The Boise State football team began building a cornerback for the future last week.
True freshman Donte Deayon made his college debut in Saturdays loss to San Diego State and will play a regular role on defense the rest of the season, coach Chris Petersen said.
Deayon was the No. 3 cornerback Saturday replacing injured sophomore Bryan Douglas and played on three special teams units.
Its unusual to pull a player off the redshirt track so late in the season, but personnel losses forced Petersens hand.
We really put the ball in his court, Petersen said. If a guy is completely opposed to it, we would not do that. I still think it will really help him for next year. Its a long career here. It goes quickly, but theres a lot of football, so who knows what happens. You could redshirt him down the road. Hopefully that doesnt happen to him. Hes good enough to not need that year.
Deayon played 10-15 snaps on defense last week, Petersen said. He has been on the coaches radar for weeks, but they wouldnt have needed him if the secondary had remained intact.
Deayon (5-foot-9, 143 pounds), of Rialto, Calif., set an Inland Empire career record with 24 interceptions in high school.
Hes been ready to go for a while, Petersen said. Weve been excited about him. Wed watch him play on scout team and say, Man, this guy is not only going to be a very good player, hes a good player now. Weve been saying that for a few weeks, that if we had to use him wed have no problem with that.
Boise State (7-2 overall, 4-1 Mountain West) plays Saturday at Hawaii (1-7, 0-5).
ATKINSON OUT FOR YEAR
Senior defensive tackle Mike Atkinsons college career ended with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the second half of Saturdays game. He ranks sixth on the team with 37 tackles. He also has 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and the game-winning interception return for a touchdown against BYU.
Atkinson overcame injuries and suspensions earlier in his career to become a star this season.
Hes one of those guys hes been through some hard things, hes grown a lot, hes figured some things out and hes playing some really good football, the best of his career, Petersen said. Its another bump in the road. Thats how he has to approach it.
Atkinson, a Canadian, was the 20th pick of the CFL Draft last spring and hopes to make a run at the NFL. His rehab could last into the beginning of the 2013 NFL season.
There will be somebody who takes a chance on him, Petersen said.
The Broncos list junior Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe as the starting nose tackle this week, sliding over from the other tackle spot. Senior Darren Koontz moves into the other starting spot. Backup nose tackle Greg Grimes missed the San Diego State game with an injury but Petersen did not rule him out this week. True freshman Armand Nance is the only other tackle who has played regularly this season.
VAN GINKEL DISMISSED
Redshirt freshman kicker Jake Van Ginkel has been dismissed from the team and wont return, Petersen said.
Van Ginkel, a scholarship recruit who never panned out, was suspended for the bowl trip in December and didnt make the 105-man roster for fall camp. He rejoined the team when the roster expanded for the start of school but was suspended again last week.
Boise State already has recruited his replacement. Tyler Rausa of Riverside (Calif.) City College accepted a scholarship offer last week and joins the team in January.
Petersen did not provide any information on the status of the other suspended players safety Lee Hightower, tight end Hayden Plinke, defensive back Eric Agbaroji and long snapper Chris Roberson.
Boise State has lost five times in the past five seasons and eight times in Petersens seven-year tenure. That can make it difficult for the players to turn their focus to the next opponent after a game like the 21-19 loss to San Diego State.
We dont lose too much around here, senior wide receiver Chris Potter said. When it does happen, people seem to kind of hang onto it a little longer. In the locker room, especially in the past, weve had to learn that next Saturday comes around quick.
One of the most disappointing aspects of the loss, Potter said, was that it came at home. The Broncos have lost four home games in the past 14 seasons, including two in the past year.
One of our big things is protect The Blue, Potter said. Theres so many guys in the past who have worked so hard to do that and theyve passed that legacy on. When you have that tradition passed on to you and youre part of the team that loses, it does sting.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat