Cameron Hartsfield has played in a lot of games, doing a lot of his work in a supporting role, but he is in line to make an impact like never before this season for the Boise State football team.
A redshirt junior, Hartsfield has played in all but one game the past two seasons, primarily on special teams, making 12 total tackles. In the Broncos’ safety rotation, he’s due for a lot more snaps on defense this season.
“I’ve really been impressed with Cam Hartsfield. He’s made plays, and that’s one of the things you want to see out there, a guy that consistently does it,” coach Bryan Harsin said.
At the conclusion of spring practices, Harsin called Hartsfield “probably one of the most improved players.” It’s what the Broncos need, even with senior Chanceller James and junior Dylan Sumner-Gardner the presumptive starters. James and Sumner-Gardner made impacts as the top backups in the past, as did Kam Miles, now working with the outside linebackers.
Sumner-Gardner’s status for Sept. 3’s opener at Louisiana has not been clarified by Harsin. He was suspended for the Poinsettia Bowl and pleaded guilty to a drug charge in February.
“I think I’ve gotten better since the springtime,” Hartsfield said. “ Us three, we’re getting better every day.”
Regardless of who gets the majority of the snaps, Hartsfield said he, redshirt freshman Evan Tyler and sophomore Skyler Seibold are giving the veterans a run for their money.
“We’re all competitors. We all building off each other every day,” Hartsfield said. “Chance, DSG, they’re great teachers, and they can also learn things from us.”
Hartsfield also credits the player he backed up last season, Darian Thompson, for aiding his development, showing him a few pointers on how to create turnovers. He also should be a key special teamer again (he blocked six punts his senior year of high school in Texas).
At safety, he’s found a comfortable spot after playing at cornerback and nickel his first two seasons.
“He’s taken a big step up for us,” safeties coach Gabe Franklin said. “We can only play two, maybe three of those guys at a time, but we’ll need that depth, and he’s certainly going to be a factor in there.”
Trying to help fill the void of someone with the accomplishments of Thompson (now with the New York Giants) is a tall task. Harsin and Franklin have said “iron sharpens iron,” pointing to the competition and the tough offense going against them every day.
Hartsfield has taken pride in being a playmaker for the defensive backs, battling the defensive line and linebackers to create the most turnovers in fall camp.
“I think we’re winning right now,” he said.