As we get ready for the upcoming Signing Day and prepare for Spring Camp, we've begun updating our databases. We've updated our roster with player weights, and are working on our scholarship tracker. As a result, we're preparing to track several NEW players in the program who joined the Vandals with last year's recruiting class, including 3-star cornerback T.J. TAYLOR who redshirted last fall.
In this update are a couple groups of players that we've heard through the grapevine will be players to watch in 2008. Idaho has significant holes to fill next fall - especially with the graduation of back-to-back All-WAC performers David Vobora and Stanley Franks. To begin looking at next year's cast of athletes, we've updated our Scholarship Tracker [NOTE: THIS IS PRELIMINARY AND WILL BE GETTING UPDATES IN THE WEEKS AHEAD]:
LINK: 2008 Scout.com Vandal Football Scholarship Tracker
Below is an initial list of athletes that we've learned could be playing major roles for the Vandals soon.
PLAYERS TO WATCH IN 2008
- T.J. Taylor, 5-11, 188, CB, Junior - We're hearing high expectations for the 3-star cornerback prospect signed last year in head coach Robb Akey's first recruiting class. Idaho will have big shoes to fill in replacing two-time All-WAC and interception record-tying cornerback Stanley Franks, but Taylor is anticipated to be among the top competitors battling for the open slot. He earned All-Conference honors as a freshman and sophomore at Diablo Valley College, and hauled in 8 interceptions during his two-year career. His father, Terry Taylor, played in the NFL for 12 years with Seattle, Detroit, Cleveland and Atlanta. Taylor was offered a scholarship out of high school by Hawaii, despite moving around quite a bit (he earned All Seamount League recognition as a junior at Tyee High School)Taylor redshirted last season.
- Kenneth Patten, 5-10, 176, CB, Freshman - Patten grayshirted last season, and will have five years to play four for the Vandals. As with Taylor, we're hearing of big expectations for the freshman Patten, who along with Taylor will be competing for serious playing time in 2008. At last year's LOI introduction, Coach Akey described Patten as follows, "He played corner and safety at Crenshaw High School down in Los Angeles. A real good burst. A very physical kid; so he'd be a physical corner or a fast safety, however that works out."
- Andre Ferguson, 6-3, 226, LB/DE, RS-Freshman - One of the most highly regarded recruits of the 2006 Vandal recruiting class, Ferguson came to Idaho ranked the No. 39 Outside Linebacker prospect in the nation by Scout.com and No. 6 at that position in the state of California, who changed his verbal commitment from Arizona State to Idaho last spring when ASU fired Dirk Koetter and hired former Vandal coach Dennis Erickson. With offers from ASU, Colorado State, SDSU, and UTEP he pulled a signing day stunner and picked Idaho and first year coach Rob Akey after visiting the Idaho campus with his father, citing "The integrity they show" as the primary reason for his choice. His redshirt year allowed him to add 20-pounds to his frame while reportedly working as one of the team's top linebackers. He registered triple-digit tackles as a junior and senior in high school, and we expect he'll be seeing serious playing time soon for the Vandals.
- Corey White, 5-8, 195, RB, RS-Freshman - Another 3-star recruit signed by Coach Robb Akey last spring, prolific tailback Corey White was ranked by Scout.com last year the No. 58 runningback prospect in the country. For his career at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) White gained 2,875 career rushing yards on 351 carries, and scored 28 career touchdowns. As a senior, he carried the ball 191 times for 1,314 yards (12 TDs, 6.87 yards per carry). As a junior, sharing the backfield with one of the top runningback recruits in the country in 2005 [DeMarco Murray, Heisman vote getter at Oklahoma this year], he recorded an impressive 865 yards on 68 carries (10 TDs, 12.7 yards per carry) that season. With good strength while running in the low 4.5s and a solid redshirt year under his belt, we expect White to begin making an impact this spring and fall.
- Kevin Small, 6-3, 258, DL/TE, Junior - Small came to Idaho as a tightend, then moved to defensive line during fall camp this year. Despite the position change during fall camp, it will be interesting to see where Small ends up this season. As a highschool senior Small was listed by Rivals.com as a 3-star tightend prospect, the No. 73 prospect overall in the state of California, and the No. 28 tightend prospect in the nation for the 2005 recruiting class. Will he stay on the defensive line (was a linebacker in high school), or will he move to tightend? With just three "true" tightends on the roster (seniors Rick Harrison and Jim Reuber, and junior Peter Bjorvik), as well OUTSTANDING Vandal athlete Eddie Williams (who lines up all over for Idaho, including TE, FB, and WR), Small could get his shot at TE. Regardless, it should be interesting to see where he lines up this spring.
Below is a preliminary group of athletes that we did not introduce during fall camp, but could begin making an impact at Idaho next fall after redshirting this season.
- Isao Puailoa, 5-7, 187, RB (Sandpoint, ID) - Puailoa is a graduate of Sandpoint High School who walked on at Washington State and transferred to Idaho last year. Some of you Sandpoint fans may remember Puailoa and his impact on the Sandpoint record book. He tops the list in ALL of the following: 186 points in a single season (2003), 31 rushing touchdowns (2003), 2574 yards rushing (2003), 10.1 yards per carry (2003), and 354 yards rushing in a single-game. He is a former teammate of current Vandal safety Rory Fawley, and their Bulldog football team went 10-2 and was runner up in the Idaho Class 4A State Championship. Isao, one of north Idaho's most prolific ruhers as a senior, is one of several Idahoans on the Vandal football team who joined the program as walkons who we will be watching closely.
- Sean Houston, 6-0, 205, RB (Covina, CA) - Sean transferred to Idaho last year from Southern Oregon (2006). Sean spent one season at Southern Oregon after one year at Mount San Antonio College in 2005. Sean had a solid high school career at Covina High School, where he was named All-Division IX selection as a junior. As a senior he was being recruited to play multiple positions, including fullback and defensive end.
- Tyler Brooks, 6-0, 222, LB (Orofino, ID) - One of the state of Idaho's top athletes in 2006, Orofino High School product Tyler Brooks walked on at Idaho this fall and redshirted. His list of athletic accomplishments is staggering (along with his high school GPA of approximately 3.78). He was voted the Football Player of the Year for the Central Idaho League as a senior, Maniac team MVP, most inspirational player and team captain. He averaged 14 tackles per game (154 total), 78 solo tackles, and 54 tackles for loss. As a senior away from the football field, he was the Idaho Class 2A wrestling State Champion at 215 pound classification, while he took fouth at State in the shot put (won the State Championship in the event a junior). As a junior he led Orofino with 97 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 1 interception and 2 fumbles recovered. He was team MVP as a freshman. And on, and on, and on. Tyler will definitely one to watch this spring and next fall.