The Boise State football team added six walk-ons to the roster Thursday as fall camp began, including a local quarterback and a player with ties to the Pac-12 and SEC.
They joined a tight roster that had few openings because of the small senior class in 2014. The Broncos have the maximum 105 players on their roster, including the maximum 85 on scholarship.
The new walk-ons include:
•QB Garrett Collingham
of Mountain View High: Threw for 1,655 yards and 12 TDs last season as the Mavericks finished second at state.
•LB Blair Ewers
of San Jose, Calif.: An all-conference honorable-mention pick last year.
•LB Will Heffner
of Bishop Kelly High: Made 41 catches for 728 yards as a senior at BK. He is the son of former Boise State wide receiver Terry Heffner (95 career catches from 1987 to 1990).
•TE Jake Knight
of Rocky Mountain High and Auburn (sophomore): Former tight end and linebacker at Rocky Mountain who was on the Auburn track team earlier this year. He finished 13th in the shot put at the SEC indoor meet.Knight originally signed with Oregon State for football in 2014 but decided to try track at Auburn instead
•OL Hunter Nettles
of Capital High and Snow College (junior): Played at Centennial and Capital during his prep career and was an honorable mention all-conference pick at Snow last year.
•OL Dan Urquhart
of Eden Prairie, Minn. (junior): Played at Alderson Broaddus University (Division II) in Kansas.
The Broncos didn’t grayshirt any of this year’s recruits. Defensive linemen Matt Locher and Sam Whitney, grayshirt candidates on signing day, joined the team for camp.
Quarterback Anthony Upshaw and cornerback Eric Yates, returning walk-ons, aren’t on the 105-man roster for fall camp. Yates is rehabbing an injury and Upshaw is working as a student manager. They’ll rejoin the roster when school starts and the 105-man cap vanishes.
News and notes
• Cornerback Jonathan Moxey on the first day of camp: “Going out there, you smell the grass coming off the field. It’s like when you were a little kid playing in Rec – it’s the first day at practice, it’s all the same. Goose bumps are still there.”
• The media were able to watch about 25 minutes of mostly individual drills. The highlight: junior wide receiver Rick Smith’s one-handed catch in a passing drill.
• Coach Bryan Harsin named senior cornerback Donte Deayon his camper of the day. “Donte had a great first day of practice and brought great energy out there,”Harsin told BroncoSports.com
. “He made some really good plays out in practice. We’re just excited to have everybody back out here.”
• The two notable number changes: Moxey took No. 2 and safety Chanceller James moved to No. 3.
Moxey, a junior, started 12 games last season and was one of the more improved players in spring ball. He’s a critical member of this year’s team because the Broncos don’t have a single backup cornerback with major college experience.
“I feel like I have to step up and be a leader in the secondary,” Moxey said. “Donte (and safety Darian Thompson) will be leaving after this year. I’m trying to work hard and take the season as slow as it goes.”
His biggest takeaway from last season, in which his only interception was a key moment in the Connecticut game: “Capitalizing on opportunities.”
That’s what Moxey has done so far this offseason, getting stronger and faster and building on the knowledge he gained last season in a sometimes-bumpy first year as a starter.
“I’d definitely say the mental aspect of the game,” he said of how he has improved most since the end of last season. “More focus and more overall knowledge of the system.”
Broncos in the NFL: Jamar Taylor
Taylor, a third-year Miami Dolphins cornerback, was considered a likely starter when training camp began but already is in a fight for the job.
Brice McCain, a veteran newcomer from the Steelers, has been splitting time with Taylor, the Palm Beach Post reports.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle told the newspaper that the two are locked in “a hotly contested battle.”
“Brice McCain is a tremendous athlete,” Coyle said. “He’s quick as well as fast. I don’t know if you guys can appreciate how fast he is. He’s not a little quick guy. He has deep speed to run with anybody.”
Taylor has started three of his 21 games over the past two seasons while dealing with some injuries. He has 34 tackles and still is searching for his first interception. He was a second-round draft pick in 2013.
“He knows going into his third year, it’s time,” safety Michael Thomas told the Palm Beach Post. “Everybody’s looking at him and wanting to see him so do great, he wants to do great, so hey, he’s got to go out there and do it.”