Murphy: Wilson's course a road map for Boise State's Pettis

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    Murphy: Wilson's course a road map for Boise State's Pettis
    Copyright: © 2010 Idaho Statesman
    Published: 05/02/10


    Shawn Raecke / Idaho Statesman
    Boise State Bronco's wide receiver Austin Pettis celebrates after scoring one of his four touchdowns against the Idaho Vandal on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 at Bronco Stadium.

    Senior wide receiver Austin Pettis could leave Boise State as the school's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.


    School record: 189, Don Hutt (1970-73)

    Pettis' total: 158 (63 in 2009)

    Needed to break: 32

    Receiving yards

    School record: 2,751, Ryan Ikebe (1993-96)

    Pettis' total: 1,887 (855 in 2009)

    Needed to break: 864

    Receiving touchdowns

    School record: 30, Hutt

    Pettis' total: 29 (14 in 2009)

    Needed to break: 2
    Kyle Wilson is with the New York Jets - and that is why the former Boise State cornerback was on the mind of nearly every Bronco senior-to-be at Friday afternoon's testing and running session on campus.

    NFL scouts, armed with their stopwatches, were on hand for the 40-yard dash. Boise State staff also conducted for internal use the assortment of agility, jumping and strength tests the NFL Scouting Combine has made famous.

    Wilson ran two sub-4.4 second times in the 40 at a similar event before his senior season. He did 25 reps of 225 pounds at the combine this year and followed that with a 4.42 40 during his Boise State pro day.

    Last week, the Jets made him the No. 29 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

    "A lot of the DBs are comparing their drills to Kyle's," wide receiver Austin Pettis said. "It definitely set the standard."

    Pettis is among a handful of Boise State players with the best chance to follow Wilson to the NFL. ranks Pettis as the No. 2 wide receiver prospect in the 2011 draft.

    That's why Friday's drills were so important to the 6-foot-3, 201-pounder. He was out to prove he has the necessary speed to justify a high pick in next year's draft.

    Pettis said he was timed in the high-4.4s to low-4.5s, similar to times he posted last year. "I just wanted to improve on them a little bit more," Pettis said.

    Pettis said the lower-leg fracture he suffered against Nevada last year "hindered" his performance slightly and he is still getting comfortable. Pettis rushed his return for the Fiesta Bowl, where he had a pivotal fourth-down catch in the victory against TCU. After the game, he began a more extensive rehab process designed to have him 100 percent for the season. "I know as my health gets better, those numbers will improve," he said.

    The injury was one of many reasons Pettis did not seriously consider entering the NFL Draft or even submitting paperwork for the evaluation process that is open to draft-eligible underclassmen. After discussing the situation with his mom and Boise State coach Chris Petersen, Pettis decided that "it wasn't the best idea" to even test the NFL waters.

    "I was coming back for my senior year, so it didn't matter," Pettis said. "The NFL is such a long ways away. If you're not going to be a guaranteed top pick, there's no reason to leave. You might as well get to finish your education and take the opportunity to get yourself that much better."

    Which is where Wilson re-enters the equation.

    Boise State players saw what happened to cornerback Orlando Scandrick (fifth round) and wide receiver Jeremy Childs (undrafted) when they left school early. They also saw what happened to Wilson (first round) when he stuck around for his senior season. Wilson was projected as a third-rounder had he entered the draft after his junior season.

    "You can just see how it pays off for people like Kyle," said Pettis, who expects to graduate with a communications degree next spring.

    He knows scouts and NFL personnel love his hands, his size and his soon-to-be four years of extensive playing time in the Broncos' offense. He knows there is more they want to see, tangible and intangible.

    "Speed and leadership," said Pettis, who could set Boise State career marks in catches, touchdown catches and receiving yards."(Kyle) was doing a lot of leadership things and it helped in his all-around game. That's what coaches look for in the next level, not just your all-around play but your character."

    Then there's that little matter of a potential national championship run. The Broncos are poised to begin the season in the Top 5 and could become the ultimate BCS buster - no small factor for returning to school.

    "We got a great opportunity this year. I'm pretty sure every single person and even some seniors would want to play an extra year. Everyone was willing to come back for sure," Pettis said. "An undefeated season. Two of those in a row. I think that will be a nice little thing to put on our resume."

    That's something that even Wilson can't claim.

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