Through the spring, I’ll preview each position on the Boise State football team.
Today: Tight ends
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YOUNG TALENT SUGGESTS BRIGHT FUTURE
Boise State tight ends caught four touchdown passes last season – all by then-freshmen Jake Roh and Alec Dhaenens.
And another infusion of talent is on the way this fall.
Chase Blakley and David Lucero, who were two of the top recruits in the Broncos’ 2014 class, should make their debuts this season. Matt Pistone, one of the top gets in the 2015 recruiting class, joins the team this summer and likely will redshirt.
Combined with Roh (35 catches, 408 yards, two TDs) and Dhaenens (two catches, two TDs), the trio of fresh faces give the Broncos a group that looks somewhat like the linebackers two years ago. That’s now arguably the best position group on the team.
“They’re doing great,” Roh said of Blakley and Lucero. “For them, it’s getting to know the playbook and getting comfortable. They’re doing a great job and they’re adding a bunch to our position group, giving us a lot of depth and a lot of versatility. Every day, we’re just becoming a stronger group.”
PERSONNEL AT A GLANCE
84 Jake Hardee, 6-3, 237, R-Sr.
85 Holden Huff, 6-6, 222, R-Sr.
93 Brennyn Dunn, 6-3, 214, R-Jr.
87 Alec Dhaenens, 6-3, 237, R-So.
88 Jake Roh, 6-3, 219, R-So.
86 Chase Blakley, 6-4, 234, R-Fr.
91 David Lucero, 6-5, 227, R-Fr.
Matt Pistone, 6-4, 230, Fr.
Returning starters (1 of 1): Roh started 11 games last season. Huff started seven because the Broncos often opened with multiple tight ends. Roh was a terrific weapon in the passing game but still is growing into an every-down player. He was gaining weight this past winter until something happened to him before spring ball and he lost weight (he wasn’t specific). He entered spring ball down nine pounds from last season. “I’ve been getting it back now,” he said. “That’s one of the big things I’m working on this summer is just getting bigger and stronger so I can be more versatile and add things in the run game.”
Key losses: Connor Peters was the designated bruiser in the group last year. He played in nine games, starting three.
Other key returners: Huff made 10 catches for 128 yards last season but hasn’t fulfilled the promise he showed as a freshman in 2012. Hardee, a former walk-on, is a reliable and versatile part of the group. Dhaenens is the primary fullback and perhaps the most physical player in the group.
Other players to watch: Blakley and Lucero could have gone to Pac-12 schools. They chose Boise State instead. “They’re still trying to figure everything out,” tight ends coach Kent Riddle said early in spring ball. “They’re pretty good on the assignments. Now we’re working on what technique to use within the assignment. ... They’ve got a very bright future in front of them.”
Projected starters: TE Roh
Out for spring: Dhaenens, Huff
Incoming signees: Former Oregon State commit Matt Pistone was rated the No. 15 tight end in the 2015 recruiting class.
– Roh on his spring goal: “Become more of a leader and still produce out on the field.”
– Riddle on coaching tight ends after coaching running backs last season: “I’m not an idiot. Jay (Ajayi) left so I decided somebody else should handle that problem and I’d go where we had some young talent.”
– Riddle on depth: “You saw last year we’re going to use tight ends. We’ll use three, four every game – sometimes on the same play. So we’ve got to have depth there.”
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SPRING BALL COVERAGE