Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs journal: Jeremy McNichols hopes to continue NFL success of Boise State RBs

Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols rushed for 1,709 yards and 23 TDs last season, and 1,337 and 20 the year before.

Associated Press

Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols rushed for 1,709 yards and 23 TDs last season, and 1,337 and 20 the year before.

TAMPA — Jeremy McNichols, the Bucs' fifth-round pick, sounds a lot like another Bucs running back from Boise State — he and Doug Martin are both 5 feet 9 and from California, with prolific careers for the Broncos.

But McNichols drew a comparison to another promising Boise State running back: Jay Ajayi, who was a fifth-round pick two years ago after leaving school early and rushed for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns last season with the Dolphins.

"I feel like he was as ready as Jay when he came out," said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, who played quarterback for Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter when Koetter coached at Boise.

McNichols had huge numbers in the past two years at Boise — 1,709 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2016, after 1,337 yards and 20 scores as a sophomore. Add 88 receptions in the past two years, and he shows why he earned a nickname.

"As a player, he brings that versatility — how you use him, we called him 'The Weapon,' " Harsin said. "He was a guy we could do a lot of things with."

McNichols had surgery this spring to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, but Koetter said he's hopeful he will make a healthy return by the start of training camp.

"He can do a little bit of everything," Koetter said. "Really good pass blocker. Every running back in college, that's their Achilles' heel. … Just a solid, three-down player."

Big addition

Even in the seventh round, the Bucs can draft with urgency, and they sent next year's seventh-rounder to move up 14 spots and draft former Utah and USC DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, a massive 348-pound prospect.

Tu'ikolovatu, 26, is one of the draft's more colorful characters. He started his college career in 2009, spent three years on an LDS mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints then spent two months living in his car in Los Angeles last summer after transferring to USC for his final season.

"He's a productive player, a run-stuffer," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. "We went through a patch (last season) where we felt like we needed to get bigger inside. We've addressed that."

That last name isn't too hard to pronounce: TOO-ee-koe-loe-VAH-too. Or "Stevie T," to make it easy.

Another trade

Late Friday night, the Bucs traded up into the third round, dealing their fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Jets to land LSU LB Kendell Beckwith, who was a three-year starter with the Tigers but is recovering from a torn ACL suffered against UF in November. The Bucs had great luck two years ago in drafting in the fourth round LSU LB Kwon Alexander, who has started 28 games in two seasons. Beckwith could be healthy around the start of the 2017 season and is expected to compete for the Bucs' strongside linebacker job.

Still busy

After the draft, the Bucs stayed active, lining up at least a dozen undrafted rookie free agents to join the 90-man roster. Tampa Bay has a ton of long-shot success stories — TE Cameron Brate, WR Adam Humphries and RB Peyton Barber in recent years.

New names signing with the Bucs: Antony Auclair, TE, Laval (Canada); Riley Bullough, LB, Michigan State; Maurice Fleming, CB, West Virginia; Korren Kirven, OL, Alabama; Christian Kuntz, LB, Duquesne; Sefo Liufau, QB, Colorado; Greg Mabin, CB, Iowa; Paul Magloire, LB, Arizona; Jonathan Moxey, DB, Boise State; Thomas Sperbeck, WR, Boise State; Jesus "Bobo" Wilson, WR, Florida State.

Bucs journal: Jeremy McNichols hopes to continue NFL success of Boise State RBs 04/29/17 [Last modified: Sunday, April 30, 2017 12:15am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  3. Bucs-Vikings: What if O.J. Howard and Dalvin Cook had both been taken?

    Bucs

    So what if the Bucs had taken neither O.J. Howard nor Dalvin Cook with the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft?

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) makes a reception as Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (39) tackles him Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Wish the Bucs had taken Dalvin Cook? Read this

    Bucs

    It will happen sometime Sunday afternoon.

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the ball in the second quarter Monday night, Sept. 11, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.  (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
  5. Bucs-Vikings: What could make Tampa Bay's defense elite again

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The last time the Bucs had a top-five defense also happens to be when they last appeared in the postseason.

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates after recovering a fumble by Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]