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Who should be a Bronco Hall of Famer? An OBNUG Roundtable

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We throw out some names for who should be in the Bronco Hall of Fame for the 2020 class.

NCAA Football: San Diego State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

In case you guys have not heard, Boise State Athletics has opened up their Hall of Fame 2020 nominations to the general public. You—yes YOU—have the opportunity to submit to the athletics department which former Bronco you would like to see honored. After taking some time off (11 years) the athletics department decided bring it back last year. In case you needed a refresher on who was inducted in 2018 (they’re doing this every two years?) and who all is in, you can check here.

For OBNUG’s part, we decided to have a roundtable about who may be good candidates for the next round. Check out what we had to say and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Damien

I choose Ryan Watkins (Boise State 2014) for the Hall of Fame.

Here is a list of Ryan’s accolades (all via Boise State athletics):

  • played in 130 games, tying a school record
  • no. 2 in school history with 814 and no 19 with 1070 points
  • second player in program history with 1000 points and 750 rebounds
  • 23 double-doubles, 17 as a senior the most in a single season in Boise State history
  • led the NCAA in offensive rebounds in 2013-14 (total and per game)
  • Led the NCAA in offensive rebound percentage in 2012-13
  • his senior class won 77 games. tied for fourth-most
  • had an All-MWC Second-team nod his second year

The dude defined what it was to be a blue-collar guy who worked for everything. He helped bring in the Leon Rice era (he was part of Rice’s first recruiting class). Though not in the NBA right now, he’s still balling out (most recently down in Utah).

The guy deserves to be in the Bronco Athletics Hall of Fame.

Drew

I too am going to pick a guy named Ryan. You may have heard of him—Ryan Dinwiddie. More than just a pair of blue eyes as clear as the sea....this kid helped put Boise State on the map (hint: it’s here). Also, this “kid” is as old as me, so let me take a quick Aspercreme break.

Okay...all set. Dinwiddie put up redonkulous numbers as a Bronco at a time when many wondered if Boise State was just a Bart Hendricks-led flash in the pan. Dinwiddie led the Broncos to their first win over a top-10 team (2001 Fresno State) and first top-25 ranking in school history (2003) and only went 33-6 whilst he was “the man”. Of course, BJ Rhode gets the credit for a few of those wins after an unfortunate broken ankle in 2002. STILL, Dinwiddie accounted for 9,819 passing yards and 82 TDs (to just 21 INTs) in his time under center, and held the FBS record for career passing efficiency for a whole four years before some bum named Colt Brennan edged him out. Heck, he even had 20 TDs in that injury-shortened 2002 campaign. The dude could sling! You’ve already put the GOAT in the hall, and only Brett Rypien could arguably be above Dinwiddie (and under Kellen, obvs) and well, Ryp just isn’t far enough in our rearviews to get a nod. As long as “never found unconscious behind wheel of idling car” isn’t a pre-requisite, RD should get the call for the hall.

Casey

I’m going to break the mold a bit and go with Aubray Zell.

Zell set all sorts of records at Boise State playing softball from 2009 to 2012, and that’s saying something when you played with Allie Crump, another worthy candidate. Zell, though, surpassed many of Crump’s records. For her career, she sits atop or within the top 3 for every pitching category, including appearances (1st, 121), Starts (1st, 100), Innings Pitched (1st, 587), Opponents Batting Average (3rd, .274), Wins (1st, 57), Saves (3rd, 3), Complete Games (1st, 50), ERA (1st, 3.01), Shutouts (1st, 11), Strikeouts (1st, 432), Strikeouts Looking (2nd, 71), Strikeouts per 7 Innings (3rd, 5.15), Walkers per 7 Innings (1st, 1.17). She also owns two of the 4 Boise State No-Hitters. Zell set the mark for single season ERA (2.41), most strikeouts in a season (170) and least number of walks per 7 innings in a single season (0.8), ranking as high as third in 2011. Phew, that was a lot.

Zell helped establish Boise State softball as a winner in the infancy of the program and many of her records will likely stand the test of time. Many other Boise State softball players will no doubt get looks for Hall of Fame induction, including many of the players on the current roster, (here’s looking at your Rebekah Cervantes), but Zell will forever be one of the Bronco greats.

Ryan

My nomination for this year’s hall of fame class is Tasha Harris.

We’ve all become pretty accustomed to Gordy Presnell’s teams running roughshod over the competition in recent years, but there was a dark time of mediocrity before Gordy. After their NCAA appearance in 1994, the Bronco women had a long slide of bad luck and poor results, with only one winning season to show for their efforts before Gordy was hired in 2005. Suddenly, Boise State’s WBB went nuclear, dumping points on the WAC, and then charging back into the NCAA tourney in the ‘06-’07 season. Who helped lead this charge, you might ask? The answer is simple: Tasha Harris. Totally made-up rumors have it that when Gordy arrived on campus, he saw Tasha working in the gym, and immediately quoted Jesus: “upon this rock, I shall build my (dynasty)”. Tasha and Gordy never had a losing season together, and the foundation was laid for over a decade of (mostly) dominant Bronco teams.

Tasha started every game she played in, 128 of them to be exact. Fighting through two injuries and two medical redshirt years, she is the second-leading all-time scorer in Boise State history with 1,751 points, fifth in points per game average at 13.7, and is in the top 25 of almost every career statistic for Boise State Women’s Basketball. In short: Tasha was a force. Gordy’s early teams had a lot of firepower (holla, Jessica Thompson!) but Tasha Harris embodies the Bronco Spirit, and deserves the Hall of Fame recognition.

Michael

I’ve always been a fan of football over all the other sports. I played in school growing up and my freshman year at Boise State (where, to be clear, I did not play) was that incredible 2006 season that culminated in Boise State’s first Fiesta Bowl win. With that in mind, it seems appropriate that I nominate one of the players from that Bronco team. The problem is...there were several worth considering. After I very nearly pulled the trigger on Marty Tadman, I decided to instead not overthink it and nominate the workhorse of not just that season, but several others: Ian Johnson.

Ian Johnson initially made it onto the Broncos’ radar when they were watching film on a high school opponent of his. The opponent was a gentleman named Patrick Chung that made his way to Oregon to star for the Ducks before becoming an eventual 3x Super Bowl champion with the Patriots. As legend has it, the coaches kept getting distracted from focusing on Chung in his high school tape because Ian was so great that he just kept stealing their attention. Ultimately, he was offered a scholarship and came to Boise State where he had a magnificent career.

Everyone will remember his 2006 season for the fact that he led the nation in touchdowns (25) and carried the team through several, key games before that cathartic Fiesta Bowl win and proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend on national TV. His contributions to that season aside, Johnson was a highly gifted ballcarrier for the Broncos for all four of his years here. Ian began his career in 2005 as part of a committee approach to the backfield, sharing time with current running backs coach, Lee Marks. Ultimately, he amassed 4,183 yards, 58 rushing TDs, and averaged 5.6 yards per carry for his career. Some people say he peaked after that first season as a starter, when he had 1,719 rushing yards. While it’s true that he only had one other season as the true workhorse back, his career numbers amounted to an average of 1,000 yards per season. Additionally, he racked up 642 yards through the air, 541 of which came in the two seasons after his prolific, sophomore, Fiesta Bowl campaign.

Not only was Ian a great player, but he was a charismatic and beloved personality that was an excellent ambassador for Boise State as the rest of the nation first started to truly take notice of them. For those reasons, and definitely not just because of our awesome, shared last name or connections to the Detroit Lions, Ian Johnson is my nominee.