2005 Vandal Football Walk-Ons (UPDATED: 6-27-05)

Idaho's proud tradition of walk-ons joining the program and battling for playing time continues this fall. Like former Vandal Jake Scott (currently a starting guard with the Indianapolis Colts in just his second NFL season) and current team leader Mike Anderson (a 3-year starter), a new group of walk-ons will join the Vandal family this fall.

The list of players who have walked on to the University of Idaho football team over the years is extensive. So too are the number of walk-ons who have gone on to earn a scholarship at Idaho, with many becoming team leaders in the process. Simply stated, the walk-ons who eventually earn playing time (and in many cases a scholarship) often have the toughest route to the gridiron. As one Nebraska coach put it a few years back, "At most schools, a walk-on has to be better than a scholarship player. When they do get their opportunity to perform, they better perform well."

The same holds true at the University of Idaho, where a strong walk-on program over the past 20+ years has seen several earn starting duties and / or serious playing time on Saturdays (most recently Anderson, wide receiver Ryan Heacock and center Jarrod Schulte in 2004, among others).

Below is an unconfirmed list of athletes believed to be invited walk-ons joining the Vandal program this fall. This list is by no means complete and is certainly not set-in-stone. The players listed below have made no commitment to Idaho and they could choose to go elsewhere, or not play at all. Others could be added between now and fall camp. The complete list will be presented this fall.

Given the above statement, the list is promising with representatives from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada. From our vantage point, this could also be one of the biggest walk-on classes we've seen at Idaho in years.


GARY BOUBON
S, 6-2, 185, Palo Verde High School (Las Vegas, NV)

In 2004 Gary was a starting defensive back and backup QB for Palo Verde High School, which won the Nevada Class 5A state championship in 2004. As a senior he filled in at QB when starter Jarrell Harrison went down with an injury in a key late season game against conference rival Cheyenne, guiding the Panthers to a come-from-behind victory to secure the Northwest Division Championship for Palo Verde High School (9-0, 5-0) and remain the state's top ranked team. Later, in the Sunset Regional Championship game, Gary recovered a fumble late in the game to again secure the victory and advance the team to a 12-0 mark.
Photo Gallery: #8 Boubon Fumble Recovery    QB Sack

NICK CONLEY
WR/DB, 6-0, 180, DeSales High School (Walla Walla, WA)

Nick, the younger brother of Vandal freshman QB T.J. Conley, is a 3-sport star for the DeSales Fighting Irish. As a starting wide receiver he totaled 222 career receptions, setting the all-time state career mark for 11-man football, while his 46th career touchdown reception, coming in the state championship game, tied for second all-time in state history. He was voted a First Team AP All-State selection (in '02 and '04) and earned 1st Team All Conference honors. Aside from football, Nick was honored in February as an Academic All Star by the local media...his 4.0 grade point average ranks him number one in his class. Nick is on the principal's list in DeSales' chapter of the National Honor Society.
Photo Gallery: TD Reception

TYREL FENWICK
DE, 6-6, 240, Eagle High School (Boise, ID)

An extremely raw talent, Fenwick brings a nice combination of size and agility to the Vandal roster. He played high school football for just his senior season at Eagle, although he played basketball throughout. He has an outstanding frame and with work has the physical potential to be a force on the college football gridiron.

BLAKE FERRAS
OL/DL, 6-4, 265, Leland High School (San Jose, CA)

A solid prospect in the trenches, Blake was named a Second Team All-BVAL (Mt. Hamilton Division) defensive lineman in '04. He recorded 79 tackles (48 solo), 4 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery for Leland High in 2004. At the Eugene NIKE Camp he was the second fastest defensive tackle (5.16 second 40-yard dash), recorded the third fastest shuttle among DTs (4.81 seconds), and had the highest vertical leap of the DT unit (26.6 inches).
Photo Gallery: NIKE Camp    #53 DT

JAKE FREEDEN
RB/WR/DB, 6-0, 170, Kentlake High School (Kent, WA)

A steady 2-way contributor for Kentlake throughout the 2004 season, Jake played extensively for the Falcons as both a runningback and defensive back. Offensively, as a junior, he split featured back duties and ended the season gaining 251 yards in 23 carries while playing in 9 games and scoring 4 TDs. As a senior he had 79 carries gaining 219 yards rushing on the year, 59 receiving, and 81 yards in returns. FUN FACT: An athlete with wheels, as a junior against Kent-Meridian Jake gained 64 yards rushing, 58 on one carry...against Spanaway Lake had a long of 63 yards....against Enumclaw he gained 49 yards on 3 carries, with a long of 45 yards.

LUKE HARDWICK
K, 6-0, 175, O'Dea High School (Seattle, WA)

An area that Idaho will be looking to make some serious improvement in '05 will be kicking. Voted a 1st Team All-Metro League kicker by The Seattle Times for the O'Dea High School Fighting Irish, Hardwick connected on 42 of 46 PAT attempts (91% rate), tops in the Metro Conference (his 42 conversions eclipsed the #2 kicker by 15, who had 31 attempts total). His 42 conversions ranked 8th in Western Washington. He was also good on 2 field goal attempts of 25 yards.

