Bo's Blog: Boise State, Boston College have strong Texas influence

By Bo Carter

Boise State and Boston College each are trekking hundreds of miles for the eighth annual SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, several student-athletes on both teams are making holiday homecomings for the Dec. 26 tussle at Dallas’ historic Cotton Bowl Stadium.

The Eagles have a solid contingent of Texans including the likes of RB Christian McStravick of Katy, OL Thomas Shelmire of Dallas and nearby football-famous Highland Park High School, OL Tyler Vrabel of Houston suburb Bellaire, and punter Grant Carlson of Houston suburb Missouri City.

The Broncos also have made recruiting hauls in the Lone Star State with WR Octavius Evans of Center, SLB Brandon Hawkins of Georgetown, WR CT Thomas of the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, QB Jaylon Henderson of Kingwood, RB Robert Mahone of Prosper, WR Akilian Butler of Dallas and suburban West Mesquite, WR Stefan Cobbs of Keller, and NT Scale Igiehon of Del Valle on the 2018 roster.

 All those youngsters will have ample family and friends supporting them at this year’s bowl, and players such as Boston College’s Shelmire actually have competed at Cotton Bowl Stadium in high school playoffs.

They will be treading literally on hallowed collegiate ground at the site (when it was Fair Park Stadium) of one of the first college bowl games Jan. 1, 1922, in the Dixie Classic between Texas A&M and Centre (Ky.) when the Aggies edged the Prayin’ Colonels 22-14.

And yet another legacy for the Texans competing on Dec. 26 is the cavalcade of Heisman Trophy recipients who have played regular-season or bowl tussles at Cotton Bowl Stadium, which replaced the former Fair Park Stadium in September 1930.

From the state of Texas, Dallas’ Doak Walker of SMU and Shelmire’s storied Highland Park HS program (Doak Walker’s father Ewell Walker was superintendent of the HP school system), 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Allen and Oklahoma, 2017 Heisman victor Baker Mayfield of Austin, Tyler’s Earl Campbell of the Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel of Kerrville, Billy Sims of Oklahoma and Hooks, Texas, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III of Copperas Cove, and Notre Dame’s Tim Brown and TCU’s Davey O’Brien – both standouts at Dallas Woodrow Wilson High School – all had some of their better collegiate days toward eventual Heisman honors at the historic facility.

John David Crow of Texas A&M, Ricky Williams of Texas, Paul Hornung of Notre Dame, Sam Bradford and Jason White (both of Oklahoma) and the famed Roger Staubach of Navy and later the NFL Dallas Cowboys all played college contests at Cotton Bowl Stadium and left a Heisman Trophy legacy for hundreds of other collegians on the gridiron. 1989 Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware of Houston just missed playing at the 92,000-seat facility but competed just down the road at SMU’s Ownby Stadium before it was razed.

And the names of other players who hold CB Stadium college records is a Who’s Who of collegiate and pro greats.

Some prime examples of these record-holders are RB Roosevelt Leaks of Texas with a stadium-best 342 yards rushing against SMU in 1973, NFF College Hall of Fame RB Dicky Maegle of Rice with an astonishing 24.1 yards per carry, 11 rushes for 265 yards and three TDs against Alabama in the 1954 Cotton Bowl Classic and QB Case Keenum of Houston with 532 yards passing against Penn State in the 2012 Heart of Dallas (predecessor of the SPFRB) Bowl.

Yes, that list of NFF College Hall of Fame members and other notables who have stepped foot and starred on Cotton Bowl Stadium turf provide a ton of inspiration and football history for both the Texans and all student-athletes on both the Broncos and Eagles 2018 squads.