This Day In Sports: A Bronco and a Vandal in the 1st round

April 22, 2010: Cornerback Kyle Wilson becomes the second player in Boise State history to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft when the New York Jets make him the 29th overall pick. Analysts were surprised Wilson lasted that long, but Jets coach Rex Ryan was thrilled. Ryan insisted the Jets take him despite the fact they already had star cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and newly-acquired Antonio Cromartie.

In his NFL debut before 78,127 fans at New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday Night Football, Wilson had two pass breakups and recovered a Baltimore fumble. The Jets would go on to make the AFC Championship Game at Pittsburgh, and Wilson later called it one of the highlights of his career. He would spend five seasons in New York and one with the New Orleans Saints, making 189 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

Wilson is the only Bronco who has played in two of the team’s Fiesta Bowls. He was a freshman on New Year’s Day in 2007 when Boise State upended Oklahoma. And he was a senior when the Broncos stymied TCU in January, 2010, contributing a tone-setting sack of Horned Frogs quarterback Andy Dalton. In his college career, Wilson logged 159 tackles and 11 interceptions, including two pick-sixes in 2009. He was also one of the best punt returners in Boise State history, returning 63 kicks with a 12.6-yard average. Wilson ran back three punts for touchdowns as a junior in 2008, one a 90-yarder against Fresno State.

Idaho’s Mike Iupati also became the second Vandal ever to be chosen in the first round that night, going to the San Francisco 49ers as the 17th overall choice. It was the first time two players from Gem State colleges had ever gone in the first round. The 6-5, 331-pound consensus All-American was the highest draft pick from the University of Idaho since the late Ray McDonald was taken 13th overall by the Washington Redskins in 1967.

Iupati, who gave an emotional keynote speech Saturday night at the Idaho Youth Sports Commission Dinner and Auction in Boise, was raised in American Samoa and didn’t move to the mainland until after junior high school. Iupati overcame lots of obstacles to land his scholarship at Idaho, and by the time he was a senior he was leading the Vandals to their first winning season in 10 years and a thrilling victory in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl. He had a distinguished 11-year NFL career, playing five seasons for the 49ers, four for the Arizona Cardinals and two for the Seattle Seahawks.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *