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The Boise State Lavish Linebackers [Position Preview]

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Dextrell Simmons #6 of the Boise State Broncos forces a fumble on a kickoff by Brandon Boykin #2 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia Dome on September 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 03: Dextrell Simmons #6 of the Boise State Broncos forces a fumble on a kickoff by Brandon Boykin #2 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia Dome on September 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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I say lavish because I feel like the linebackers are really the Mercedes or BMW of defensive positions. Its gotta be the high life, sitting back and playing the pass or coming up to crack the quarterback. Sigh, a man can dream of such glorious choices. Join me now as we take a more in depth look at what to expect at the Linebacker/Nickel position coming your way this August 31st.

(And so begins the tradition of position previews. We love traditions at OBNUG. Other traditions may include, but are not limited to: Dairy Queen Blizzards, hating anything Vandal, and Spell Check. Next Up: The Serendipitous Safeties and Corners.)

The Offenders

36 Gray, Tyler LB 6-4 227 Fr. Templeton, Calif. (Templeton HS)
56 Kamper, Dustin LB 6-1 217 RJr. Meridian, Idaho (Nampa Christian HS)
48 Percy, J.C. LB 6-0 227 RSr. Blackfoot, Idaho (Blackfoot HS)
31 Pint, Andrew LB 6-1 215 Fr. Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Valor Christian HS)
13 Renaud, Blake LB 6-2 239 So. Concord, Calif. (De La Salle HS)
45 Saxton, Travis LB 6-1 221 RSo. Star, Idaho (Eagle HS)
33 Smith, Tommy LB 6-1 238 RSr. Atlanta, Ga. (North Atlanta HS)
51 Weaver, Ben LB 6-0 226 Fr. Klein, Texas (Klein HS)

38 Bell, Corey N 5-11 206 So. Boise, Idaho (Capital HS)
32 Brown, Jonathan N 5-10 211 RJr. Alameda, Calif. (Encinal HS)
49 Richardson, Hilton N 6-2 217 RFr. Kirkland, Wash. (Lake Washington HS)
25 Santini, Christopher N 5-11 220 Fr. San Jose, Calif. (Leland HS)
6 Simmons, Dextrell N 5-11 200 RSr. Houston, Texas (Blinn JC) (Westfield HS)

J.C. Percy


  • Favorite Quote: "Dude, where's my car?" -Dude where's my car?
  • Favorite Song: "Somebody that I used to know." -Gotye
  • Favorite Movie: The Little Mermaid. "That movie has the most incredible soundtrack EVER." -J.C. Percy
List of offenses: 2011 Redshirt Junior Season
J.C. Percy has been a top performer on the Bronco's defense over the past several years. As a junior last season, Percy played in all 13 games and ranked fifth on the team in total tackles. Percy may be one of the more undervalued players that has graced the Blue in recent memory. A consistent performer, Percy has his sights set high going into his senior season and will likely get the nod at starting weak-side linebacker. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, as Percy played majority of his time with the rest of the first string defense against the first string offense in Saturday's fall scrimmage.

Look for Dustin Kamper to be the backup. However, depending on how the battle for middle linebacker plays out, Tommy Smith may also become an available option.

Next Up: Tommy Smith

Tommy Smith


  • Favorite Quote: "Giggity." -Quagmire
  • Favorite Song: "Eenie Meenie." -Justin Bieber ft. Sean Kingston
  • Favorite Movie: Shrek. "The original. As if there was a sequel." -Tommy Smith
List of offenses: 2011 Redshirt Junior Season
Tommy Smith has been a constant performer for the Broncos at any opportunity he gets. He appeared in all 12 regular season games and recorded 18 tackles on the season. Due to the extremely high level of play at the linebacker position the past few years, Tommy hasn't had a shot at being a go-to starter. However, 2012 may finally bring with it a starting role for Mr. Smith. If he's lucky, 2012 will also deliver a Justin Bieber World Tour stop to the Idaho Center on Christmas 2012. Tommy looked great in the Bronco's fall scrimmage on Saturday, and was getting most of his reps with the first team defense. Bronco Sports has him listed at 238 lbs, but it looked to me like he has bulked up a bit more this season. Of course, standing next to Shane Williams-Rhodes will make anyone look like Sasquatch.

I anticipate that Tommy will get the nod at middle linebacker position, however Blake Renaud will not go down without a fight. Look for those two to battle it out all season. Percy may even end up sitting a series or two while Smith and Renaud do work.

Dextrell Simmons


  • Favorite Quote: Anything by Carson Daley
  • Favorite Song: Genie in a bottle. -Christina Aguilera
  • Favorite Movie: Avatar. "Man I wanna visit Pandora." -Dextrell Simmons
List of offenses: 2011 Redshirt Junior Season
Dextrell Simmons is looking to carry on the long standing tradition of superb play at the nickel position in 2012. Backing up the likes of Hunter White in 2011, Simmons still saw playing time in all 13 games during his debut season as a Bronco. Registering 16 tackles on the season, Dextrell was a great option to go to during times when Hunter needed a break or in other defensive schemes. He has also gotten some time on special teams as well. If Saturday's scrimmage is any indication of starters come August 31st, Simmons is likely the man for the starting gig. He took most reps with the first team and made a fantastic open field tackle on D.J. Harper. One that Harper got up way too fast from based on how hard he was hit. It was like he jumped up and tried to run off the pain.

Assuming Dextrell gets the start, look for Corey Bell and Jonothan Brown to play back up and possibly even work in some reps with the first team. Needless to say, we are deep at the nickel position.

Next Up: All the rest

Saturday's scrimmage was all about defense. Those linebackers were flying all over the place, reaping havoc on anyone that jumped in their sight. I believe Lee Hightower even jumped in for a few snaps at the nickel position. Simmons, Smith, and Percy are only a few of the stars that our defensive coaches have to work with. Corey Bell, Blake Renaud, Jonothan Brown, and Dustin Kamper will all likely get their fare shake at some playing time as well. Baseball man turned collegiate football player, Hilton Richardson, may even get his nose in the game.


I'm not worried. At all. Well, I'm worried about quarterback play, but that was like 5 previews ago, so it's definitely not plaguing my mind anymore...I believe our defense will be the stars of the 2012 season. As the saying goes, "Defense Wins Championships," I have no doubt that we will get the big stops when we need them the most. Look for continually crazy schemes as defensive coaches and coordinators look to confuse our opponents as much as possible.

Your Turn

How do you think our linebackers and nickels will play? Are you worried? Are you confident? Is it possible that our defense will cause more turnovers in one game than New Mexico will score points? Sound off!