Idaho Press-Tribune

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard

BOISE STATE FOOTBALL BSU's Ajayi ready to run

Healthier, lighter running back expects bigger role this season

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Links

Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:53 am

BOISE — With a knee that was not yet 100 percent and admittedly about 10 pounds overweight, Boise State running back Jay Ajayi somehow still rushed for 548 yards on 82 carries last season as the backup.

His second career carry went for 71 yards and his 6.68 yards-per-carry average for the season was the best single-season mark in school history for running backs with at least 75 attempts.  

Not bad for a freshman backup still recovering from injury.

“That’s the crazy thing about it,” Ajayi said. “From a statistical standpoint, I was able to do those things being heavy and being in a knee brace, so I’m just excited for what this season holds, kind of being cut loose a little. It’s kind of like the reins have been taken off.”

D.J. Harper has moved on to the San Francisco 49ers after rushing for 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns last season as a senior. And while Ajayi has yet to officially be named the starter, he’ll undoubtedly get a much heavier workload this fall.

Despite the instant and somewhat surprising success, Ajayi is a candidate for a breakout season this fall as a sophomore. The knee brace is gone, the ACL tear from 2011 is completely healed and Ajayi has lost between five and 10 pounds of extra weight that he accumulated last season.

“I wasn’t 100 percent at all,” Ajayi said of last season. “I’m just now getting to 100 percent. I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling fast. Last year my knee was still hurt. I still felt pain. It wasn’t as strong, but now it’s starting to get there.

“I was in a knee brace. I felt heavy. I felt held back by my weight and the knee brace, so now they’ve allowed me to get out of the knee brace and I’m at a weight that I can play at that’s not as stressful on my knee. So I just feel like I can do a lot more this year.”

Boise State coach Chris Petersen has already heard the outside hype and expectations surrounding Ajayi, saying at the Mountain West media days in Las Vegas that, “everybody wants to anoint him as the next Walter Payton already and he’s had a few carries.”

But he continued his praise of his running back by saying, “I’m excited. Jay has a lot of potential.”

Ajayi headlines a running back group that features junior college transfer Derrick Thomas — a 6-foot, 208-pounder who earned praise from coaches the first two days of fall camp — and returning sophomore Jack Fields.

From Ian Johnson to Jeremy Avery to Doug Martin and Harper, the Broncos have had plenty of recent success churning out quality running backs year after year. If Ajayi can build off what he did as a freshman, he could be the next name added to that list.

“We’ll see with Jay,” offensive coordinator Robert Prince said. “He did have a really good freshman year, but we want to see him grow and see how he does in his second year. He definitely has to be the leader of that group and we’re counting on him.

“We’re expecting big things out of Jay.”

It appears he’s expecting big things out of himself, as well.


Mataele out with academic issue: Defensive tackle Tutulupeatau “Deuce” Mataele has yet to practice and Petersen said he’s being held out due to an academic issue.

“Deuce has an academic issue he’s working through and I don’t know a time table on him,” Petersen said. “As soon we know anything, we’ll let everyone know.

“We’ll see what happens. … We’ve got great coaches and we have some good talent there. No matter how this thing turns out, we’ll have some guys ready to go.”

Mataele transferred to Boise State from Mt. San Antonio College last winter and Petersen noted during the spring that the defensive tackle had made an impact. He was listed as a starter at defensive tackle in the depth chart provided by Boise State in the Mountain West media guide.

Bronco bits: Construction has begun on the new HD scoreboard inside Bronco Stadium. As of Tuesday afternoon about nine steel beams serving as the early parts of the frame had been placed in position atop the new Bleymaier Football Complex. The scoreboard is expected to be completed no later than the third home game this fall. … Boise State’s game at Utah State on Oct. 12 will kick off at 6 p.m. It was originally scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. kick. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

© 2015 Idaho Press-Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Check out these other popular articles

  Crusaders tumble down to No. 6 seed
They were on the verge of securing a valuable first-round bye, but now the Northwest Nazarene men’s basketball team has to enter next week’s GNAC tournament as the sixth seed — although that could be a good thing considering the matchup.
  Caldwell wins 4A for first-ever team title
POCATELLO — It was a busy day in Pocatello for several area wrestlers at the final day of the Idaho State Wrestling Championships in Holt Arena Saturday, nine of whom will return to their respective towns with some impressive hardware.
  Intent behind parental rights bill questioned
NAMPA — In southern Canyon County, there's a small, windswept cemetery on a hill overlooking the Snake River. There are around 600 people buried in Peaceful Valley Cemetery, owned by the Followers of Christ, a religious group that practices faith healing. More than 200 of those buried are children. invites you to take part in the community conversation. But those who don't play nice may be uninvited. Don't post comments that are off topic, defamatory, libelous, obscene, racist, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. We may remove any comment for any reason or no reason. We encourage you to report abuse, but the decision to delete is ours. Commenters have no expectation of privacy and may be held accountable for their comments.
Comments are opinions of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Idaho Press-Tribune. Please view our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for further details...

Welcome to the discussion.


Online poll

John Wustrow

Assistant Sports Editor

John is the assistant sports editor and covers high school sports

B.J. Rains

Boise State beat writer

B.J. covers Boise State athletics

Bruce Mason

Sports Reporter

Bruce covers College of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene athletics