As a former defensive back for Boise State, the defensive secondary is near and dear to Marcel Yates, now the defensive coordinator for the Broncos. Yates wants that part of his defense to play agressive, tackle hard, and be playmakers that can get the ball for the offense. Yates and defensive back coach Julius Brown, another former Bronco, are on the same page there.
Senior cornerback Donte Deayon (5-9, 155) is one of the best at his position in the Mountain West Conference, while Jonathan Moxey (5-10, 188, Jr.) looks to start at the other cornerback spot. Deayon has 13 career interceptions, tied for 8th all-time at Boise State, and just five shy of #3 Gabe Franklin. Many schools in the "big money conferences" passed on Deayon, discounting him entirely because of his size at 5-9. Deayon has became a star at Boise State, often helping beat teams who passed on him.
Moxey started 12 games last season in his sophomore season. He finished second on the team with seven pass breakups, had 33 tackles and had an interception. With the proven ability of Deayon, teams will likely choose to attack the other side of the ball, and Moxey has to be ready for that.
True freshman Tyler Horton (5-11, 172) has been unfazed by the jump to major college competition and by all accounts, will play this season. Horton, from Edison High School in Fresno, California, is a name to watch out for in the future. Horton tallied 13 interceptions his last two seasons at Edison. Raymond Ford (5-10, 183, Jr.) will back up Moxey at the other spot. Ford led his team with six interceptions as a sophomore at Riverside Community College.
Other cornerbacks fighting for playing time include Isiah Johnson (5-8, 168, RS Fr.), Ladarryl Blair (5-11, 188, Fr.), Donzale Roddie (5-10, 190, Fr.) and Eric Yates (5-9, 160, RS Fr.). Johnson, a graduate of Meridian, Idaho's Rocky Mountain High School, returns to the Boise Valley via a one-year stint at Scottsdale Community College.
Junior Chanceller James (6-2, 216) and senior Mercy Maston(5-11, 208) have been battling all offseason for the prize of starter at the nickel position—and, although both are expected to garner considerable playing time, James will get the start in week one. James has limitless potential, but first suffered a season-ending injury during fall camp as a redshirt freshman, then suffered another season-ending injury after starting three games last season. Maston has proven ability, starting four games for the Broncos in 2013 (recording 44 tackles, one for loss, and getting a fumble recovery). The coaches decided to use Mercy's available redshirt last year, and his experience will be a big plus for Boise State this fall.
Like Thompson, safety Darian Thompson (6-2, 212 Sr.) too has 13 career interceptions, five short of tying Gabe Franklin for third all-time at Boise State. Thompson led the Bronco secondary with 71 tackles last season and earned second-team All-America status. Sophomore Cameron Hartsfield (5-10, 185) has had a good fall camp and will back up Thompson. Bronco coaches are eager to see what Thompson can do--he recorded 100 tackles and six blocked punts as a senior at Allen High School in Allen, Texas to help his team win the 5A state championship.
Dylan Sumner-Gardner, who followed Marcel Yates to Boise State after initially committing to Texas A&M, will start this Friday against Washington, but expect Kameron Miles (6-1, 215) to also land considerable playing time. Sumner-Gardner got his feet wet last year, recording 19 tackles with a tackle-for-loss and two pass breakups. Miles, a high school teammate of Dylan's, is another Aggie player who left for Butler Community College last year before following Yates to Boise.
Brandon Brown (5-11, 198, So.) has played well this fall and likely will see the field and Skyler Seibold (6-1, 192, RS Fr.) adds depth.
(Hudl video on YouTube)
Darreon Jackson (5-11, 187, Fr.), Evan Tyler (6-2, 181, Fr.) and Damion Wright (6-0, 204, Fr.) were brought in this past February. Jackson posted 126 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries as a senior at Derby High School in Derby, Kansas. Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin said Sunday that Jackson could be one of the true freshmen to hit the field this fall.
(MaxPreps video on YouTube)
Jackson has additional ability Bronco fans and coaches might be interested in.
Tyler finished his high school career as the all-time career tackles leader at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Corona, California with 186. Evan brings some speed to Boise--he won the league title in the 400 meters with a time of 48.1.
With proven play from Thompson and Moxey, the other cornerbacks will have to step up this year, and that is why Horton is listed on the two-deep. The starting five are solid, but depth issues will necessitate early playing time this year and increased emphasis on the recruiting trail.