Boise State’s Kaniho and Habibi-Likio get NFL free agent offers

Former Boise State running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio conducts a drill during pro day at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on March 30.  Habibi-Likio signed a free agent contract with the 49ers.

Former Boise State running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio conducts a drill during pro day at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on March 30. Habibi-Likio signed a free agent contract with the 49ers.

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Wide receiver Khalil Shakir became the last Boise State player to hear his name called in the NFL Draft when the Buffalo Bills selected him in the fifth round on Saturday.

Shakir was the only Boise State player drafted, but the weekend isn’t over for the Broncos or several Idaho and Idaho State players.

Seven former Boise State players are hoping to land free agent contracts: offensive linemen Jake Stetz and Uzo Osuji, long snapper Daniel Cantrell, running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio, wide receiver Octavius ​​Evans, punter Joel Velazquez and defensive back Kekaula Kaniho.

Here’s a look at the players in the state who have signed as undrafted free agents so far.

Boise State

RB Cyrus Habibi-Likio, 49ers — Habibi-Likio isn’t going far from home to start his NFL career. The native of Palo Alto, Calif., signed with the San Francisco 49ers – a team he worked for on April 13. The 5-foot-11, 219-pound player joined Boise State last year after being traded from Oregon, where he racked up 21 rushing touchdowns in four seasons.

Habibi-Likio finished his only season at Boise State No. 2 on the team with 374 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and No. 4 with 23 catches for 213 yards.

DB Kekaula Kaniho, Cardinals — Kaniho was the first of Boise State’s undrafted players to land a free agent contract. He will join Habibi-Likio in the NFC West after signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

The 5-foot-11, 188-pound native of Kahuku, Hawaii, set a Boise State program record by playing 60 games over his five-year career. He was selected three times for All-Mountain West and finished his career with 217 tackles, five sacks and six interceptions. He also scored four touchdowns during his career, including one on a punt return.

Mate 1 Daniel Cantrell — The former Bishop Kelly High star in Boise has been invited to minicamps with the Seattle Seahawks and Las Vegas Raiders. Cantrell had been Boise State’s leading long snapper on punts and field goals since 2018.

OL Jake Stetz — The 6-foot-2, 311-pound inside lineman had a tryout with the Denver Broncos scheduled for this weekend and one with the Seattle Seahawks next weekend. The former extra started 21 games during a five-year career at Boise State. He started games at three different positions on the offensive line last year, including four games at center, before missing the regular-season finale with a knee injury that required surgery.

Idaho State

WR Tanner Conner, Dolphins — Conner was a track and field star in high school, but he dreamed of running on the track and playing football in college. Idaho State was the only school he found that would give him the opportunity, and he turned it into a free agent deal with the Miami Dolphins.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound receiver has led the Bengals in at least one statistical category in each of the past three seasons.

In 2019, he led Idaho State with eight touchdown receptions and was second on the team with 48 catches and 791 yards. He led the team with 34 catches and 685 yards in a six-game season dropped in the spring of 2021 due to COVID-19, and was the Bengals’ top wide receiver again last fall after had 42 passes for 735 yards and four touchdowns. .


DL Noah Elliss, Eagles — Elliss’ deal with the Eagles includes a $10,000 signing bonus and $240,000 guaranteed, according to multiple reports. He joins his older brother, Christian, who was undrafted last year but signed with the Minnesota Vikings and is now with the Eagles.

Noah, a 6-foot-4, 367-pound nose tackle, has played 21 games inside the Vandals defensive line over the past three seasons. He finished his career with 93 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and a fumble recovery.

Elliss’ brothers, Kaden and Christian, were both linebackers at Idaho before moving to the NFL. Kaden was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the seventh round of the 2019 draft. Their father, Luther, also played in the NFL and spent five years as a defensive line coach in Idaho before joining the staff of Utah this spring.

LB Tre Walker, Commanders — Walker, a three-time All-American, has signed with Washington Commanders. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound center linebacker finished his career at Idaho with 305 tackles, leading the Vandals with 105 last season and 138 in 2019. He made 54 tackles in the shortened 2021 spring season playing just four games.

This story was originally published April 30, 2022 7:48 p.m.

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Ron Counts is the Boise State football beat writer for the Idaho Statesman. He’s from Virginia and covered James Madison University and the University of Virginia before joining the Statesman in 2019. Follow him on Twitter: @Ron_BroncoBeat

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