Bronco Beat

Boise State football spring preview: Young talent fills tight ends room

Through the spring, I’ll preview each position on the Boise State football team.

Today: Tight ends

Previously: Defensive line, wide receivers, special teams, offensive line, defensive backs

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

Tight ends

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.

Signee:

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.

NOTES/QUOTES

– 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.”

• • • 



SPRING BALL COVERAGE

April 11: Top recruit Dylan Sumner-Gardner gains confidence

April 10: Kicker Tyler Rausa prepares for long-awaited chance

April 9: Defensive backs preview

April 9: Turner leaves homelessness behind

April 8: Boise State expects to net nearly $1.7 million from Fiesta Bowl

April 8: Recruit Raymond Sheard arrested, won’t join team

April 7: Jordin Sparks concert to follow Spring Game

April 7: This Spring Game has some intrigue

April 6: Finley likely to lead QB pecking order into fall camp

April 6: Broncos will have new helmet for Spring Game

April 4: OT Eli McCullough uses Air Force mistakes as learning experience

April 3: Broncos to honor Kellen Moore, not retire jersey

April 2: Special teams preview

April 1: QB competition likely to last deep into August

March 31: Recap of Bryan Harsin’s weekly press conference

March 31: Cornerback Jonathan Moxey prepares to excel

March 30: Wide receivers preview

March 29: Chaz Anderson builds on successful position change

March 24: Bertoli, once slighted, has proven himself a Division I player

March 20: Dillon Lukehart retires for medical reasons

March 19: Bryan Harsin recaps first scrimmage

March 17: Broncos help Lyle Smith celebrate 99th birthday

March 13: Defensive line preview

March 12: DL Tyler Horn gets second shot at senior year

March 11: Adventurous former walk-on Charles Bertoli chases RB job

March 10: All signs point to Kellen Moore tribute at Spring Game; read a replay of our live chat

March 10: Tanner Vallejo back home at middle linebacker

March 9: Seven players out for spring with injuries; highlights from the first day of practice

March 9: Players and positions to watch this spring

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