MAX KOMAR
WR/DB, 5-10, 180, Auburn Riverside High School (Auburn, WA)

For a kid that didn't play high school football until his junior year, Max has been impressive. Voted a 1st Team AP All-State selection at defensive back for the Auburn Riverside High School Fighting Irish (2004). Voted a 1st Team All State selection at Defensive Back by Washington Preps (2004). Voted the South Puget Sound League's Defensive Back of the Year (2004). Voted a 1st Team All SPSL selection at wide receiver (2004). Named the #32 prospect in the state of Washington in 2005 by Washington Preps. Named to the Star Times All Area team. Anchored a defense that allowed only about 40 yards passing per game, and intercepted four passes, returning one for a TD. Reportedly runs a 4.5-40, and was picked by The Seattle Times as a "Rising Star" going into the '04 season after becoming a "big playmaker" as a junior in '03.
Photo Gallery: All Area Team Profile

NATE MARTIN
DL, 6-1, 270, Hoquiam High School (Hoquiam, WA)

Former Vandal assistant coach Todd Hoinness took over the reigns at Hoquiam High School in 2002, and this fall Idaho could be welcoming in one of his top linemen in Nate Martin. Voted a 1st Team All SW2A League Evergreen Division selection as BOTH a defensive lineman AND an offensive lineman, Nate could get a serious look at defensive tackle this fall.

MATT MAURER
LB/S, 5-11, 200, Mountain Home High School (Mountain Home, ID)

One of THREE high school linebackers believed to be walking on at Idaho this fall. Matt was voted a First Team All-State selection as a junior (137 tackles, five deflections, four sacks and three fumble recoveries) in 2003. As a senior in 2004 he battled injuries, though in 2 of the first 3 games rushed for over 125 yards and eclipsed 15 tackles in each game. With fellow walk-on Brian Resso and Idaho signee Matt Shamion, Maurer may become the 3rd linebacker with All-Idaho honors to be joining the Vandals in '05. Aside from athletics, in 2005 Matt also earned All Academic honors in the Southern Idaho Conference (carrying a grade point average of 3.5 or better).
Photo Gallery: Roster Picture

GEREMY NELSON
LB/FB, 5-11, 230, Nampa Christian High School (Nampa, ID)

We have very little information on Geremy, other than that he lined up on both sides of the line of scrimmage for the Nampa Christian Trojans. A multi-sport athlete, we know that Geremy earned baseball honors as a 1st Team All-2A Western Idaho Conference selection by The Idaho Statesman (2005). He's the younger brother of another Vandal walk-on, Gerald Nelson, who walked on last fall.

BRIAN RESSO
LB, 6-2, 215, Sandpoint High School (Sandpoint, ID)

Arguably one of the best high school seniors playing football in the state of Idaho in 2004, his list of football honors is stunning. In 2004 he was voted a 1st Team All-Idaho selection and was named the Inland Empire League's Defensive MVP (recorded 106 tackles, blocked 3 kicks, recovered 2 fumbles, forced 2 fumbles and snagged an interception), and was named to the Idaho Spokesman-Review All North Idaho First Team. This summer (July 9th, Bronco Stadium) he will be playing in the 2005 Idaho All-State All-Star Game, which pits Team Treasure Valley (the top players, all classifications, from the Treasure Valley) against Team Idaho (the top players from the rest of the state, all classifications). Resso will also be playing in the Calam Shrine North/South All-Star Classic on July 16th at the University of Idaho Kibbie Dome. As a junior in 2003, he garnered 2nd Team All-Idaho honors (LB) and earned All Conference honors. This spring Resso, a double winner in the throws at the District I Meet of Champions, launched the discus 158-5, topping the record of 156-2, and his throw of 51-10½ held up by 2 feet in the shot put. At state, he took 3rd in the discus and 6th at the shot.
Photo Gallery: #20 Red    Between series

STEVEN SHAW
OC/OG, 6-2, 260, College of the Siskiyous (CA)

Admittedly, we don't have much information on Steven. He's a graduate of Hermiston High School and is believed to have 2 years of eligibility remaining at Idaho if he walks on this fall. As we get more information about Steven, we will update his bio.

James "J.J." SHAWVER
TE/LB, 6-2, 220, Kimberly High School (Kimberly, ID)

A 2-way starter for the Kimberly High School Bulldogs in 2004, J.J. was invited to play in the 28th Annual North-South Shrine Football Game this spring where he helped his South Team defeat the North 28-7. This winter J.J. was a starting forward on the Bulldog basketball team. He's a solid student who has selected the UI for academic reasons, and will take his shot at the Vandal football team this fall (word on the street is that with his size and agility he could be given an early look at TE).

JESSE WILHELM
OL, 6-2, 285, Mead High School (Spokane, WA)

A co-captain as a senior in 2004, Jesse was Mead's lone returning starter on the offensive line going into the 2004 season. He was a 1st Team All-Greater Spokane League selection as a junior (2003) AND senior (2004). He earned 2nd Team All-State honors (Division 4A) as a senior, and honorable mention All State honors as a junior. He was also nominated for this year's 4A All-Star game, but will miss it as he continues to recover from a season-ending injury he suffered late in the '04 campaign. Undaunted, the offensive tackle will take his game to the collegiate level at Idaho, and has the size (6-2, 285) and strength (reportedly benches over 400 pounds) to develop into a force up front.
Photo Gallery: Spokesman-Review Image


ALL Vandals Top Stories