BOISE — Safety Taylor Loffler began his third year with the Boise State football team Monday by participating in a fall practice for the first time.
Loffler spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons rehabbing his right knee. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament during his senior high school season in 2010. He tore it again in the first week of spring practice with the Broncos in 2012.
He returned to the field at full strength this past spring.
Sitting out of football for two years was really hard, Loffler said. Its my passion. Its really tough. Now Ive got a chance, and Ive got to try to prove myself to the coaches.
Loffler, who graduated from high school in Kelowna, British Columbia, was one of the most intriguing members of the 2011 recruiting class. Hes 6-foot-3, 212 pounds an imposing presence in the secondary with strong athleticism.
He sent his recruiting video to a bunch of colleges, and the Broncos invited him to camp. They offered a scholarship shortly after his showing there and coaches were eager to get him to Boise even after the torn ACL.
He was the 2010 British Columbia High School MVP for what he accomplished before his injury. He made 88 tackles and four interceptions as a safety, threw for 1,732 yards and 20 touchdowns as a quarterback, rushed for 814 yards and 16 touchdowns and returned five kicks for TDs (two punts, three kickoffs).
Coaches got their first real glimpse of that player in the spring, when Loffler was one of the top performers from the inexperienced part of the roster.
He has spent the first three days of fall camp practicing with the newcomers and select veterans in the afternoons. Its his first fall camp, too, but all that time spent in meeting rooms and on the sideline helped him.
Hes way ahead of the freshmen, and Im looking forward to him making plays out here this fall camp, defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. ... The most impressive thing I saw with Taylor was when he was injured again, just his ability to fight through and stay in meetings and stay mentally focused. Thats so hard on these guys. I was just so impressed with his ability to stay locked in in meetings and know the defense mentally, anyway. And now the challenge is for him to take it to the field.
The Broncos are deep at safety with returning starters Jeremy Ioane, a junior, and Darian Thompson, a sophomore. Sophomore Dillon Lukehart and senior Ebo Makinde provide experienced backups, and redshirt freshman Chanceller James is a prospect for the future.
Loffler, a redshirt sophomore, likely will fit somewhere in the middle of that pack.
His chance to make a significant impact likely will come on special teams.
Thats my main goal, to get as many special teams as I can, he said, and hopefully get in on defense a little bit.
His background indicates hell do anything thats needed on a football field.
In addition to his many roles in high school, his first taste of football came Down Under in Australian Rules Football.
He was born in Canada and raised primarily on a ranch outside Billings, Mont. He also spent three years in Australia, from ages 9 to 12. He began playing American football when the family returned to Montana and spent his final three years of high school in Canada.
Australian Rules Football was his first taste of contact sports, but he prefers the American version.
This is what I want to do for a while, he said.
In fact, he could be a Bronco for four more years. Hes eligible for a sixth year of eligibility because he has missed two seasons with injuries, Petersen said.
First, though, Loffler needs to get his career started.
Were just really hopeful he can get on the field and get some significant time without any setbacks, Petersen said. ... Hes in a good spot now.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat