Donte Deayon collected interceptions at an exceptional rate in high school, yet many people figured he was too small to perform like that in college.
He has grabbed 17 interceptions in 39 games as a Boise State cornerback, and now NFL scouts and draft analysts likely will spend the next four months saying he’s too small to succeed in the NFL.
Deayon (5-foot-9, 155 pounds) is the lightest player on the Broncos’ roster. That hasn’t stopped the senior from defending successfully against much larger receivers or prevented him from being a reliable tackler on the perimeter.
“I’ve just got to continue to be a playmaker and make plays for the team, no matter any weight I do it at,” he said.
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Deayon has 35 tackles in nine games this season, including three for loss. He has four interceptions and seven pass breakups.
For his career, he leads all active FBS players with .44 interceptions per game. His career total of 17 picks ranks third in Mountain West history and fifth in school history.
Deayon has played only three seasons worth of games because he was pulled off the redshirt track in the second half of his true freshman season and has battled some injuries. He underwent knee surgery in October, which forced him to miss three games.
“When he’s been out there, he’s played well,” defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said.
Deayon will play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 23. The game will provide an opportunity for him to show he can defend some of the better NFL prospects in the country.
“He’ll have to put some weight on, and he will,” Yates said. “If his job is football, to where he can focus in on that day in, day out, he’ll be fine. As far as his playmaking ability, he can make plays. If I was an NFL team, I would give him a chance.”
Editor’s note: Three of the most productive players in Boise State football history will play their final college game Wednesday. We’ll spotlight each of them over three days, including Tuesday (WR Shane Williams-Rhodes) and Wednesday (S Darian Thompson).
POINSETTIA BOWL: BOISE STATE VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
▪ When: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday
▪ Where: Qualcomm Stadium (71,500, grass), San Diego
▪ TV: ESPN
▪ Radio: KBOI (670 AM) and KTIK (93.1 FM)
▪ Records: Boise State (8-4, 5-3 Mountain West); Northern Illinois (8-5, 6-2 Mid-American)
▪ Coaches: Boise State, Bryan Harsin (20-6, second year; 27-11, third year overall); Northern Illinois, Rod Carey (31-11, third year)
▪ Series: First meeting
▪ Vegas line: Boise State by 8 1/2
▪ Tickets: $39, $61 or $78 at BroncoSports.com/bowlcentral. Tickets about $10 more through SanDiegoBowlGames. com.