Bronco Blitz: Sixteen seniors making final home appearance

ccripe@idahostatesman.comNovember 30, 2013 

Charles Leno Jr. stepped in as Boise State's starting left tackle in 2011 and has blocked for Kellen Moore, Joe Southwick, Grant Hedrick and three 1,000-yard running backs. The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder from Oakland, Calif., leads this year's senior class with 37 career starts, and is tied with punter Trevor Harman with 47 appearances.

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com

  • It's all on the line ... or is it?

    More than 8 hours before the Boise State football team's regular-season finale kicks off at Bronco Stadium, a game equally important to the Broncos' Mountain West championship hopes begins in Logan, Utah.

    If Utah State beats Wyoming at noon, the Aggies win the Mountain Division and advance to the league championship game at Fresno State. If Utah State loses, Boise State can clinch the division by beating New Mexico at 8:21 p.m.

    The Broncos probably could watch pieces of the Utah State game because of their late kickoff, but they expressed little interest this week.

    "I really won't (watch)," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "We'll obviously know the score."

    The Broncos are in this predicament because of last week's loss at San Diego State. They are 4-0 against the Mountain Division, but 1-2 against the West Division - and all conference games count in the standings, as they do across college football.

    Utah State is 3-1 in the division, with a loss to Boise State, but 3-0 against the West. The Aggies played UNLV, San Jose State and Hawaii; Boise State drew Fresno State, San Diego State and Nevada. The crossover opponents were assigned randomly, according to the conference office, and they will switch in 2015.

    Petersen took some heat from fans for saying many of his players didn't know that losing to San Diego State could keep the Broncos out of the Mountain West title game, but senior wide receiver Aaron Burks said the team worries about little other than its own games.

    "If we lose the game, we don't really look at, 'How can we still … ' " Burks said. "If we handled it on our end, we wouldn't have to worry about it."

    — Chadd Cripe

— Boise State football coach Chris Petersen tells his players "the days are long, but the time is short."

The freshmen look at him like he's crazy. The seniors, who gave him that same look four years ago, get it.

"The first year was the slowest year ever," senior wide receiver Aaron Burks said. "After that, it's just tumbleweed - just rolling."

Boise State will say goodbye to 16 seniors Saturday night at Bronco Stadium, the seniors' last game on the blue turf. The team has a longstanding tradition of turning Senior Day into a rollicking celebration of the guys who were tough enough, disciplined enough and talented enough to survive five years in the program.

Of the 21 high school players who signed with the Broncos in 2009, only 12 made it to this day.

"If you can stick it out, I think it says something about the man you are and will be for the rest of your life," center Matt Paradis said. "Obviously, this year isn't up to our standards or anyone's standards. We still left a mark on the program."

This year's seniors, in numerical order:

14 • TREVOR HARMAN • P

Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.

Degree: Communication (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 47/0

Notable: Contributed as a kickoff specialist and punter. Ranks fourth in school history with a 42.3-yard punting average.

Special teams coach Scott Huff says: "Trevor has a big leg and is extremely hard-working on and off the field."

16 • JOE SOUTHWICK • QB

Hometown: Danville, Calif.

Degree: Business (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 36/20

Notable: Led Broncos to a Mountain West title and bowl win in 2012. Ranks second in school history in completion percentage (69.3) and interception ratio (2.06 percent).

Quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith says: "Joe is a great example of the QB being the coach on the field. His command of our offense is as good as any QB I've coached."

17 • GERALDO BOLDEWIJN • WR

Hometown: Amsterdam

Degree: Business (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 42/19

Notable: Became a full-time starter as a senior and has responded with 34 catches, 13.9-yard average.

Offensive coordinator Robert Prince says: "Geraldo has had his most productive year as a receiver and was also one of our most dominant blockers."

18 • AARON BURKS • WR

Hometown: Grand Prairie, Texas

Degree: Communication (Dec. 2012)

Games played/started: 45/3

Notable: Deep threat has averaged a team-best 17.9 yards per catch this season.

Offensive coordinator Robert Prince says: "Aaron brought the big-play ability to our receiving corps."

