Making the Grade

Congratulations to the 10 JC transfers who made the grade this spring! We are waiting to hear final news on just 2 transfers who are working to complete their eligibility requirements. A couple out of this group may start, a couple may surprise, and we'll have more depth then we've had defensively in years. Welcome aboard to those that have made it, and the best of luck to those still finishing things up!

In a 2002 recruiting class weighted heavily with JC transfers, alot of speculation has been made over how the class would shape up. Afterall, when you go the JC route as aggressively as we did this year, you can't afford to have most not even make it to campus. Well, the news is good for the Vandals, as 10 JC players made the transition to the University of Idaho, most of whom have been on the Moscow campus this summer (the list includes cornerback Ben Allen out of Ricks College who signed with Idaho in June). There are just 2 athletes, Ryan Atoe and Rod Bryant, who are still working on completing their eligibility requirements. Below is a breakdown by position of our newest team members (I've included Ryan and Rod in this list, and will update it as soon as we get word on their results):

Interior Defensive Line
Jason Jones, 6-4, 325, Junior
Johnny Parra, 6-3, 310, Junior
Ryan Atoe, 6-2, 314, Senior (Finishing eligibility requirements)

Defensive Ends
Kody Kraus, 6-3, 228, Junior
Kelly Nead, 6-4, 236, Junior

Defensive Backs
Benjamin Allen, 6-0, 195, Junior
Darryl Murphy, 5-11, 195, Junior
Robert Ortega, 6-1, 200, Junior
Rod Bryant, 6-1, 180, Junior (Finishing eligibility requirements)

Running Backs
Shung Peoples, 5-10, 182, Junior
Malfred Shaw, 5-11, 211, Junior

Wide Receivers
Cedric Thompson, 5-8, 175, Junior

Below is an alphabetical summary of each player, complete with photos if available. The team is starting to take form, and most of them stayed in Moscow this summer to train. They have alot of work ahead of them, but we finally appear to have good depth on both sides of the ball (and will be in even better position if Ryan and Rod make the grade).

If nothing else, this is shaping up to be one of the most interesting fall campaigns for the Vandals in years. They've quietly brought in some outstanding athletes to help improve overall team depth, and a new defensive coaching staff to rectify last season's defensive struggles. Now, its a matter of hard work and determination as this team tackles a very competitive early season schedule.

We look forward to watching this year's team, and we think you will too.

Benjamin Allen
Defensive Back
6-0, 195 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: Ben, a Defensive Back at Rick's College last year, is the newest member of the 2002 recruiting class. He joined the Vandals in June and has been training in Moscow all summer. Statistically last season, he ended the year ranked #2 on the team in interceptions with 5, had 17 pass deflections, and his 48 tackles on the year ranked him sixth on the team. He earned 1st Team All Region 18 Honors and was named to the 2nd Team All Western States Conference Team. A graduate of Boise's Centennial High School, he's a superb addition to Idaho's defensive backfield.

Talifaia "Ryan" Atoe
Defensive Line
6-2, 314 pounds, Senior

BIO: If your looking for defensive power to build around, Ryan Atoe is a really good place to start. His list of accomplishments in the JC ranks is unbelievable. This 1st Team JC All-American, 1st Team All-California Region 1, and Conference MVP fought off double and triple team blocks last year to earn these awards. He benches 385, squats 530, cleans 395, has a 36 inch vertical leap, and runs the 40 in 4.9 seconds.

If elegible, he's is one of our picks to be a prominent member of the defensive line rotation.

Rod Bryant
6-1, 180 pounds, Junior

BIO: Rod Bryant is exactly the type of cornerback the defensive staff was in pursuit of this recruiting season: Tall, agile, fast, and physical. During the 2001, as a second 2nd year starter at cornerback, Rod registered an impressive 50 tackles and 8 pass break ups. But its his physical style of play, and approach to the game, that made this Honorable Mention All-Conference athlete most intriguing.

Jason Jones
Defensive Line
6-4, 325 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: Idaho hit the recruiting trail hard looking to boost its interior defensive line for next season, and recruits simply don't come much bigger than Jason Jones, a JC prospect recruited by several universities this year, including NC State and Toledo. If you're a pure stats junky, we'll tell you now that he had solid but not incredible, earth shattering stats this year: 13 total tackles (4 assisted, 9 unassisted), 2 sacks, and 3 tackles for loss equaling -3yds. However, hidden in these stats is the fact that his exceptional size routinely made him the target of double and triple team blocking schemes. More importantly, Jason helped anchor a Pasadena team which this season went 10-1, won the Mission North Conference, and beat there opponents by an average margin of 42-17.

He's been training in Moscow this summer, and should be a major contributor this season.

