I met with the entire Boise State football coaching staff Wednesday evening to discuss the Broncos’ recruiting class. I’ll use those interviews to produce two blogs on the class and the overall state of the team. Today, the focus is on the defense. On Friday, the focus will be on the offense.
Embedded in this post are short video clips from the coaches. If you’d prefer to watch the full interviews, they are attached above. On defense, I’d recommend line coach Steve Caldwell’s video as the best.
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2015 RECRUITING CLASS
The Broncos figured they were mostly set on the defensive line, where they have three senior tackles returning after missing last season and only lost one player to graduation (end Beau Martin), and at linebacker, where they have a ready-made two-deep for two spots with juniors Tanner Vallejo and Ben Weaver, senior Tyler Gray and sophomore Joe Martarano. But the secondary was dangerously shorthanded last year — so much that defensive coordinator Marcel Yates abandoned his plan for a 4-2-5 base. This class of eight defensive backs gets the Broncos close to full capacity and should put the 4-2-5 back on the table. Several of the new DBs likely will play this year. “We got faster,” Yates said (click on the video above for more).
Overview: Boise State had a full load of 15 defensive linemen on scholarship for 2015 going into this recruiting class, which presented a problem. Defensive line coach Steve Caldwell wanted to start building his line of the future now because he’s losing six tackles and an end after this season. But to do that, the Broncos would have to use scholarships they’d prefer to use elsewhere. The coaches discussed the issue throughout the recruiting cycle (click on the video above for Caldwell’s take) and decided in January to take two project tackles, knowing they have time to build their bodies. Matt Locher and Sam Whitney, who were committed to FCS schools, came in on the final recruiting weekend and committed. The Broncos also expect to add end Durrant Miles this year when he returns from his mission.
DL Matt Locher, 6-3, 245, Fr., Los Alamitos (Calif.) HS
The skinny: Locher was incredibly productive as a sophomore defensive end/outside linebacker. He missed most of his junior year and moved to middle linebacker as a senior to prevent opponents from running away from him all the time, Caldwell said (click on the video above for more). Locher was named the Orange County Register Defensive Player of the Year. He previously committed to Cal Poly.
DL Sam Whitney, 6-3, 235, Fr., Folsom (Calif.) HS
The skinny: Whitney was offered as a grayshirt but Caldwell told him to expect to arrive in August. The former Sacramento State commit was touted to coaches as a “Boise State guy” — and Caldwell agreed. “I compare him to Beau, the way he plays,” Caldwell said (click on the video above for more).
Overview: The Broncos’ goal at linebacker was to build the position’s foundation for 2017 and beyond. With Weaver, Vallejo and Martarano eligible through 2016, they didn’t need instant impact. That’s one reason they recruited Whimpey — he’ll return from his mission in 2017 to add some maturity to a group that projects to lose three seniors that year. “All of a sudden, we’re going to need some really good linebackers,” coach Bryan Harsin said (click on video above).
LB Drew Berger, 6-1, 225, Fr., Coeur d’Alene HS
The skinny: If a scholarship hadn’t opened unexpectedly (Chris Santini transferred) and the Broncos hadn’t added a missionary, Berger could have been the lone linebacker in this class. He committed last summer. “Drew Berger has been the center foundation of the recruitment at the linebacker position for more than a year’s time,” linebackers coach Andy Avalos said, “being an in-state guy and a guy we think improves us immediately.”
LB Marquis Hendrix, 6-1, 225, Fr., Trinity Catholic HS (Ocala, Fla.)
The skinny: Santini decided to transfer after the Fiesta Bowl. The Broncos spent about a month searching for the right guy to fill that scholarship, scouring Southern California, Texas and Florida. They added Florida to the list because coaches already were traveling there to visit wide receiver commit Bryan Jefferson. “Marquis is the guy we kept coming back to,” Avalos said. “He’s a highly productive, intelligent football player.”
LB Riley Whimpey, 6-2, 205, Fr., San Clemente (Calif.) HS
The skinny: Whimpey moved to California for his senior year and quickly became a team captain and shattered the school record for tackles in a season (172). He won a slew of awards and attracted recruiting attention but not many scholarship offers, perhaps because he wouldn’t be available to join a team until 2017. That timing fit the Broncos’ needs perfectly.
Overview: The Broncos have nine returning, scholarship defensive backs and four are entering their senior seasons. This was a critical class for them to restock the roster and also find players that fit the style of play taught by Yates and defensive backs coach Julius Brown. “I think we hit it on the head,” Brown said (click on the video above for more).
CB Ladarryl Blair, 5-11, 180, Fr., South Oak Cliff HS (Dallas)
The skinny: Blair played quarterback as a high school junior and wide receiver as a senior. In between, Yates and Brown watched him do some drills as a cornerback and made him one of the earliest commits in this class. They called Harsin from practice to say they wanted to offer Blair a scholarship (click on the video above for more).
