Idaho Preps With FCS Potential

Big Sky Recruiting of The State of Idaho

The State of Idaho has been steadily growing as a High School Football recruiting ground for College Football. Idaho has produced some phenomenal FBS talents in recent times like Taysom Hill, Leighton Vander Esch, Shea McClellin, Taylor Kelly and Tanner Mangum. We also just had a guy like Jonah Elliss out of Moscow High be highly recruited and looks to possibly be the next NFL guy from the state of Idaho.

But for everyone of those guys, there are so many talented individuals coming from Idaho. I worked with Justin Jackson, the founder of Rare Academy ID, to identify some guys that have FCS potential. Even a few I was cautious to post about. According to Justin, there are some SERIOUS sleepers in this years class.

Big Sky schools are starting to notice the talent in the state as well. There are 72 players from the state currently on a Big Sky roster for the 21-22 season. Maybe the more important stat, the blue bloods of the conference have taken notice.

Big Sky Schools # of Idaho Players
Cal Poly0
Eastern Washington2
Idaho19
Idaho State29
Montana4
Montana State6
Northern Arizona0
Northern Colorado0
Sacramento State0
Southern Utah0
UC Davis1
Weber State11
TOTAL72

Weber State has won the Big Sky 4 years in a row now and in 2019 made the FCS semi-finals. They have 11 players from the State of Idaho. This includes 2x All-Conference and current Preseason All-Conference Junior George Taralas from Borah High in Boise.

Montana State also has dipped their toe in the Idaho waters when head coach Jeff Choate was at the helm. The St. Maries kid and former BSU assistant knew the gems in the gem state. Tucker Rovig of Mountain View led them under center to the semi-finals of the 2019 FCS Playoffs.

Another former Bronco, UC Davis head ball coach Dan Hawkins has been recruiting the Treasure Valley pretty heavy since taking the helm for the Aggies. He may not have won many of the recruiting battles, but he offers a healthy amount of Idaho kids.

FCS PROSPECTS

Over the course of a couple phone calls and a few of the RARE Academy Idaho camps we has compiled a list of guys in the state that are FCS Prospects.

RARE Academy Idaho is an all-year training academy for kids throughout the whole state. This is not only physical training, but they do alot to help with the mental side of being an athlete and making the move to the college environment. Like many of you, Justin and his team see the potential growing in this State and just want to help these kids get the offers they are capable of. Then have the tools to succeed physically and mentally once on campus.

If you have never checked them out, you should. Its more of a have to see it to believe it. What they do for recruits in this State is amazing and one of a kind. They are only going to continue to grow and help your sons, nephews, neighbors be recognized and preforming at their peak.

The have a staff of former FBS players including Idahos own Brady Strodtbeck who cleared holes for Vandal running backs during the 2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Some are borderline FBS guys, others could be PWO/D2 type guys. But this is the crop of dudes to keep your eye on and go see if their team is in your area this season.

PlayerPositionSchool
Davis ThackerWRMeridian
Ethan MikitaWREagle
Kade ThompsonWRRocky Mountain
Trais HigginsWRNampa
Ethan CastilloWRCapital
Garret LavinWRTimberline
Jackson MasonWRRocky Mountain
Gavin CappsWRJerome
Fisher ClementsTEMt.View
Isaiah SawyerTEMt. View
Will VailTEMelba
Gage JonesSEagle
Adam BallRBSt. Regis
Cross AntonnacchiRBMeridian
Taylor MarcumRBTimberline
Brett SpencerQB Weiser
Tiger AdolphoQBRigby
Carter FortinQBCole Valley
Malakai MartinezQBMeridian
Kaimen PeeblesQBSouth Freemont
Owen ToledoOLRocky Mountain
Gunnar ClarkOLMountain Home
Talin TogiaiOLRigby
Seth KnotheLBBishop Kelly
Caden KelleyLBRocky Mountain
AJ EdwardsLBRocky Mountain
Garrett McKennaLBMountain View
Jackson BergerLBCDA
AJ EdwardsLBRocky Mountain
Landyn YoungDLRocky Mountain
Liam ReevesDLTimberline
Jaxson WashingtonDLCDA
Deion TawzerDLRigby
Charles JudyDLSkyview
Jackson BeckDLMountain View
Aiden WhippleDLMountain View
Zachary ClarkDBPost Falls
Alameen AbimdolaDBMountain View
Casey CopeATHVallivue
Tao JohnsonATHThunder Ridge

There is loads of talent on this list. But there are a couple guys I want to highlight. Particularly in terms of Idaho going after them. I’m going to spotlight a few in no particular order.

