Boise State beckons for Rocklin quarterback

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Far be it for Jimmy Laughrea to be jealous of all the attention Dano Graves has received in recent weeks. Laughrea will simply join all the folks applauding the Folsom High School quarterback. Laughrea would have loved to have had a senior season such as the one Graves enjoyed. Graves threw 62 touchdown passes and ran for 23 scores in leading the Bulldogs to a state championship. “His stats were off the charts,” Laughrea said. “I know he worked his butt off to be a great player.” Laughrea would love to have all the headlines and accolades that have gone to Graves. On Jan. 12, Graves was presented with the U.S. Air Force MaxPreps National Player of the Year award. As much as Laughrea would have loved to have been in Graves’ shoes this past season, the Rocklin High senior is not complaining. He is content with what he achieved and what he has earned. On Wednesday morning, Laughrea will take a seat at a table and have a pen in his hand. He will sign a national letter of intent and accept a scholarship to play football at Boise State University. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound quarterback may not be the national player of the year, but he is going to one of the best college football programs in the country. Graves wishes he could say the same. “I got what I wanted,” Laughrea said. “I wanted a scholarship to a big-time school and I got it.” Boise State offered Laughrea a scholarship last May, and he made a verbal commitment to the Broncos after paying a visit to the university to meet head coach Chris Petersen and his staff. Petersen did not need much of a sales pitch to hook Laughrea, who was also pursued by universities such as Sacramento State and San Jose State. Laughrea was already ready to commit. “I knew from the start. I wasn’t a hard choice,” he said. “There was no one else I really considered.” Insider information assisted the Broncos’ courtship of Laughrea. Two ex-Rocklin players, Chase Baker and Holden Huff, play at Boise State and told Laughrea everything he needed to know. “Chase was the trailblazer. He was the pioneer,” Rocklin head coach Greg Benzel said of Baker, a junior defensive tackle with the Broncos. “It’s nice for us to have a Boise State connection.” Huff, who redshirted last season, and Laughrea connected often for the Thunder in 2009. Laughrea threw for 2,635 yards and 22 touchdowns. Huff caught 41 passes for 989 yards and 10 scores. Laughrea had just as many touchdown passes in his senior season, when he threw for 2,527 yards His final year at Rocklin did not go as Laughrea had hoped, especially after a broken left arm prevented him from playing in the Division II state championship game against Servite as a junior. Laughrea did not finish Rocklin’s 29-22 loss to Granite Bay on Sept. 3 after sustaining a concussion. “I got hit a bunch of times,” he said. “After I got slammed down on my head, the game was a blur.” A second concussion ended Laughrea’s career with the Thunder and Rocklin’s season. Laughrea was injured in the third quarter of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff loss at River City on Nov. 11. Two concussions in 10 weeks can be a cause of concern, but Laughrea is not the least bit worried. “It’s not a big deal. The second one was a cheap shot,” he said. “It was bad luck. Some people said I was soft. The people saying that are not going anywhere. They’re going to hate on you.” When he was not seeing stars, Laughrea showed time and again why Boise State was hot on his trail. He is the complete package with a strong arm, mobility and a don’t-think-I-can’t swagger. “He was kind of Brett Favre-ish. He could make big play when we needed it,” Benzel said. “He’s to the extreme in the terms of talent. He’s got a great opportunity ahead of him. I’ll be rooting for him.” Once he signs a letter of intent, Laughrea can begin writing the next chapter of his career. “I can’t wait,” he said, “to get up there.”