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Boise State roster preview: Corners, safeties, nickels, and hair

No more Jeron Johnson, no more Winston Venable, no more Brandyn Thompson, and still the Boise State secondary seems like a team strength. Credit George Iloka and Jamar Taylor, two of the best at their position in the Mountain West (and the country? Homer alert!). How does the secondary look for 2011? What hopes and dreams do you have for Boise State's nickels, corners, and safeties? More info after the jump, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

You are reading a position preview for the upcoming Boise State football season. Enjoy yourself immensely.

Position overview

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Jamar Taylor Jamar Taylor        
Jerrell Gavins          
Antwon Murray          
Ebenezer Makinde Ebenezer Makinde Ebenezer Makinde      
Bryan Douglas Bryan Douglas Bryan Douglas Bryan Douglas    
Josh Borgman Josh Borgman        
Hazen Moss Hazen Moss        
Darian Thompson Darian Thompson Darian Thompson Darian Thompson Darian Thompson  
Eric Agbaroji Eric Agbaroji Eric Agbaroji Eric Agbaroji Eric Agbaroji  
Lee Hightower Lee Hightower Lee Hightower Lee Hightower Lee Hightower  
  Marcus Rios Marcus Rios Marcus Rios Marcus Rios Marcus Rios
  Donte Deayon Donte Deayon Donte Deayon Donte Deayon Donte Deayon
  Chaz Anderson Chaz Anderson Chaz Anderson Chaz Anderson Chaz Anderson

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
George Iloka          
Cedric Febis          
Travis Stanaway          
Jeremy Ioane Jeremy Ioane Jeremy Ioane Jeremy Ioane    
Quaylon Ewing-Burton Quaylon Ewing-Burton Quaylon Ewing-Burton      
Taylor Loffler Taylor Loffler Taylor Loffler Taylor Loffler Taylor Loffler

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Hunter White          
Dextrell Simmons Dextrell Simmons        
Jonathan Brown Jonathan Brown Jonathan Brown      
Billy Derome Billy Derome Billy Derome      
Corey Bell Corey Bell Corey Bell Corey Bell Corey Bell

Projected starters are in bold. Projected redshirts are in italics

What are the odds ... ?

I have come up with a handful of scenarios that may befall the Bronco secondary this fall. OBNUG's Nick and I will assign a prediction in the form of a percentage based on the likelihood that each scenario may happen. Everyone confused enough? Good. Let's begin.

Jamar Taylor has a Kyle Wilson-type season

Kevan: Getting behind Jamar Taylor right now is like buying Apple stock before the iPod or being in Britney Spears' friend zone before "Hit Me Baby One More Time." Good things are headed your way if you tell your friends and co-workers to keep an eye on Taylor. There is a 75 percent chance he is better than Brandyn Thompson last year, which would put him in Kyle Wilson territory. 


Nick: Boise State has really been churning out the cornerbacks lately, and it's been quite nice. Taylor will be leaned upon heavily to match up against the opposing team's best receiver. I could definitely see Taylor having a breakout season on par with what Wilson did during his junior season. I'll place it at 66 percent chance because the bar is so high.

George Iloka makes an All-America team

Kevan: Iloka has a couple things going for him: 1) There are a lot of All-America lists, and 2) he is due for a big year. Iloka has been an incredibly solid player throughout his Boise State career, and he's destined to score the numbers to back up his play. I see him getting double-digit INTs and making more than a handful of highlight hits. He will most definitely make OBNUG's All-America team (which is a thing I could totally make exist). I give him a 60 percent chance to make SI's.

Nick: I can't believe this is Iloka's senior season. He has been quite remarkable during his past three years and is held in high regard. Barring injury, I think that he could be near the top of the team in tackles and add a few more picks to his two that he had last year. I would say the chances are 70 percent that he gets the nod somewhere. And after four years of Iloka prefaced by four years of Tadman, who is going to be next iconic Boise State safety? I'm looking at you, Jeremy Ioane.

Hunter White makes people forget Winston Venable

Kevan: I feel mean saying zero percent on this one, but I just don't see White playing lights out at nickel this season. There is a slight chance, let's call it 15 percent, that White plays sound, assignment football and we fans are lulled into a comfort zone until all of a sudden we think, "Man, no one has flown through the air to clothesline any terrified quarterbacks lately."  Deceptive apathy is White's best chance.


Nick: I unfortunately have to agree. Venable had such an immediate impact following his transfer. He made me all but forget what Ellis Powers had done the previous year in that position. Nothing against Hunter White, but he just feels like the safe pick at this point. I'll put this at a 25 percent chance. And I truly hope that I am wrong and Hunter rips some QB's head clean off (figuratively, of course).

Boise State improves on its No. 4-ranked pass defense from 2010 (150 yards per game)

Kevan: The strange thing is Boise State could play better than last year and finish worse than 150 yards per game due to a couple fluky plays. The talent is there for an improved pass D (the rush is great, the corners are solid). There are fewer lights-out passing offenses on the schedule. I feel wrong saying the odds are 50/50, but there are just too many factors for me to comfortably say anything else.

Nick: Really? They were ranked number 4 last year? I'm still having flashbacks to a couple of years ago when we couldn't defend the deep ball. But, you're right, Kevan. The pass defense is just as dependent upon the defensive line as it is secondary, and I can't wait to see Root and McClellin and Crawford at full speed together. But breaking in a new safety, nickel, and corner could prove to be difficult. I'll only put this at a 25 percent chance to improve upon last season.

Completely arbitrary rankings

Rank the following players based on whatever criteria you deem important: Jeron Johnson, Troy Polamalu, George Iloka, Ronnie Lott, Jeremy Ioane.

  1. Johnson
  2. Lott
  3. Iloka
  4. Polamalu
  5. Ioane

Kevan: I ordered mine from easiest to hardest for Mark Johnson to pronounce.  Hot tip from MJ: Watch out for that Jeremy Tadman kid! 

  1. Iloka
  2. Polamalu
  3. Ioane
  4. Johnson
  5. Lott

Nick: I ranked my list based on hair. And, yes, I considered Iloka's fade(?) to be better than Polamalu's curls.


Bold predictions - Fear their boldness!

Our powers combine to come up with the following bold predictions. Feel free to come back here after the season to see how we did. 

  • George Iloka has an All-American year and wins Mountain West defensive player of the year honors
  • Jamar Taylor is a first-team All-MWC corner
  • Jerrell Gavins leads all Bronco cornerbacks in INTs ... and touchdowns allowed
  • Bryan Douglas begins his career as the next great Boise State corner
  • Jonathan Brown wins at least one Hammer
  • Dextrell Simmons gets a role in The Wire remake

Your turn

How do you think Boise State's corners will do this year? How good will George Iloka be? Suffering from separation anxiety from Winston Venable? Share your thoughts in the comments.