Adam Ball 6’0 200lbs RB #17 St. Regis

I know this could be looked at as cheating since St.Regis the town is technically in Montana. But it is a border town and Adam is attending the RARE Academy Idaho showcases. He is not just attending, he is preforming. When Justin talks about this kid, you hear it in his voice. He is something special. He is the reason something like RARE exists.

If there is one name to take away from this piece. It is Adam Ball. Justin speaks so highly of this guy I am planning on attending a St. Regis game in person this season. (Scroll down for a list of MUST catch games this fall). Ball has been a standout at every event and is still under the radar. Almost, so much so, I just wanted to leave him off the list and just text our coaches about offering this kid. I just couldn’t not mention him, he deserves the recognition and WILL BE the steal of this class.

Davis Thacker 6’3 205lbs WR # 6 Meridian

Davis is the brother of Damen Thacker who just started 23 games for the Vandal hoops team. We know Paul Petrino is always talking about “family”. He loves recruiting sons, brothers, nephews of coaches, former players etc. Damen Thacker did transfer out and was apart of a different athletics program, but this is a move I would not be surprised to see our athletic department make.

Davis currently does not have any offers.

Taylor Marcum 6’0 185lbs RB #21 Timberline

If you follow prep football, this one is obvious. Taylor Marcum is one of the highly recruited guys in the state. In fact on July 18th he committed to Montana State. But, we have seen recently verbals change before NSD. He has an offer from the Vandals and Idaho is building a bit of a pedigree of giving in-state RBs playing time. Lets not forget the first play of the 2019 season against Penn State, Paul put in true freshman Nick Romano RB from Rocky Mountain and threw the ball to him. He is not afraid to say RBs from the state of Idaho are big time.

Garret Lavin 6’1 180lbs WR #19 Timberline

Yes, back to back Timberline guys. But, me myself, I am a Timberline guy. “The strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

Garrett is another legacy type guy. He comes from a Vandal family and just a guy I would love to see be given a shot. Even if our receiver room is getting crowded.

He does not currently have any offers.

Gage Jones 6’1 185lbs DB Eagle

Likely the best defensive back in the State, Gage is poised to have one heck of a season. With a few seasons now of poor secondary play. Getting this local stud would go along way to sure up the backend.

Jaxson Washington 6’1 260lbs DL #78 Couer D Alene

The kid is just one of those grinders. He has got a gym in the garage at home and from looks of it has spent some time with his second cousin Washington States star RB Max Borghi. He also is a very good wrestler, which is a extra bonus in a lineman. He also won the RARE Showcases events top 6 lineman honors.

The Vikes have put out loads of division one talent in the past decade. It is a program you trust. Our defensive line isn’t getting any younger. We should be looking to add 2 to 3 guys on the line in this class.

He currently has 3 offers from a few NAIA and such schools, some sort of offer from the Bengals in Pocatello. But looks to be getting looks from and Montana. His father is a former walk-on and they are a big Griz Family. They have been exposed to the Vandals and we could get him, but if Montana offers (especially before us) it would be hard to win this recruiting battle.

Malakai Martinez 6’0 180lbs QB #3 Meridian

Maybe a bit under the radar until recently. He is starting to show-up everywhere. He was one of if not the first QB Justin gave me. Then on August 8th he was announced the 6th best QB in The Northwest 9 the QB camp former guest of the podcast Taylor Barton runs.

Right now has no offers, I know Idaho has brought in the likes of CJ Jordan, Gevani McCoy and MacCloud Crowton. But you can never have too many QBs.

Hayden Klincheloe 5’10 215lb RB #23 Homedale

This one is a me pick. I watched Hayden in 3A state semis and final last season. He was hard not to notice. I turned to my friend I was in attendance with and said “this is the type of kid Idaho needs to offer.” I later learn he comes from a deep vandal family.

Feedback I got throught the grapevine is his speed is a concern. Well, if you can’t tackle him it doesn’t really matter does it?!

