Idaho’s Elliss, Idaho State’s Conner land free agent deals


Former Idaho State wide receiver Tanner Conner has signed a free agent deal with the Miami Dolphins.

Wide receiver Khalil Shakir became the latest Boise State player to hear his name called in the NFL Draft when the Buffalo Bills picked 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 players from Idaho and Idaho State.

Seven former Boise State players hope to land free agent deals in the next couple of days: 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 in-state players who have signed as undrafted free agents so far.

Idaho State

WR Tanner Conner, Dolphins — Conner was a track star in high school, but he dreamed of running 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 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 that was played in spring 2021 because of COVID-19, and was again the Bengals’ top pass catcher last fall after hauling in 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’s joining his older brother, Christian, who wasn’t drafted last year but signed with the Minnesota Vikings and is now with the Eagles.

Noah, a 6-foot-4, 367-pound nose tackle, appeared in 21 games on the interior of the Vandals’ defensive line in 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 on to the NFL. Kaden was picked 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 the defensive line coach at Idaho before joining the staff at Utah this spring.

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

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

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