April 16, 2012; Boise, ID, USA; Boise Broncos tight end Jake Hardee (42) is tackled by linebackers Renaud, (13), Eric Agbaroji (23) and Corey Bell (38) during the spring game at Bronco Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-US PRESSWIRE
The continual job share at linebacker and nickel isn't going to change any time soon and certainly not this year, so you can expect to have many names and many ORs on the official Boise State depth chart for near-term perpetuity. Big names like J.C. Percy are the obvious ones to watch, but I had Drew and ce'sped azul help pick out some others who deserve monitoring.
There is some sort of inexorable quality to Blake Renaud where I feel that he is destined to be a star for this Boise State football team. Sorry, every other linebacker on the team. Renaud is big, fast, athletic, and aggressive - just the type of skills needed to be a successful Bronco linebacker. I worry about placing too high of expectations on the sophomore (Derrell Acrey Syndrome, I guess), but then I remind myself of the beautiful plays I saw him make in the spring game and I don't worry as much. He'll be good, probably this year, definitely next, most certainly as a senior - unless he's in the NFL by then.
This isn't a token "local kid" vote for me...I really think that Bell is going to go off this season. When a guy's redshirt is burned on the merits of his special teams play, you know he's got something going for him-and then Bell showed he could play nickel as well last year, making some nice hits and flying to the ball. Brown and Simmons will factor into the nickel rotation, obviously, but I think Bell will turn the most heads.
The senior linebacker has played in 36 games as a Bronco, yet is assumed by many to take a backseat to sophomore Blake Renaud. Smith has also played both ways, taking time away from LB to play FB at times. While he may end up as an OR on the depth chart, his leadership will be starter material. This will be his fifth year as a Bronco and I expect him to go out with a huge season and be a run stopping machine. With Dan Paul back at fullback full time, Smith should be focused only on defense, enabling him to be the #1 MLB and the leader of the defense.