Hayden Klincheloe in State Playoffs Photo By: Chris Hammond

Games To Catch FCS Talent

For some of you football nuts out there, you want to catch these guys before they may suit up for or against the silver and gold in the coming years. I compiled a list of games to catch to watch some of this FCS talent under friday night lights around this beautiful state.

Week 1

Treasure Valley

Mountain View vs Meridian – Meridian,ID (Mountain View, HS)

  • 9 possible FCS guys

Capital vs Nampa – Boise, ID (Donnar Larson Park)

  • 1 Possible FCS guy

Eagle vs Bishop Kelly – Boise, ID (Bishop Kelly HS)

  • 3 possible FCS guys

Magic Valley

Buhl vs Weiser – Buhl, ID

  • 1 Possible FCS guy

Twin Falls vs Vallivue – Twin Falls, ID

  • 1 Possible FCS guy

Week 2

Spokane-CDA Area

Lakeside vs St. Regis – Plummer, ID

  • 1 Possible FCS STUD

Treasure Valley

Rocky Mountain vs Mountain View – Meridian, ID (Rocky Mountain HS)

  • 13 Possible FCS guys

Nampa vs Skyview – Nampa, ID (Skyview HS)

  • 3 Possible FCS guys

Idaho Falls

Rigby vs Post Falls – Rigby, ID

  • 5 Possible FCS guys

Week 3

Spokane-CDA Area

Koontenai vs St.Regis – Harrison, ID

  • 1 possible FCS STUD

Treasure Valley

Rocky Mountain vs Meridian – Meridian, ID (Rocky Mountai HS)

  • 11 Possible FCS guys

Week 4

Spokane-CDA Area

Clark Fork vs St. Regis – Clark Fork, ID

  • 1 Possible FCS STUD

Post Falls vs Mount Si (WA) – Post Falls, ID

  • 2 Possible FCS guys

Magic Valley

Thunder Ridge vs Rigby – Twin Falls (Thunder Ridge HS)

  • 4 Possible FCS guys

Week 5

Treasure Valley

Skyview vs Rocky Mountain – Nampa, ID

  • 10 Possible FCS guys

Melba vs Cole Valley – Melba, ID

  • 2 Possible FCS guys

Week 6

Treasure Valley

Eagle vs Timberline – Eagle, ID

  • 5 Possible FCS guys

Meridian v Skyview – Meridian, ID

  • 5 Possible FCS Guys

Week 7

Treasure Valley

Timberline vs Rocky Mountain – Boise, ID (Donna Larson Park)

  • 11 Possible FCS guys

Skyview vs Eagle – Nampa, ID (Skyview HS)

  • 4 Possible FCS guys

Magic Valley

Canyon Ridge vs Mountain Home – Twin Falls (Canyon Ridge HS)

  • 1 Possible FCS guy

Week 8

Treasure Valley

Homedale vs Weiser – Homedale, ID

  • 2 Possible FCS guys

Vallivue vs Bishop Kelly – Caldwell, ID (Vallivue HS)

  • 2 Possible FCS guys

Timberline vs Skyview – Boise, ID (Donna Larson Park)

  • 5 Possible FCS guys

Spokane-CDA

Coeur d’Alene v Post Falls – Coeur d’Alene, ID

  • 4 Possible FCS guys

Idaho Falls

Sugar-Salem vs South Fremont – Sugar City, ID

Week 9

Treasure Valley

Rocky Mountain vs Meridian – Meridian, ID (Rocky Mountain HS)

  • 11 Possible FCS guys

*** As always I”m not an journalist so, take your gramatical error comments, & put them in a beg some-Where. Hope you enjoyed the content regarless if you maid it too dis disclaimer 

😉

Vandal 2-Deeps to Start Camp

This how I view the 2-deep if the season started today instead of training camp. This was put together with things we have heard from folks close to program, things Coach Petrino said at media days and a bit of the eye test from last year.

The Offense

QB

Seems like somethings in life are certain. As a Vandal fan QB competition is one of those things. Sometimes its good, sometimes it is bad. Last season was first time since 2017 season we didn’t have a QB Competition. Beaudry was the pen in starter. Coach Petrino has been open this year senior Mike Beaudry and Freshman Caleb “CJ” Jordan will compete again.

We have seen

Linehan beat out Challich

Linehan beat out Luton

Petrino beat out Richardson x 2

Who wins now?