(Pasadena CC)

Kody Kraus
Defensive End
6-3, 228 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: A major component of last year's Ricks College football team (10-1) was hard-nosed defender Kody Kraus, a 2-year starter at linebacker who will likely find a spot on the Vandal defense at defensive end, where his combination of good size and speed (national junior college track meet, high hurdles) will be an asset. He's been on campus all spring and has looked strong at both DE positions.


Darryl Murphy
5-11, 185 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: A 2-time All-Western State Conference, Pacific Division honoree, Darryl Murphy has the size (5-11, 185), speed (4.40 - 40) and experience (five pass interceptions in 2001) to have an immediate impact at the next level. One of the first recruits to sign with Cable's new defensive staff this year, he's been on the Idaho campus this summer and is one of our picks to play a prominent role in this year's Vandal defense.

Kelly Nead
Defensive End
6-4, 236 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: One thing you could say for sure....Kelly Nead has been around the block. Kelly started his playing career back in 1997 with Ricks, then took 2 years off to complete a church mission, then returned in 2000 to complete his JC career as a TE (his brother was also on that Ricks team and plays for BYU). Kelly was recruited by Temple University (where he excelled during spring and summer drills and was projected to be a starter at tight end), but returned to Idaho before the season began due to family obligations. To help fortify the defensive front (and utilize his agility), Kelly is projected as a defensive end for the 2002 Vandal campaign.

Robert Ortega
Defensive Back
6-1, 200 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: At 6-1, 200 pounds, Robert Ortega has the appearance more of a safety than a cornerback. However, as a 2 year starter at cornerback on a Chaffey team which this year went 10-1, Ortega has more than enough agility to play the position effectively. In 2001, on top of his 3 interceptions, Robert broke up 18 passes and logged 42 tackles...good enough to earn him recognition on the All-Foothills Conference Team.

Johnny Parra
Defensive Line
6-3, 310 pounds, Junior

BIO: Johnny Parra is an ex-marine and was a pre-season JC All-American candidate going into the 2001 season at Southwestern College. He's made a name for himself in the JC ranks as a defensive tackle to be reckoned with, and he knows how to take take care of business in the trenches. In 2001 Parra had impressive stats, which include 76 tackles (17 solo), 9 tackles for loss, 4 quarterback sacks, and 33 quarterback hurries.

If he's even half this productive for the Vandal defense this year, he'll probably be hailed as one of the biggest finds of this recruiting season.

(Southwestern College)

Shung Peoples
Running Back
5-10, 182 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: In January of this year, Shung Peoples enrolled at the University of Idaho and practiced with the team this spring. The addition of Shung to the Vandal backfield is critical this year, as it was one of 3 positions targeted by the staff as needing an infusion of depth and talent. At Long Beach CC Shung split time as a running back, and ended his career with 115 carries and 493 yards (2 touchdowns). Shung was named one of the Mission Conference's Players of the Week following a 19 carry, 105 yard performance. Shung has good speed (clocking 4.40 seconds in the 40 yard dash), which also makes him a threat coming out of the backfield on passing routes. He's shown his versatility on the field, having returned 10 kicks during his career for 207 yards.


Malfred Shaw
Running Back
5-11, 211 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: If Idaho football coach Tom Cable was looking for a durable back to "hit the ground running" next season (especially if starting running back Blair Lewis is unable to return from the ACL injury he suffered last season), then Malfred Shaw was a pretty good start. Through 9 games in 2001, Shaw rushed for 1,413 yards (157 yards per game, 6.4 yards per carry), had 82 yards receiving, and scored 12 touchdowns in Sierra's single-back set. On 3 occasions last season (that we've been able to confirm), Shaw carried the ball 30 times or more, racking up 217 yards rushing on one occasion, and 260 yards rushing on another. He ended the season a first-team all Bay Valley Conference selection. As a freshman in 2000, Shaw put up 897 yards rushing while sharing running back duties in Sierra's single back offense. In highschool, Shaw had back-to-back 1,000-plus-yard seasons, earning him co-Offensive Player of the Year honors both seasons in California's Gold Empire League.


Cedric Thompson
Wide Receiver, Kick/Punt Returner
5-8, 175 pounds, Junior
Training in Moscow this summer

BIO: The numbers compiled by College of the Canyons return specialist Cedric Thompson during the 2001 season are remarkable. He averaged 31.8 yards per kickoff return (18 kickoff returns for 572 yards), and 13 yards per punt return (36 punts). He returned 3 kickoffs for touchdowns, and 1 punt for a 70 yard touchdown. As a receiver on this year's College of the Canyons team, which mid-season ranked ranked No. 13 in the nation by JC Grid-Wire and No. 7 in Southern California, Cedric caught 21 passes for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not glamorous, but effective and instrumental in helping the Cougars average almost 39 points per game this year. Cedric Thompson is certainly one recruit we look forward to seeing a lot of this season, whether it be on offense or on special teams.

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