It was announced by Boise State this week that redshirt sophomore safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner will miss the first four games of the season after failing to meet the NCAA football academic requirements for eligibility.
When Sumner-Gardner came to Boise State he did so with much fanfare. He was widely considered a four-star recruit, and decommitted from Texas A&M to become a Bronco. Fans were very excited to see the player known as “DSG” playing on The Blue as a true freshman in 2014.
In that first season Sumner-Gardner appeared in 13 games, and had reasonable success with 19 tackles. In 2015 many expected him to step up his game, but after starting the first four games he suffered a season-ending injury (broken ankle) against Virginia.
Sumner-Gardner was able to redshirt 2015, but during his recovery time away from the playing field he got himself into some trouble with the law, and now in 2016 academic issues have sidelined him for at least a third of the regular season.
During the open practice last week Sumner Gardner, along with redshirt senior safety Chanceller James, worked with the scout team. Some thought this was an indication that both players might miss the trip to Lafayette for game one, or be limited in playing time. However, when the team released its game one depth-chart James was listed.
James along with DSG, have starting talent, and the Broncos are better when both are in the lineup. James missed the spring game for undisclosed reasons, but his presence in game one will certainly help the team. Redshirt junior Cameron Hartsfield will get the starting spot against the Cajuns at one safety spot, and redshirt freshman Evan Tyler will be called on along with James at the other. Both are actually listed on the depth-chart as “or” when it comes to the starter.
Coach Harsin has also noted that linebacker Kameron Miles could see time at safety this season, and his toughness could contribute greatly to this position group. Miles is actually listed at backup to Hartsfield in game one.
Seven additional safeties are on the roster for Boise State in 2016. Redshirt sophomore Skyler Seibold, redshirt freshman Damion Wright, true freshmen Jordan Happle, Hayden Israelson, Kekoa Nawahine, Ma'a Tanuvasa, and Jalen Walker.
Seibold has had some good moments in fall camp, and he will certainly get some playing time. There may be a true freshman or two that make the field in 2016, but that will probably only come if depth becomes an issue.
Chanceller James, 6-2, 208 lbs, Spring Valley, Calif.
Jordan Happle, 5-11, 191 lbs, Portland, Ore.
Hayden Israelson, 5-11, 180 lbs, Riverton, Utah
Kekoa Nawahine, 6-2, 195 lbs, Meridian, Idaho
Ma'a Tanuvasa, 6-1, 185 lbs, Mililani, Hawaii
Jalen Walker, 6-0, 167 lbs, Lawndale, Calif.