CJ Jordan
SeasonGPCMPATTINTYDSTDLong%AVG/PAVG/G
2020-21116270183023.596.8183.0
SeasonGPATTYDSTDLongAVG/AAVG/G
2020-21114380192.738.0

Mike Beaudry
SeasonGPCMPATTINTYDSTDLong%AVG/PAVG/G
2020-214731223794349.606.5198.5
SeasonGPATTYDSTDLongAVG/AAVG/G
2020-21425971163.924.3

The main thing for this position is finally having “the guy” and that guy staying healthy.

I would be remise, as a noted Nikhil Nayar fanboy to not say, “Don’t Sleep on Nayar!”

FB

Logan Kendall, no question. Guy is All-Big Sky and possibly All-American. If he goes down the name to know is most likely Trase Letexier a transfer from Montana that can play some Tightend as well.

RB

The myth, the man, the make Calin Criner breakdance, Aundre Carter has found himself back on the official roster. A happy site for many Vandals. I gave him the nod at starter. There is a lot to consider here though. We don’t know how fit he stayed while away and if he lost a step. I will give him benefit of the doubt right now.

It wont matter much as we really have so many solid options to carry the rock. Sophomore Nick Romano continues to impress, Redshirt Junior Roshaun Johnson has ability to close out a game, incoming freshman Elisha Cummings shows promise and should see some snaps, Redshirt Freshman Kiahn Martinez could have breakout year and what most of you are here for Redshirt Sophomore Zach Borisch is back in the RB room.

Though I expect Borisch to be a bit of Taysom Hill type. Just get him ball, whether it is RB, QB, TE, WR or KR, the guy is a W E A P O N.

WR

It is odd to say we are stacked at a position, when our offense has been anemic at best at times. But we have had a lot of new talent come in. Picking this position is a crap shoot. For instance I have Cutrell Haywood listed as a 2. That probably wont be the case, this group is just going to be a heavy rotation.

The coaches seems very high on the transfer in of Michael Graves from American River CC, Mekhi Stevenson from UNLV and Terez Traynor from Western Kentucky.

Jermaine Jackson our speedster from College of Mateo that went out after only a few very promising plays to start the season should be back.

Then you have All-Big Sky Hayden Hatten returning. Also, Some younger guys that show promise Beachem, McCormick, Puffer and Noil.

You could get dizzy keeping track of who is on the field at this position group.

OL

I am gonna be honest here, and shame on me. I am 5-foot-5 and the furthest thing from an offensive lineman. I know zero of the dudes in the trenches. I was a running back/linebacker in my youth and a cornerback in reality in high school.

Here’s what I know about the offensive line: Mathew Faupusa, Darius Archie and Logan Floyd were my picks last year and are my picks again this year.

I would expect Harwood to utilize the free year of eligibility and 4 game redshirt as he is the future. But if Chad Bagwell is healthy, I think this is his position to lose.

The real battle is at the LT spot. we have a few options to work through like, Carnahan, Transfer Straly and some younger guys like Abe Christensen, Eldride and Guzik.

Petrino spoke highly of Jory Dotts as being a mean son of a gun. I expect him to get reps with the free eligibility.

The 3-4 Defense

DL

Rinse and repeat from the spring. Rufai, Crawford and Kim should be the guys. But we will have a rotation here utilizing guys like Nate Degraw and Noah Elliss.

Malakai will be interesting to watch as well.

LB

Lets address the ELLISS in the room…. Okay, bad pun. That is the only bad thing about this section. Look losing Christina Elliss to the NFL is obviously a loss. But it is no secret, JUNIOR Tre “8 ball” Walker is larger than life right now. Tre Walkers accolades read:

2019 HERO Sports All-American Sophomore, 2nd Team All Big Sky

2020 Spring: 4 (Hero, STATS, AP, Phil Steele) 1st All-American honors, AFCS 2nd team All-American, 10th in Buck Buchanan award, 1st team All-Big Sky

2021 preseason: Big Sky defensive player of the year, Hero Sports Top Linebacker in country, Buck Buchanan watchlist, multiple 1st team All-American honors.

Starting the 5th paragraph, Tre Walker has been in all five. However, he is not alone. remind Christian Elliss struggled with injury a bit last year. Which allowed guys like Sully Shannon, Derek Tommasini, Hogan Hatten to really get a run. In fact the latter is where I’m the most worried to have left off the 2-deep. Hatten played in all 6 games last year. This group should really be a 3 deep.

