Other Campuses: Idaho athletes try to make it big

By The Arbiter

(U-WIRE) BOISE, Idaho – Over the past five years, Boise State athletics have produced a number of very successful athletes after their college careers. Some of these athletes have more in common with each other than some might have noticed, because they are locals. For quite some time now, Boise State has been able to land some of the great local high school athletes.

There have been a number of players from Idaho that have seen success in sports after their college careers come to an end. Jeb Putzier played high school football at Eagle High School, and played for the Broncos from 1998 to 2002. Jeb was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2002. Jeb saw limited action in his first couple of years in the NFL playing behind future Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. After Sharpe retired, Putzier has seen more and more action on the field earning himself a large role on the Broncos.

Abe Jackson played basketball for the Bishop Kelly Knights, where he became a very well known high school athlete. After graduating from Bishop Kelly in 1998, Abe joined former basketball coach Rod Jensen’s roster. While playing at Boise State, Abe set Bronco records for 3-point shooting. After his years at BSU, Abe played professional basketball in France, before deciding to return home and complete his degree.

Arguably one of the most popular Broncos, Brock Forsey enjoyed a great deal of success while playing football for the Centennial Patriots of Meridian. Brock was a walk-on for the Broncos and later earned a scholarship spot on the team.

During his senior year at BSU, Brock led the nation in touchdowns and set a school record with 32 touchdowns, a record that ranks second in NCAA history behind Barry Sanders. The Chicago Bears drafted Brock, where he played one season, before heading to the Dolphins and, more recently, he signed with the Redskins.

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Of the 90 players on the football team’s spring roster, 20 of them are from Idaho. There is only one local player on the men’s basketball team, and the women’s team is down to three with the recent departure of Boise’s Cassidy Blaine. The track and field team hosts the most natives with 26 locals. This last season the volleyball team had two players from Idaho, but has recently acquired Mandy Klein, an athletic star from Timberline High School.

Being a local athlete does have its disadvantages, according to Boise State tight end Sherm Blaser.

Blaser was recruited out of Eagle High School by Boise State, University of Idaho, the University of Utah and the University of Oregon. Besides being his hometown, he ended up choosing BSU because they allowed him to first serve a mission for the LDS church.

Running into Bronco Stadium on a game night is different for Blaser than for his teammates. For Sherm, it is truly a home crowd.

When all is said and done, being a local is a big advantage for Blaser. Having his family and friends nearby provides a long line of support for this Boise State tight end.

Going from a team with 20 Idahoans to a team where you are the only one is the story for Matt Bauscher. Matt graduated from Alive in 2003, where he achieved much success. Bauscher wasn’t recruited heavily by Boise State, and ended up playing basketball for Spokane Community College. His first year at Spokane, Matt played well enough to gain the attention of BSU among other schools. Being able to return home and play in front of his family and friends is all that he needed.

– Shawn Ashby

Bauscher knows that playing in Taco Bell Arena is different for him compared to his teammates.

“I’ve been watching games here since I was little,” Bauscher said.

He knows that his relationship with the fans is something a little bit more.

Playing in front of people who have watched him grow up would be added pressure, but not for Bauscher.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself anyway, playing in front of people who know me adds no extra pressure,” he said.

Matt also has the added advantage of being close to his high school coach, Mike Chatterton. “It’s pretty cool to be able to be so close to him … we still talk pretty regularly,” Bauscher said.

Boise State does have a long line of great local talent, and continues to add to its already rich history. It often seems like you are always hearing about the next big recruit from California or from somewhere on the East Coast, when in reality, that next big recruit might come from our own backyard.

– Shawn Ashby