while for his scholar-ship to come in...but when it did in August, it validated all the hard work and dedication that the local product had put in. A Capital High (Boise) grad, Buhr had the unenviable task of juggling coursework with the rigors of football and had nothing to show for it but the blue and orange jersey on his back. Despite that difficult path I described above, Buhr still managed to excel in the classroom and was a 2x MWC All-Academic team member and a 3x recipient of the Mountain West Scholar Athlete Award. I couldn't pull consistently good grades in college and my only side obligations were to Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64.

Casey

Sam McCaskill, DL

Farewell, defensive stalwart Bronco.

Sam did just about everything on the D-line for us, much like Tyler Horn in previous years. Being able to jump inside and slide outside is not an easy task, requiring A LOT of football know-how and on-the-fly problem solving. Sam seemed to do it all with ease. He’ll end his career as a Bronco with 90+ tackles, 17+ tackles for loss and 9+ sacks. He’s a blue collar guy that we will surely miss.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Boise State vs Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chaz Anderson, WR

Farewell, deep threat Bronco.

While many fans might say Chaz had butterfingers, what receiver hasn’t dropped a ball or two? Switching from DB to WR isn’t an easy one. While they may share some similar fundamentals, it takes a concerted effort and training to make the transition, and Chaz has been a solid deep threat for us throughout his career. He’ll finish his career with 88+ receptions for nearly 1400 yards and 5< touchdowns, depending on what happens in the next few games.

Steven Baggett, OL

Farewell pass-catching lineman Bronco.

While he didn’t make it a habit, Steven does have the distinct recognition of catching a pass in a game. That isn’t something many lineman can say. He has been part of a solid O-line that has produced one of the top offensive attacks in the nation and has helped keep our quarterbacks cleaner than most. On top of that, the Broncos have been creating some monsters at RB due in part to stellar O-line play.

Travis Averill, OL

Farewell OG prodigy Bronco.

Praised this week by Coach Huff as “arguably our best guard we’ve had here in a long time.” Not sure anyone can disagree with the production our RBs have had and the protection our quarterbacks have had. BSU has consistently been a top-scoring offense, not just from the weapons we have at the skill positions, but the consistent effort from offensive lineman like Travis.