Boise State Football

Boise State football tabbed preseason favorite in Mountain Division

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin at Mountain West media days, part 1

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin addresses the print media July 26, 2016 at Mountain West media days in Las Vegas.
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Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin addresses the print media July 26, 2016 at Mountain West media days in Las Vegas.

Death, taxes, Boise State football on top.

For the sixth straight year, or every year since joining the conference, the Broncos were selected as a preseason favorite in the Mountain West. On Tuesday, they were pegged as the media’s choice to win the Mountain Division. This is the fourth season of divisional play in the conference. The first two years, the Broncos were picked to win the conference.

The Broncos received 27 of the 29 first-place votes in the division, with Air Force netting the other two. Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien, senior receiver Thomas Sperbeck and senior kicker Tyler Rausa were named to the preseason all-conference team.

San Diego State dominated the poll, getting all 29 first-place votes in the West Division and sweeping the preseason player of the year awards. Senior running back Donnel Pumphrey was selected the offensive player of the year, senior cornerback Damontae Kazee was picked the defensive player of the year and junior returner Rashaad Penny was the special teams player of the year. All three won the same awards at the end of the 2015 season.

Check out the full All-Mountain West team here.

Junior running back Jeremy McNichols, who scored 26 touchdowns for Boise State last season, was not a preseason all-conference pick. But with rushers like Pumphrey and Wyoming’s Brian Hill (1,631 yards in 2015), it’s a strong field.

Preseason predicted order of finish

(First-place votes in parentheses)

Mountain Division

Boise State (27) 172

Air Force (2) 126

Utah State 95

Colorado State 95

New Mexico 74

Wyoming 31

West Division

San Diego State (29) 174

Nevada 129

San Jose State 122

Fresno State 76


Hawaii 35


Boise State issued a pre-fall camp depth chart Tuesday. Here’s a look:



Brett Rypien, So.

Tommy Stuart, Jr.

Running back

Jeremy McNichols, Jr.

Devan Demas, Sr.

WR (X)

Cedrick Wilson, Jr.

AJ Richardson, So.

WR (H)

Thomas Sperbeck, Sr.

Akilian Butler, So. -OR- Sean Modster, So.

WR (Z)

Chaz Anderson, Sr.

Austin Cottrell, Jr.


Jake Roh, Jr.

Alec Dhaenens, Jr.

Chase Blakley, So.

Jake Knight, So.

Matt Pistone, RFr.


Archie Lewis, Jr. -OR- Will Adams, Sr.

John Molchon, RFr.


Travis Averill, Sr.

Andrew Tercek, Jr.


Mason Hampton, Jr.

Garrett Larson, RFr.


Steven Baggett, Sr.

Kellen Buhr, Sr.


Mario Yakoo, Sr.

Andres Preciado, So. -OR- Eric Quevedo, RFr.



Sam McCaskill, Sr.

Durrant Miles, So. -OR- Sam Whitney, RFr.


David Moa, So.

Sonatone Lui, Fr.


Elliot Hoyte, Sr.

Austin Silsby, Jr. -OR- Daniel Auelua, Jr.


Gabe Perez, Jr. -OR- Jabril Frazier, So.

Sam Whitney, RFr.


Ben Weaver, Sr.

Leighton Vander Esch, So.


Joe Martarano, Jr. -OR- Darren Lee, Sr.


Tanner Vallejo, Sr.

Kameron Miles, Jr.


Raymond Ford, Sr. -OR- Tyler Horton, So.


Chanceller James, Sr.

Evan Tyler, RFr.


Dylan Sumner-Gardner, So.

Cameron Hartsfield, Jr.


Jonathan Moxey, Sr.

Ladarryl Blair, RFr.



Tyler Rausa, Sr.

Joel Velazquez, Fr.


Sean Wale, Sr.

Joel Velazquez, Fr.


Sean Wale, Sr.


Matt Cota, Jr.

Nicholai Pitman, Fr.


Tyler Rausa, Sr.


Jeremy McNichols, Jr.

Jonathan Moxey, Sr.


Cedrick Wilson, Jr. -OR- Jonathan Moxey, Sr.


Speaking with the print media Tuesday, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said sophomore defensive end Kaleb Hill has left the team. Hill redshirted in 2014 and played one game last season. The Texas native’s twin brother, Kolin, transferred to Texas Tech from Notre Dame last year.


A few select quotes:

Thomas Sperbeck, WR

On Brett Rypien: “He was so ready to do it. It’s one thing to prepare like you’re going to play, but a lot of guys, you can kind of see the writing on the wall, especially if you’re redshirting.”

On being the Mountain favorite: “I think that it definitely sets the standard for us ... it kind of puts a huge target on our back for other teams. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, we’ve got to bring it every week just like they do. It’s in the back of your mind, you can’t go into the past and dwell on it, you’ve always got to look ahead to the future. It’s in the back of your head. I’ve only played in one (Mountain West championship), so it’s not really our standard, and we’re hoping to fix that.”

On receivers: “That was kind of the next step for us, how we can make more guys miss and make explosive plays out of nothing. We were kind of challenged to do that. So far, it’s looking good.”

On last season as a team: “It was definitely kind of a disappointing season, there were some high notes, the last game was a huge high note. I think that’s where optimism is coming from, that kind of shows what we can do when we’re operating on all cylinders.”

Ben Weaver, LB

On preseason polls: “I don’t take a look at any of that stuff. You can’t as a player, it’ll hurt you.”

On being favorites: “It pushes us tremendously. Our ultimate goal is to win the Mountain West and a bowl game, we’ve only done that one of the three years they’ve had the (championship) game in existence.”

On what’s pushing team: “We’ve had multiple things, the good things push you and also the bad things push you. Losing at home was very bad. Now that’s over, we can look at it as a thing that’s humbling for us as players, to know that we’re not immune to losing on the blue. It shows people it comes with work too, we don’t just go out there and win.”

On preparing for option: “We definitely have, and we definitely should be. Air Force has had our number two years in a row, New Mexico one and a very, very close game two years ago. We’ve definitely been putting a huge emphasis on that, not only PRPs, but in the film room. No one can replicate Air Force’s speed or New Mexico’s speed on the outside. A lot of that comes with your film room study ... going against it in practice does not replicate that whatsoever.”

On the defense’s mindset: “I think there are certain players prepare and train for the wrong reasons, that comes with every single team, everywhere you go. Maybe not so much, actually. It depends on the players. I think this year, after last year, we had a lot of players who were humbled, a lot of players who maybe had a little bit of hype and it went away or they got humbled tremendously from their play. That, I think, has benefitted us so much this offseason. ... it’s about your play on the field, how hard you work. I think a lot of guys realized that this offseason.”

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