Leo Tamba will “back-up” Tre, But in his time her, Leo has played in 88.88% of the games. He is slept on by even die hard vandals.

Tanner Brooks will be a Redshirt Freshman this season. When he showed up in 2019, Tanner was 6-4 224lbs. He is now 274lb. Want a name poised to explode off the page? #14 Tanner Brooks will have an impact shortly. Maybe I jumped the gun putting him in 2-deep over Hatten this season, But Christ all-might, he pops off depth chart at you.

Fa’avae Fa’avae may have “under preformed” by expectations i put on him last season. That said joining a program in middle of pandemic, playing in all six games and having a Root Sports player of the week game with 18 tackles vs SUU. I feel safe to say he was still highly productive and will take another step forward.

Akanno spent most of the spring trying to shake the rust from 2019 season. He showed flashes of his old self. We know that old self, is a potential All-American.

Look coach Petrino love Tommasini. I truly think that is the guy that will step into that lineup. But guys like Shannon, Hatten and Coleman will probably get looks.

The Back End

We got athletes. Safety vs Corner is a feeling for me.

Yes, we had a terrible secondary last season. Some of that is talent, some of this is the Big Sky conference is an air-out league.

Though we were bad Im still giving the incumbents their jobs back to start camp. Hoover and Dedmon are leaders in the locker room.

This could be my bias. I want Zamajay to be the savior of this secondary. I want another Keo. I am a Seahawks fan. Nothing is more fun than a lights out secondary. Zamajay Duncan is one of our highest recruits ever! I tampered my expectations and put him in the nickle spot for year uno.

Transfer are key to turn this group around short term. We brought in Jeremiah Salaam from Kent State. And yes Kent State might lose to half the Big Sky, why do you think he bounced? He played in 21 games in two season and we need experience. Also, balls.

Another transfer KJ Jarrel looks positioned to win the SS spot. The Sun Devil transfer has a very high ceiling and seems to be quick to the ball. One of those athletes I mentioned at the top, athlete, could easily play corner as well.

Parker and Jones could also make some noise.

*** As always I”m not an journalist so, take your gramatical error comments, & put them in a beg some-Where. Hope you enjoyed the content regarless if you maid it too dis disclaimer 

😉

Who Will Win The Big Sky?

The Big Sky is one of the deepest conference top to bottom. Predicting a winner is difficult. Last year was my first attempt to take emotion out of it and use analytics to predict the winner. How I did this was combination of a “True Skill Ranking” and “Strength of Schedule” calculation.

Before we get into this year. It is a fair question to ask, How did last year go? How accurate is this? It is a little difficult to compare as I originally completed predicitons before five Big Sky Schools opted out of Spring. Lets look anyway with removing the teams that did not play and adjusting.

Predicted FinishTeamPredicted RecordActual FinishTeamActual Record
1Weber State6-01Weber State5-0
2E.Washington5-12E.Washington5-1
t3UC Davis4-2t3UC Davis3-2
t3N.Arizona4-2t3N.Arizona3-2
5Idaho2-4t5Idaho2-4
t-6Idaho State1-5t5Idaho State2-4
t-6Cal Poly1-57S.Utah1-5
8S.Utah0-68Cal Poly0-3

I will let you all determine if this was succesful or not, especially with last springs circumstances. But at least now you know how it did.

This season will be a test as all 13 current Big Sky Football Conference teams are playing. This is also only looking at the conference schedule. The out of conference schedule has not been included. Also the database used to calculate my True Skill rankings are not released yet. These prediciton are stricly of SOS and leave room for updating before conference kickoff.

Before we get into predicitons, lets take a look at some of the oddities of the 2nd annual Strength of Schedule Tub Table.

Obviously this system is not perfect, I am the first to acknowledge this. As Weber State (Preseason pick to win conference) benefits from not playing themselves and vice versa Northern Colorado and Cal Poly are punished for not playing themselves.

That being said it is the second time in as many seasons Weber State has the path of least resistance to win the championship. Montana State and Eastern Washington have a weird scenario too. Eastern Washington has the toughest schedule at home (Montana,Idaho,Weber & Montana State). While Montana State has toughest road schedule (Portland State, Weber State, Eastern Washington & Montana). Then they swap and Eastern has the least difficult road schedule. While Montana State has by far the easiest schedule at home. sidenote, I honestly wonder how season ticket sales are going with no Choate, 18 months of no football and a lackluster home schedule.

