Learning The Bronco Way

Learning the Bronco way is not easy. It takes a dedication that is a distinct level above high school football and unique from even most other colleges. Those that put in the intensity, the passion and the hard work are rewarded well. The 2008 Boise State recruiting class is beginning to discover what it takes to be a Bronco and we will learn a lot about the group this fall.

Now we'll find out what the 2008 recruiting class is made of.  Most have gone through their redshirt year and it's time to see if they will uphold the strong tradition of the Broncos.  

It was generally thought that this was an outstanding class—so far though only one player (safety George Iloka) (6-3, 210) has made an immediate contribution as a starter.  So it's time for this group to step up and be counted.  

Iloka is a sure-tackling, hard-hitting safety with great size that can do it all.  Iloka is always around the ball and is a playmaker on defense.  Iloka graduated from his high school in Texas early so he could enroll at Boise State in January of 2008 and practice in spring ball last year.  That dedication paid huge dividends, not only for George but for the Bronco team.   

He played in all 13 games last season and was the fourth-leading tackler on the team with 63; 45 of those were solo tackles.  Iloka was a fixture in opponents' backfields, getting 6.5 tackles for loss.  He was also tied for second on the Broncos and fifth in the Western Athletic Conference with four interceptions to go with six more passes that he broke up.  Iloka clearly is the latest in a long line of great Bronco safeties that is headed for the National Football League if he continues his amazing play.  

Byron Hout (6-0, 241)was the Idaho 5A State Player of the Year coming out of Lake City High School in Coeur D'Alene .  While he didn't start, he saw increasing action as the year went on, and made one of the spectacular plays of the year with an interception against TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl that he returned for 62 yards. Hout outshone all of the Bronco running backs in the game on that one play with his running ability.  Hout saw action in 10 games and in addition to the highlight interception finished with 27 tackles, including six for losses totaling 39 yards, four sacks for minus-35 yards, one forced fumble, one recovery and one pass deflection.   

Defensive tackle Michael Atkinson, (6-0, 324, Fr.)who has quickly acquired the nickname "Bacon" as another of the long line of Canadian players signed by Boise State, made a lot of progress in practice and was expected to play a lot on the defensive line for the Broncos this fall.  His choice to drink and drive in July jeopardized his future and he was suspended for three games. Any contribution he was to make this fall will be delayed by at least that long.   

The 2008 class, in fact, featured a lot of linemen among the 20 recruits—eight of them were recruited as either offensive or defensive linemen.  Faraji Wright (6-3, 282, Fr.) was billed as the next Ryan Clady.  If that's true he will be starting for the Broncos this fall since Clady started as a redshirt freshman.  Big Tom Swanson (6-6, 283, Fr.) is another side of beef that would be a big boost to the weak offensive line that had trouble opening holes for the Bronco run game last year.  Here's two more of which great things were expected of them when they signed with Boise State:  guards Joe Kellogg (6-2, 301, Fr.) and Bronson Durrant (6-3, 258, Fr.).  Durrant and Brenel Myers (6-2, 255, Fr.) haven't filled out. They are right now more the size of last year's Bronco line and we know that doesn't work.  

Joining Atkinson in the group hoping to make an impact on the defensive line are Greg Grimes (6-0, 270, Fr.) and Darren Koontz (6-3, 262, Fr.).  

Daron Mackey (6-0, 230) came to Boise State as a junior college transfer, but he has two years of eligibility left.  With the Bronco defense switching to a 4-2-5 this fall, the competition will be fierce for those two ‘backer spots.  It's time for Mackey to show what he can do.  Tommy Smith has switched to strong linebacker and he'll be pushing for playing time as well.  

Jamar Taylor (5-11, 191, So.) is a talented cornerback that will give Boise State excellent depth and Tyler Jackson is a speedy safety that will be battling for time in the secondary.  

Chris Potter (5-11, 170, Fr.) was a highly-regarded wide receiver out of Westlake Village , California .  Big things are expected of Potter and with Jeremy Childs leaving school early, he could get his chance sooner than first thought.   

Coach Chris Petersen and his staff recruited two running backs in the '08 class (Jack Sula and Raphiel Lambert) but Sula is gone and Lambert (5-11, 197) converted to cornerback.  With great depth at that position, Boise State won't suffer but incoming recruit Malcolm Johnson (5-11, 190) will gladly get the reps.  Van Drumgoole from Caldwell 's Vallivue High School is the other player who has left the program.  

Since Boise State has progressively received more national respect, one would expect each recruiting class to be better than the last.  The feeling was that the 2008 class was one of the best and, while Iloka and Hout have already shown what they can do, the other members of the class need to step up this fall and be counted.

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