From 14-day tryout to starting kicker in barely a month: Boise State’s Dalmas ‘blessed’ by quick success

Boise State’s Jonah Dalmas kicks a field goal from the hold of Connor Riddle during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Hawaii on Nov. 21, 2020 in Honolulu.

BOISE — Jonah Dalmas was given a 14-day tryout last summer to try and win a spot as a kicker on the Boise State football team.

After three or four days, Boise State’s coaches had seen enough.

The former Rocky Mountain High School soccer star quickly landed a spot on the roster and just a few months later earned the starting spot as a true freshman.

“The feeling of being on The Blue is indescribable,” Dalmas said Monday in his first time speaking with reporters since he joined the team last summer. “Every single opportunity I’m able to be on The Blue and represent the city and my family is a huge blessing.”

Dalmas grew up in Boise and played both football and soccer at Rocky Mountain. He was named the 2015-16 Gatorade Idaho Soccer Player of the Year and earned numerous other soccer accolades.

After graduating in 2017 he left that September for a two-year LDS mission to Riverside, California. He remembers the exact date he returned — Sept. 10, 2019. On his mind was playing collegiately in either football or soccer.

Utah Valley was interested in him joining the soccer team, but his family persuaded him to take a shot at playing football for Boise State. During the summer of 2020 he got in touch with his former high school at Rocky Mountain, who helped put him in touch with the right folks at Boise State.

Boise State’s coaches asked him to make a video of himself kicking at specific spots on the field. He made the video, crossed his fingers and sent it back. Coaches liked what they saw, and offered him a 14-day tryout.

“It was just kind of a blindfolded experience because I didn’t know anything,” Dalmas said. “All I knew was I had to go out and prove that I could be that guy that could be in that position and have that job.

“I was blessed enough to come in and show them my ability and like the third or fourth day into the tryout they put me on the team.”

That would have been a cool enough story in itself even if Dalmas never actually saw the field. But the local product had the opportunity he needed — and ran with it. He was so impressive during fall camp that he beat out Joel Velazquez and FCS transfer Johnny Messina for the spot.

Not many true freshmen come in and win field goal kicking duties barely a month after being on campus. Being away on an LDS mission for two years after previously having more success as a soccer player makes his story even cooler.

“I’m not going to lie I was definitely nervous,” Dalmas said of his first extra point attempt in the season opener against Utah State. “But when the snap goes off, I feel like that when my muscle memory, my adrenaline kind of kicks in and takes over because I’m use to kicking a ball my entire life. I started playing soccer when I was four. So that adrenaline just kind of pumped in as soon as the ball was snapped and I wasn’t nervous anymore and I just tried to execute.”

Dalmas did just that. He made all six PAT attempts in the first game against Utah State, and went 7 for 7 on PATs in the second game at Air Force. He made his first field goal attempt, a 39-yarder against BYU in the third game, and went on to make his first 26 kicks — 22 extra points and four field goals — before an extra point was blocked at Hawaii in the fifth game of the season.

“I think I did really good,” Dalmas said. “I was lucky enough to have really good coaches and really good teammates and as soon as came in after that 14-day tryout, my team loved me up and took me in as family. We say ‘Bleed Blue’ and that’s what bleed blue is. It’s a family, it’s a brotherhood and that allowed me to be confident to go out and get the job done as a freshman.”

For the season Dalmas made 30 of 31 extra points and seven of eight field goals. After missing his first field goal of the season in the Mountain West championship game against San Jose State, he responded by connecting on two 50-plus yard field goals later in the half.

“Jonah did an unbelievable job as a freshman,” new special teams coach Stacy Collins said.

But Dalmas knows a new coaching staff will try to create competition for his spot. Nothing will be handed to him and he’ll have to go earn the job again just like he did last year.

And that’s perfectly fine with him.

“Just continuing to keep that confident mindset,” Dalmas said. “I had a really good freshman season and I am grateful I was able to perform that well but I want to improve and continue to get better and make sure every time I step on that field I know I’m confident it’s going to go through those pipes.”

Dalmas and the Broncos will finish spring practices with the annual Spring Game on April 10. Limited tickets remain at BroncoSports.com.