Cornerback Raymond Ford needed a second chance to live his dream.
Boise State needed some immediate depth behind starters Donte Deayon and Jonathan Moxey.
Those needs aligned to get Ford to Boise State in January, and last week against Wyoming he got a chance to play some meaningful snaps on defense because of an injury to Deayon.
True freshman Tyler Horton started.
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Ford originally signed with California out of high school and spent several months in the Washington State program in 2012. But he didn’t get admitted at Cal and was “red-flagged” by the NCAA at WSU because he didn’t meet eligibility requirements, he said.
He went to Riverside City College instead, grabbing 10 interceptions in two seasons.
“It’s kind of hard,” he said of his unusual route, “but I really wanted to play football -- this is my dream. I just knew I had to buckle up and do what I needed to do to get here.”
He chose Boise State because of a prior recruiting relationship with defensive coordinator Marcel Yates, he said.
“It means a lot,” he said of the opportunity. “It feels good to be at Boise State, to help this team get to the top. I feel real good that I came here.”
He only has one year of eligibility after this season, so it will be a quick stay in Boise. He has contributed on punt, punt return and kickoff and should see playing time on defense for at least a couple more games with Deayon sidelined.
He’s still getting comfortable in his new surroundings.
“I just have to be ready,” he said.
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Senior wide receiver Terrell Johnson is in his third year in the Broncos program after walking on out of Saddleback Junior College. He’s from Alabama.
Johnson has gained notice in recent weeks as the Broncos’ new kickoff returner.
He averages 25.2 yards per return with a long of 33, both team bests this season. He also gets limited opportunities as a wide receiver.
“I’ve got some great receivers in front of me, but I’m always ready,” he said. “... We always talk about, your time can come at any moment, and if you’re not ready, it can leave you behind.”
With kickoff return, Johnson capitalized. He got a chance on the only kickoff the Broncos received in the blowout win against Hawaii and returned it 27 yards.
He has been the primary returner since.
“I found a huge role in special teams and I’m excited about that and I’m thankful that my coaches now have the trust in me to do that,” he said. “... I’ve always wanted to be a returner.”
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If Boise State defensive end Tyler Horn hadn’t been tackled at the 1-yard line last week, the defensive line would have two pick sixes this season. Tackle Justin Taimatuia scored against Virginia.
The secondary has one interception return for a touchdown this season, by nickel Mercy Maston.
“The D-line is doing our job,” nickel Chanceller James said.
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Redshirt freshman tight end David Lucero has three catches for 59 yards this season in a limited role. His average of 19.7 yards per catch is the best on the team.
He’s stuck behind four veteran players but is pushing for more time.
“He’s done a good job for us in the pass game but in the limited opportunities he’s had he’s done a pretty good job of just playing true tight end for us, too,” tight ends coach Kent Riddle said. “He just has to keep progressing and keep making the most of his opportunities, which he’s done a good job of.”
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Riddle on junior kicker Tyler Rausa hitting all 15 of his field goals from 51 yards and in this year: “So far, he has done a really nice job. He has been consistent. ... Very happy with where he is today. The bad thing about being a kicker is that can all change tomorrow.”