32 • JONATHAN BROWN • LB

Hometown: Alameda, Calif.

Degree: Business (May 2013)

Games played/started: 32/5

Notable: Injuries and illness derailed a promising career. Started the season opener this year.

Linebackers coach Bob Gregory says: "Jon Brown has been a great senior leader for us. He has battled injuries and adversity and has always come out strong and positive."

34 • KIRBY MOORE • WR

Hometown: Prosser, Wash.

Degree: Communication (Dec. 2012)

Games played/started: 44/11

Notable: He has 108 career catches for 1,063 yards and is the only senior who played in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.

Offensive coordinator Robert Prince says: "Kirby has been one of the most sure-handed receivers in his four-year career."

37 • EBO MAKINDE • S

Hometown: Phoenix

Degree: Media production (May 2013)

Games played/started: 30/4

Notable: Outstanding special-teams player missed most of this year with a torn pectoral muscle.

Defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake says: "A gifted athlete who worked extremely hard in the offseason and was able to play multiple positions in the secondary."

43 • RICKY TJONG-A-TJOE • DT

Hometown: Amsterdam

Degree: Communication (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 41/21

Notable: Two-year starter ranks fifth on the team with 48 tackles this season.

Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski says: "Ricky is a man of few words, and when he does speak it's usually in Dutch. He has come a long way from when he was a freshman, to becoming the dominant player he is today."

48 • KHARYEE MARSHALL • DE

Hometown: Phoenix

Degree: Psychology (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 37/11

Notable: First-year starter ranks second on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss.

Defensive line coach Andy Avalos says: "Kharyee is an intelligent man who always finds the positive even in the face of adversity."

56 • DUSTIN KAMPER • LB

Hometown: Meridian

Degree: Communication (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 20/0

Notable: Walk-on grabbed an interception this season.

Linebackers coach Bob Gregory says: "Dustin Kamper has been an outstanding Bronco. He is an awesome kid, a very studious and hard-working individual who never misses a beat."

62 • CHRIS TOZER • OG

Hometown: San Jose, Calif.

Degree: Communication (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 11/0

Notable: Junior college walk-on is a backup guard who starts on the field-goal team.

Offensive line coach Chris Strausser says: "Just a workhorse. An extremely hard-working, loyal kid. The group would not be the same without him."

65 • MATT PARADIS • C

Hometown: Council

Degree: Business and economics (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 33/25

Notable: Converted defensive lineman became a two-year starter and All-Mountain West center.

Offensive line coach Chris Strausser says: "I consider myself extremely lucky that we stole him from the defense."

76 • JAKE BROYLES • OL

Hometown: Henderson, Nev.

Degree: Electrical engineering (May 2014)

Games played/started: 19/4

Notable: Looked like a multi-year starter before season-ending toe injury in 2011.

Offensive line coach Chris Strausser says: "He never totally recovered from that toe injury his sophomore year. When he played and was healthy for us, he played really well."

77 • SPENCER GERKE • OG

Hometown: Boise

Degree: Criminal justice (Dec. 2012)

Games played/started: 40/19

Notable: Offensive line's utility man settled into a full-time role at left guard this year.

Offensive line coach Chris Strausser says: "He bleeds Bronco. He worked his tail off. There were days early on that we didn't think he would play. And now he's started a lot of games."

78 • CHARLES LENO JR. • LT

Hometown: Oakland

Degree: Criminal justice (Dec. 2013)

Games played/started: 47/37

Notable: Three-year starter who continued the tradition of outstanding play at left tackle.

Offensive line coach Chris Strausser says: "Fits right in at that left tackle spot. And a lot like Daryn (Colledge), he never missed a practice, never missed a game."

87 • GABE LINEHAN • TE

Hometown: Banks, Ore.

Degree: Marketing (May 2013)

Games played/started: 37/16

Notable: His five-TD season in 2011 hints at what might have been if not for hamstring (2012) and ankle (2013) injuries.

Tight ends coach Scott Huff says: "Gabe has played at a high level for a long time and given a lot back to the community while overcoming adversity."

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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