CB Raymond Ford, 6-0, 175, R-Jr., Riverside CC (Los Angeles)
The skinny: The Broncos tried to find a junior college cornerback to join in January. Their first commit fell through because of academics. Ford, who was a highly rated recruit out of high school, joined the team a week into the spring semester.
CB Tyler Horton, 6-1, 175, Fr., Edison HS (Fresno, Calif.)
The skinny: Horton signed with Boise State despite late offers from Miami and Florida. He’ll be the tallest cornerback on the team. “He’s a true 6-foot corner,” Brown said (click on the video above for more).
S Darreon Jackson, 6-1, 185, Fr., Derby (Kan.) HS
The skinny: The former Texas Tech commit chose Boise State over the Big 12 because of how much he enjoyed his visit. He didn’t want to leave, he said. “You guys will love him,” Brown said (click on the video above for more).
S Kam Miles, 6-2, 207, R-So., Butler CC (Dallas)
The skinny: Miles redshirted at Texas A&M under Yates, then got dismissed from the program and went to a junior college. He and fellow safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner played together in high school and are two of the highest-rated high school players ever to land at Boise State.
CB Donzale Roddie, 5-11, 175, Fr., Paramount HS (Compton, Calif.)
The skinny: A former Utah commit, Roddie was a cornerback/wide receiver prospect.
S Evan Tyler, 6-2, 180, Fr., Eleanor Roosevelt HS (Corona, Calif.)
The skinny: Tyler fits into the mold of current free safety Darian Thompson and past free safety George Iloka in terms of body type. Tyler’s dad is a defensive backs coach, too. “Evan’s a long, long athletic guy,” Brown said (click on the video above for more).
S Damion Wright, 6-1, 185, Fr., Bishop Mora Salesian (Fontana, Calif.)
The skinny: Like Blair, Wright has a background playing quarterback. He racked up 3,513 total yards as a high school junior.
32 Rondell McNair, 6-2, 242, R-Sr.
97 Austin Silsby, 6-3, 221, R-So.
14 Kaleb Hill, 6-1, 229, R-Fr.
33 Gabe Perez, 6-4, 231, Jr.
8 Kamalei Correa, 6-3, 247, Jr.
Jabril Frazier, 6-4, 225, R-Fr.
Durrant Miles, 6-4, 220, Fr.
69 Tyler Horn, 6-5, 273, R-Sr.
90 Justin Taimatuia, 6-0, 287, R-Sr.
58 Robert Ash, 6-3, 286, R-Sr.
98 Antoine Turner, 6-1, 290, R-Sr.
55 Tutulupeatau Mataele, 6-3, 294, R-Sr.
40 Armand Nance, 6-0, 301, Sr.
96 Elliot Hoyte, 6-4, 271, R-Jr.
94 Sam McCaskill, 6-3, 250, R-Jr.
99 Dereck Boles, 6-2, 294, R-Fr.
48 David Moa, 6-3, 249, R-Fr.
92 Paul Semons, 6-3, 249, R-Fr.
Matt Locher, 6-3, 250, Fr.
Sam Whitney, 6-3, 235, Fr.
36 Tyler Gray, 6-4, 229, Sr.
51 Ben Weaver, 6-0, 235, R-Jr.
44 Darren Lee, 6-1, 224, Jr.
20 Tanner Vallejo, 6-1, 228, Jr.
7 Joey Martarano, 6-3, 234, R-So.
43 Joe Provenzano, 5-11, 205, R-Fr.
95 Leighton Vander Esch, 6-4, 215, R-Fr.
Drew Berger, 6-1, 220, Fr.
Marquis Hendrix, 6-1, 225, Fr.
Riley Whimpey, 6-2, 205, Fr. (going on mission)
5 Donte Deayon, 5-9, 152, Sr.
Raymond Ford, 6-0, 175, R-Jr.
30 Jonathan Moxey, 5-10, 187, Jr.
47 Eric Yates, 5-9, 161, R-Fr.
Isaiah Johnson, 5-9, 170, R-Fr.
Ladarryl Blair, 5-11, 180, Fr.
Donzale Roddie, 5-11, 175, Fr.
Tyler Horton, 6-1, 175, Fr.
9 Mercy Maston, 5-11, 197, R-Sr.
37 Cameron Hartsfield, 5-10, 186, R-So.
31 Zavior Hoxie, 5-11, 184, R-Fr.
4 Darian Thompson, 6-2, 208, R-Sr.
28 Dillon Lukehart, 6-1, 208, R-Sr.
22 Chanceller James, 6-2, 208, R-Jr.
17 Brandon Brown, 5-11, 194, R-So.
Kam Miles, 6-2, 207, R-So.29 Dylan Sumner-Gardner, 6-1, 196, So.
34 Jaxon Pryor, 5-9, 205, R-Fr.
Evan Tyler, 6-2, 180, Fr.
Damion Wright, 6-1, 185, Fr.
Darreon Jackson, 6-1, 185, Fr.
Kekoa Nawahine, 6-3, 190, Fr.
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