If you are looking for this years dark horse, Northern Arizona harbors 3rd easiest schedule and only by 2 points. The Standard Deviation for strength of schedule is 9.4. Being only 2 points off from easiest schedule is a big benefit to the lumberjacks of Flagstaff. To their defense, Shaun Rainey of SWX Montana and Colter Nuanez of Skyline Sports have been high on Portland State, Even saying they are top four in big sky. They do have 5th easiest schedule in the conference and could be one of those annual dark horses the big sky seems to get every year.

Okay enough of me nerding out over schedule strength statistics that really dont mean anything once the ball is kicked off to what you are all here for… using those useless statistics to make analytical predictions for each team in the conference.

t13. Cal Poly 0-8

t13. Northern Colorado 0-8

11. Southern Utah 1-7

t10. Portland State 2-6

t10. Idaho State 2-6

8. Idaho 3-5

t5.Northern Arizona 5-3

t5. Montana State 5-3

t5. UC Davis 5-3

t3. Eastern Washington 7-1

t3. Sac State 7-1

t1. Montana 8-0

t1. Weber State 8-0

Reminder these are not my predictions. You can tune into our live youtube show August 10th around 8 PT with Skyline Sports Colter Nuanez to hear how myself and the rest of the team think conference season will go.

*** As always I”m not an journalist so, take your gramatical error comments, & put them in a beg some-Where. Hope you enjoyed the content regarless if you maid it too dis disclaimer 😉

Tubs Preseason Big Sky Poll

We submitted three polls to the conference office. Here is how the three of us voted and why.

Chris
Brian
Dallas
1Weber StateMontanaWeber State
2EWUMontana StateEWU
3MontanaWeber StateMontana
4UC DavisEWUSac State
5Montana StateSac StateMontana State
6NAUUC DavisUC Davis
7Idaho StateIdahoIdaho State
8IdahoIdaho StateNAU
9SUUUNCIdaho
10Sac StateSUUSUU
11Cal PolyPortland StatePortland State
12UNCNAUUNC
13Portland StateCal PolyCal Poly

For those of you that read our Preseason All-Conference Team post you can see our picks for All-Conference lead to our opinions on our polls.

Further Explanations

Chris:

  • Weber State at 1 – The Wildcats return possibly the best Secondary in the FCS. Three members of the secondary made our All-Tubs Team. Bronson Barron (technically a true freshman still) had barely been on campus and had to compete for starting job last season. That is not the case this fall, he will be receiving all the reps. Pair that with former Jerry Rice Award winner Josh Davis and an emerging stable of backs returning. The Achilles heel of this program, the offense, has to take a step forward. Even if the offense doesn’t improve, they have still won four straight Big Sky titles. Why would I bet against them?

  • Montana at 3 – Look even with some “?” still at QB. This team returns a lot of talent. How bad could it be when you get to throw to Maybe the best WR in the FCS, Sammy Akem. If the QB works out, they could easily win the conference. But right now with Weber returning Bronson & Eastern returning EB3, I gave them the SMALL nod over the Griz. Its going to be a close race this year.

  • Sacramento State at 10 – I understand I’m sticking my neck out with this one. I just think the 2019 season was a flash in the pan. I expect this team to be closer to their 42-28 home playoff loss to start the playoffs, more then the 49-22 win vs the Griz. The Hornets in my opinion benefited greatly from being a sleeper until about half way through the 2019 season, an out of nowhere QB (who has since transferred out) and no one having tape on first time head ball coach Troy Taylor. I expect them to struggle early and maybe make a charge late. Are they the 10th best team in conference probably not, probably a bit better. But weeks 1 thru 6 I expect them to play below where most people have them. Most throw out the easy schedule this year as a reason to have them high. I think the easy schedule will catch them sleep walking with rust early. Though lighting can strike the same spot twice…

Brian:

  • Weber State at 3 – Defending Big Sky champion Weber State (finally) looks vulnerable. The Wildcats won a single spring game by a margin greater than a touchdown–with all of those nail biters coming against teams that will be picked in the bottom half of this fall’s season–but Weber’s schedule, and Jay Hill’s tendency to just never lose games he shouldn’t, makes a 6-2 (in conference) floor all but locked in.

