What It Takes To Be A Bronco (Part I)

Jeff Lowe grew up wanting to be a Bronco. He turned that desire into a determination to succeed that led to an outstanding HS career and a chance to play after HS. After a stellar JC career he finally made it to the Blue, but like the rest of his playing experience, it wouldn't come easy. But it's not what happened to Jeff, but what he did after that sets him apart..

Jeff Lowe's dream, from a very young age, was to play football at Boise State University. Other kids wanted to play for bigger schools, closer schools, but Jeff had sensed something special in that team with the Blue Turf.

The Hillsboro Oregon native had watched the Bronco's rise, as unknowns were given the chance to prove themselves and, remarkably, did just that.

Fresh out of HS, Jeff tried to walk on at Boise State his freshman year but was told that he probably just needed to be happy playing at the Division II level. No teams ever watched him play and the tapes that Jeff had sent out to numerous schools during his Senior season of HS were, he was told, never received.

Jeff was offered a football scholarship to attend MidAmerica Nazarene, a NAIA team. He played DE and played immediately, but after earning the starting spot in only the second game, he went down with a season ending shoulder injury. He was granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA.

Now, however, after having tasted the game at the Collegiate level, that desire to play on the big stage came again, too strong to be denied this time.

Phone calls with the NCAA revealed that Jeff would need to do a 4-2-4 transfer, meaning that because he had attended a 4 year university he would have to transfer to a 2 year college and graduate with an Associates Degree before transferring to another 4 year university.

Upon advice from the staff at Boise State, Jeff attended a junior college in California. He had shoulder surgery in January 2005 and began attending College of the Siskiyous that same month. He did months of rehab, and after all the sweat and blood, Jeff started and played in every football game for the two years he attended there.

He earned All Conference honors both years, was team captain the second, was named MVP and Best Defensive Lineman and was a Scholar Athlete.

Now only one semester from graduating with a degree in Fire Science, Jeff called to inquire about transferring to Boise State once again, only to learn this time that there was no Bachelors Degree in Fire Science at Boise State.

Jeff had called the university before he began his pursuit of an AA in Fire Science but, apparrently, had asked the wrong question. He had asked if BSU had a degree program in Fire Science and were told yes they did. It wasn't until that second phone call that Jeff learned that the degree was only an Associates, not a Bachelors Degree. So Jeff quickly changed his major to General Ed and graduated from COS in December.

He then enrolled at Boise State and talked to the coaches about walking on for the team. For the first time, a Division 1 team wanted to have Jeff dress for them.. and not just any team, but it was HIS team, he was a Boise State Bronco!

He had just been assigned a locker and received his Jersey with his name when, once again, adversity tried to end his playing career. Jeff was ruled academically ineligible.

The problem stemmed from him not having enough credits toward a degree. An often overlooked rule that the NCAA, and his JC counselors had neglected to pass on to him. Even though he had an AA and was a scholar athlete to boot, it was not enough.

The ruling was a straight kick in the gut... and probably would have been the end of the story for most kids.. but Jeff, as you've already learned, isn't most kids..

Coming in Part II.. the rise, fall.. and unbelievable culmination of a true Bronco story, and a glimpse into how much it sometimes takes to be a Bronco.

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