The Boise State linebacking crew has a distinct local flavor with four players on the unit from Idaho. The Bronco linebacking corps is the best in the Western Athletic Conference and arguably one of the best in the entire country.
Middle linebacker Korey Hall (6-1, 228) is the undeniable leader of this group as he heads into his senior season. The sky is the limit for the Glenns Ferry product. With an outstanding senior year, Hall has a shot to be a high draft pick in the National Football League; he already has a whole host of people watching his every move. NationalChamps.net recently named the popular Bronco middle backer as a second-team Preseason All-American. He also is on the preseason watch lists for the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Lott Trophy. Impressive indeed, but the honors began to come last year when Korey was named to the 2005 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, the 2005 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, and the 2005 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List and named the nation's 12th-best inside linebacker by The Sporting News.
Hall heads into this fall already 15th in all-time tackles at Boise State and he can move all the way up to fourth with just 72 tackles…He has been an all-WAC performer for two straight years. Korey led the team with 106 tackles and also had five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and three pass breakups. He had double-digit tackles five times for the Broncos, including a career-high 15 against Boston College in the MPC Computers Bowl. Hall finished with 12 tackles at Oregon State, 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks at Utah State and 10 tackles at both Fresno State and Louisiana Tech.
In 2004, he had 85 tackles, was first on the Broncos with 8.5 tackles for loss and added two sacks, and three interceptions. Those three interceptions single-handedly turned around the Oregon State game, enabling Boise State to score a big win over its PAC-10 foe. In 2003, Hall was named honorable mention All-WAC as a freshman after finishing third on the Bronco team with 92 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. His pulverizing hit on the BYU quarterback was not only one of the top hits of the year, but probably ranks among the best in the history of Boise State football.
Another Idaho product, former Bishop Kelly star Colt Brooks (6-1, 216), is a senior starter at the Sam position. Brooks capitalized on his first full year to lead the team in tackles for loss (11) and sacks and rank fourth on the team in tackles with 80. Colt added two pass breakups and his jarring hits forced three fumbles last fall.
The starter at the "Will" position is projected to be converted running back David Shields from St. Louis. He already has the size (6-2, 225, So.) and talent to be a legitimate professional prospect. Performing as a backup and on special teams, Shields was in on 9 tackles including 1 sack and he also forced a fumble. As a junior in high school, Shields rushed for 1,100 yards, third most in Lafayette High School history. He also lettered four seasons in track and field where he ran the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 300 hurdles, and 110 hurdles, earning all-conference, all-district, and all-sectional honors. Shields also lettered in basketball, was named a scholar athlete at Lafayette, as served as Senior Class President.
When Josh Bean's highlight film was shown two years ago for LOI Day at Buster's in Boise, it drew raves. Bean is now a junior and it's time for Bean (6-2, 231) to turn those high school highlights into major college playing time. When he gets regular playing time and makes those hits live in Bronco Stadium, he will be a fan favorite. Bean was named Special Teams Ironman for the Broncos last season, accumulating 18 tackles, including one for loss. He had four tackles against both Nevada and Idaho and three against Georgia. Bean also forced a fumble in the 2004 Liberty Bowl against Louisville.
Kyle Gingg (5-11, 215, So.) is another bruising hitter that Boise State expects big things from. The rising star from Phoenix was in on nine tackles last year as a backup linebacker and special teams player. He started against Georgia and had two tackles against the SEC powerhouse. In high school, Gingg he was the Arizona Republic 1A-3A Player of the Year on an undefeated state championship team.
Junior Mike Altieri (5-11, 218) is coming along nicely as well and should push for playing time. He was a backup last year and a force on special teams, totaling 11 tackles and one for loss. His highlight came against Georgia, when Altieri had a season-high three tackles, including nailing a Bulldog runner behind the line.
Former Bishop Kelly star Tim Brady (6-1, 221, So.) is now ready to show his stuff on the Blue after redshirting last year. Brady transferred from Caroll College.
Dallas Dobbs (6-2, 225) is yet another talented athlete who has learned a new position after playing defensive back in high school. Dobbs set position records in the power clean, lifting 358 pounds, and the bench press (365).
Undaunted by the talent in front of him, freshman Zac McNally (6-0, 224) has been working extremely hard in the weight room, where he had a position-best 565 pounds in the back squat. The mark was just 45 pounds away from tight end Richie Brockel's team best of 610. McNally redshirted last year after walking on with the Broncos. A 2005 graduate from De La Salle High School, one of the most successful high school programs in the country, McNally finished there with 118 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and three interceptions as a senior and was named third-team all-state.
Yet another local product is former Centennial athlete Bryan Anderson (6-2, 217) and freshmen Brandon Huppert (6-1, 206) and Steven Wulff (6-2, 228) enter the mix this season as well. The Broncos also recruited some highly regarded freshmen in their 2006 class--more on them in the fall preview.
Under former defensive coordinator Ron Collins, the Bronco defense was set up to allow the linebackers to make the tackles. If that system remains intact under new coordinator Justin Wilcox, this group is more than capable. They are some of the hardest-hitting tacklers on the Bronco defense. As Wilcox aims to improve other areas, the linebacking crew remains a constant, a cornerstone of dependability.