  • Idaho at 7 – This vote was a strict judgement of talent–which should put Idaho not in the top tier of the conference, but close enough to talk yourself into yet another but maybe this year discussion.

    Which is lunacy.

    We all know the Idaho blueprint from the previous three years: stay competitive at home, but faceplant on the road. Hang with, or knock off a playoff-level team, then stumble in comical fashion against the Northern Colorados, or Northern Arizonas occupying league’s bottom tier. Never mind that Idaho has its toughest league schedule since rejoining the Big Sky. 

    So yes: in my written-in-blood preseason poll, Idaho sits at number seven. And yes: the moment my poll was officially sent, I could not believe their slot was higher than ten.

  • Northern Colorado at 9 – Consider Northern Colorado a composite character of Idaho, Idaho State, Southern Utah, and Northern Arizona: it’s an absolute crap shoot rating any of those teams above each other. Before the Bears land higher than ninth, we’ll need to see the fruits of Coach McCaffrey produce. The talent influx following McCaffrey alone will make Northern Colorado at least good enough to spoil someone else’s playoff hopes, but with the promising spring efforts from other projected lower-tier teams, there’s too crowded a field of candidates to repeat the out-of-nowhere rises of UC Davis and Sacramento State to rate Northern Colorado much higher.   

Dallas:

  • Eastern Washington at 2 – Eric Barriere is one of the best players in the entire FCS, and when you have a quarterback like him running the show, you’re going to have at least a puncher’s chance in every game. Yes, their questionable defense allowed 35 straight points in the first round of the spring playoffs to a weakened North Dakota State. Yes, the receivers drop more passes than they should. Yes, they have an extremely tough conference schedule this year. But, their three toughest games (Montana, Montana State, Weber State) are all in Cheney this year and I’d expect they win two of the three to keep themselves just behind Weber in the conference standings. Even in their last true down year (2015, when Vernon Adams transferred to play his final year at Oregon), they tied for fourth in conference, going 5-3 with two losses to ranked teams.

  • UC Davis at 6 – UC Davis has a deep cast of receivers, a solid defense (as Vandal fans likely remember), and one of the best running backs in the conference. QB Hunter Rodrigues had 21 FCS passes to his name coming into 2021 and may have benefited more from the spring season than any other athlete. So why do I have them sixth? Weber State, Eastern Washington, and the Montana schools certainly look better on paper and should all slot in as top five finishers, even if they trade losses around. I don’t see the Aggies beating Weber State (and yes, I know they had a double digit lead on the Wildcats last season) or Eastern Washington. Even if they beat Sacramento State in the Causeway Classic to finish the year, I don’t think a game in hand on the Hornets helps, courtesy of the absolute gift of a schedule Sacramento State got this year. Nothing against UC Davis, but a top five finish doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

  • Idaho at 9 – Every year it seems I talk myself into Idaho finally becoming a bully in the Big Sky. Take one look at the schedule and you’ll realize why I’m not doing that this year. The Vandals could be favored in three of their four home conference games, but even if they won out at home with an upset of Montana, they will not be favored in a single road game this season. I don’t think they win a single game outside of Moscow this year, even without Paul Petrino’s track record of failure away from the Kibbie Dome. There’s plenty of talent on this team, just like there was in the spring, but I don’t see any reason to believe that it magically clicks this season. 4-4 in conference is the ceiling for this team if things go well, and 2-6 is certainly on the table. We’re looking at another long year.

2021 All-Tubs Preseason Big Sky Conference Team

Here is our votes for the All-Conference team.

Offesensive Player of The Year: Eric Barriere! (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: None

Defensive Player of The Year: Tre Walker (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Jace Lewis (UM)

Quarterback: Eric Barriere (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Tyler Vander Waal (ISU)

Running Back: Ulonzo Gilliam (UCD) | Josh Davis! (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Isaiah Ifanse (MSU)

Fullback: Logan Kendall! (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: NONE

Wide Receiver: Tanner Conner (ISU) | Samuel Akem (UM) | Hayden Hatten* (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Pierre Williams (SAC), Talolo Limu-Jones (EWU), Hendrix Johnson (NAU), Brandon Porter (NAU)

Tight End: Marshel Martin (SAC)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: McCallan Castles (UCD)

