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Perfect Combinations: Kamalei Correa and Tanner Vallejo

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While the entire Boise State defense is stellar, I wanted to highlight two key players in particular: Kamalei Correa and Tanner Vallejo.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Kamalei Correa committed to the Broncos over numerous Pac12 schools, including Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Oregon State to name a few. He was listed as a 3-star recruit by Scout, Rivals and 247Sports. Plucked from the backyard of the Rainbow Warriors, he left St. Louis High School to join the Broncos in 2013 and wasted no time seeing the field, forgoing the traditional red shirt his freshman season.

Correa appeared in 13 games for the Broncos in 2013 as a back-up, recording 12 tackles, 1.5 for loss, and a sack. A small taste of what was to come.

His sophomore campaign, he led the Mountain West with 12 sacks. He also had 59 total tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss. To say he was a monster on the defensive line was an understatement. He finished the season as an All-Mountain West First Team selection at defensive end.

His junior season has just started, but he was a consensus pre-season All-Mountain West First Team selection. He already has 9 tackles and 2 sacks. I anticipate many more sacks at the hands of Correa, but he won’t be the only one. MLB Tanner Vallejo will have his fair share.

Tanner came to the Broncos from Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, CA. After completely destroying California offenses to the tune of 419 total tackles in 3 years, Vallejo decided to bring his services to The Blue™ over offers from Colorado, Arizona, Washington State, among others. He, too, was a 3-star recruit according to Scout, Rivals and 247Sports. He even had a promotional video made for him!

His true freshman season, he jumped right in, finishing with 51 tackles, 5.5 for loss and .5 sack. Not too shabby for a kid right out of high school.

2014 was his breakout season. As a sophomore, he finished as an All-Mountain West Second Team selection. He was the leading tackler with 100 total tackles, 64 by himself, 3 sacks, and 3 fumbles recovered. He was the Mountain West Football Championship Defensive MVP as well as the Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP. Might I remind you that Arizona’s Scooby Wright was on the other side of the field that night as well. He finished the Fiesta Bowl with 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

To start his junior season, Tanner has tallied a total of 12 tackles and 1 sack in 2 games. This should  be a banner year for him as well.

Correa and Vallejo together combine to create daunting task for any offense to combat. Correa can line up on the outside to contain any outside runs, while Vallejo pressures the quarterback or running back up the middle. If Vallejo rushes the quarterback and they catch on to it, Correa is athletic enough to drop into coverage. Add in the rest of the defense and you have a force to be reckoned with.

While there are many notable players on the Boise State defense, Kamalei and Tanner are key cogs that help this defense run efficiently and effectively. I predict that both Tanner and Kamalei end up as All-Mountain West First Team selections after stellar seasons, setting the stage for a destructive 2016. Take heed, Mountain West quarterbacks, running backs and receivers: you are not safe.