Boise State Football

Boise State safety Nawahine finds his groove after eventful first football season

Kekoa Nawahine admits that returning to football had its difficulties

After two years away from football on his LDS mission, Boise State safety Kekoa Nawahine endured typical freshman ups and downs in 2016. A year older, he's ready to compete for a full-time starting job for the Broncos.
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After two years away from football on his LDS mission, Boise State safety Kekoa Nawahine endured typical freshman ups and downs in 2016. A year older, he's ready to compete for a full-time starting job for the Broncos.

After needing the better part of a football season to shake the rust off, Boise State sophomore safety Kekoa Nawahine is finally feeling comfortable.

The Rocky Mountain graduate spent his first two years after high school on his LDS mission. As a freshman in 2016, Nawahine made 21 tackles and started the Cactus Bowl against Baylor.

Though he saw plenty of playing time last season, football didn’t come back easily.

“Coming back, the conditioning was definitely the hardest. That was the biggest thing,” Nawahine said. “Mentally, just getting back into the playbook was really hard, to adjust to that mental side of the game.”

With a year under his belt, Nawahine is in the mix with a deep group of safeties for spot atop the depth chart. Safeties coach Gabe Franklin has seen Nawahine blossom.

“For him, it was kind of getting the game to slow down for him as the season went on,” Franklin said. “As the season went on, he got more and more confident and started making plays for us in practice.”

Boise State continues spring ball this week before taking off next week for spring break.

The annual spring game is 5 p.m. April 8.

Michael Katz: 208-377-6444, @MichaelLKatz

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