Offensive Line: Lewis Kidd (MSU) | Taylor Tuiasosopo (MSU) |Conner Pettek (UCD) | Ty Whitworth (WSU) | Tristen Taylor (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Braxton Jones (SUU), MAtthew Faupusa (Idaho), Zach Reed (MSU), Terron Carey (ISU)

Defensive Line: George Tarlas (WSU) | Jared Scheiss! (WSU) | Alex Gubner (UM) | Charles Akanno (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Bryce Rodgers (UCD), Mitchell Johnson (EWU), Amandre Williams (MSU)

Linebacker: Troy Anderson (MSU) | Tre Walker! (Idaho) | Jace Lewis! (UM) | La’Akea Kaho’Ohanohano-Davis! (SUU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Conner Mortensen (WSU)

Defensive Back: Eddie Heckard (WSU) | Anthony Adams! (PSU) | Preston Smith (WSU) | Desmond Williams (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Jordan Perryman (UCD), Anthony Sweeney (NAU), Morgan Vest (NAU)

Kicker: Luis Aguilar! (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: None

Punter: DJ Arnson (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Daniel Whelan (UCD)

Returner: Rashid Shaheed (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Nick Romano (Idaho)

Long Snapper:Justin Hathoot* (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: JOhn Aloma (UCD), Matthew O’Donoghue (UM)

Safe to say the Big Sky is pretty deep. The previous team of the decade only has two players selected, it is a testimate to the talent in this conference. As most people would consider EWU to be dangerous again in 2021.

The Numbers By School:

Cal Poly: 0 sad face for Baldwin and co.

Eeastern Washington: 1 MVP, 2 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mention

Idaho: 1 MVP, 4 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mentions

Idaho state: 1 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mentions

Montana: 1 MVP vote, 3 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Metions

Montana State: 2 All-Conference, 3 Honorable Mentions

Northern Arizona: 3 All-Conference, 4 Honorable Mentions

Northern Colorado: 0, sad face for McCaffery and co.

Portland State: 1 All-Conference

UC Davis: 2 All-Conference, 3 Honorable Mentions

Sacramento State: 1 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mentions

Southern Utah: 1 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mention

Weber State: 7 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mention

The Weber State Wildcats lead the way in terms of representation. NAU almost swept special teams. We may have gone to homer on Idaho, I dont think so. Do these coordinate to our preseason conference polls? Take a look: https://tubsattheclub.com/2021/07/23/tubs-preseason-big-sky-poll/

CHRISBRIAN DALLAS
OMVPEric BarriereEric BarriereEric Barriere
DMVPTre WalkerJace LewisTre Walker
QBTyler Vander WaalEric BarriereEric Barriere
WRHendrix JohnsonTanner ConnerTanner Conner
WRSamuel AkemSamuel AkemHayden Hatten
WRBrandon PorterPierre WilliamsTalolo Limu-Jones
TLewis KiddLewis KiddBraxton Jones
TTristen Taylor Tristen Taylor
GMatthew FaupusaTaylor TuiasosopoTaylor Tuiasosopo
GZach ReedTy WhitworthTy Whitworth
CTerron CareyConnor PettekConnor Pettek
TEMcCallan CastlesMarshel MartinMashel Martin
RBUlonzo GilliamIsaiah IfanseUlonzo Gilliam
RBJosh DavisJosh DavisJosh Davis
FBLogan KendallLogan KendallLogan Kendall
PKLuis AguilarLuis AguilarLuis Aguilar
RSNick RomanoRashid ShaheedRashid Shaheed
DTJared ScheissJared ScheissJared Scheiss
DTAlex GubnerAlex GubnerBryce Rodgers
DEGeorge TarlasGeorge TarlasMitchell Johnson
DECharles AkannoCharles AkannoAmandre Williams
OLBTroy AndersonTroy AndersonConner Mortensen
OLBLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-DavisLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-DavisLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-Davis
ILBTre WalkerTre WalkerTre Walker
ILBJace LewisJace LewisJace Lewis
CBEddie HeckardEddie HeckardJordan Perryman
CBAnthony AdamsAnthony AdamsAnthony Adams
SAnthony SweeneyPreston SmithPreston Smith
SDesmond WilliamsDesmond WilliamsMorgan Vest
PDJ ArnsonDJ ArnsonDaniel Whelan
LSJohn AlomaMatthew OdonoghueJustin Hathoot

*** As always I’m not a journalist. so just put your gramatics comments where the sun dont shine (aka Albertson Stadium)