Two Vandal Walkons Earn Scholarships

Congratulations to former walkons LEE SMITH (wide receiver out of Everett, WA) and JOEL JONES (long snapper and tightend out of Longview, WA), both of whom were recently awarded football scholarships for the upcoming season. Both played significant roles last fall at Idaho, and both will be counted on to be key contributors in 2006. recently learned that two redshirt freshmen walkons from last season's team earned scholarships for the upcoming season. We would like to salute wide receiver LEE SMITH and long-snapper JOEL JONES on their awards and for putting in the hard work required to earn a schollie as a walkon. Both played prominant roles for Idaho last fall, and both will be expected to continue as key contributors when the 2006 season opens with the Vandals on the road in East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans this fall.

Lee Smith
6-0, 193, Redshirt Sophomore
Wide Receiver
Everett, WA
Everett High School

Smith started one game (the season opener against Washington State) and played in 8 last year as a redshirt freshman for the Vandals. A quick athlete with good hands, Smith ended the season as Idaho's #6 receiver with 17 receptions for 254 yards with a long of 32 yards and an average of 31.8 yards per catch. His best game on the year came in Idaho's 3-point loss to Louisiana Tech where Smith hauled in six receptions for 97 yards. In high school Smith played runningback for Everett High football coach Paul Lawrence, a former Vandal football player. It was Lawrence that thought Smith could play football at the Division 1-A level at Idaho, and that Smith would make a solid "go-to" wide receiver for the Vandals. Lawrence told the Daily Herald of Everett (September 1, 2005), "Our coaches always said the best receiver we had on the team was Lee Smith. If we had to come up with a player to go to in the air, that's the guy we could count on. He could catch the ball in a crowd and he could run with it." According to the report, every kid that Lawrence has sent to Idaho has eventually started for the Vandals, and Smith got it done in the season opener. As a senior for Class 4A Everett, Smith was named a First Team All Wesco South League selection (runningback), a First Team All Wesco South return specialist, and a First Team All Wesco South defensive back. As a junior he was awarded an Honorable Menion defensive back. Smith saw plenty of action this spring, and will be expected to be a major contributor going into fall.

Jones started the first 7 games of 2005 as Idaho's long-snapper.

Joel Jones
6-1, 217, Redshirt Sophomore
Long-Snapper / Tightend
Longview, WA
Mark Morris High School

Jones joined the Vandal football program in 2004 as a walkon and redshirted the season. As a high school senior in 2003 Joel earned honorable mention in The Daily News All-Area Team as a defensive back for Class 3A Mark Morris High School. During his redshirt season Mark worked with the linebacking corps. During the 2005 off-season however, Joel made the transition from linebacker to tightend, and also began working as Idaho's long-snapper. He eventually won starting duties during fall camp as Idaho's long-snapper, and handled the job extremely well in the 2005 season opener against Washington State. He teamed up with grayshirt freshman punter T.J. Conley to form a young but effective punting unit. Jones started the first seven games of the season at long-snapper, then ruptured a tendon in his hand during the Fresno State game. He could have easily won the "Mr. Hustle" award, getting down field regularly to down punts and bring down the ball carrier. He will be expected to be back to full form and competing again for the starting LS job in the season opener at Michigan State.

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