Last Line of Defense

If familiarity breeds success, then the Boise State secondary should have a phenomenal year. This is the third year that most of the the Broncos have played in the same defensive backfield. (Photos are courtesy of other use without permission is strictly prohibited.)

You'd better have a good secondary in the pass-happy Western Athletic Conference.

Boise State has built a quality one, and although cornerback Kyle Wilson is gone, the Broncos should be fine. Brandyn Thompson (5-10, 180, Sr.) benefited greatly by playing on the opposite side of Wilson; he got tested early and often and it made him better. Thompson had four interceptions in 2008 and six last year—none bigger than the pick-six against #3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. Thompson added 45 tackles last season. He is now a fast, athletic lockdown corner who earned Defensive Player of the Game honors in the Fiesta Bowl.

Jamar Taylor (5-11, 193, So.) was the main backup in 2008 before redshirting last season. He was recently named as the starter at cornerback opposite Thompson. Jamar is very physical and smart and has tremendous upside. Taylor had 24 tackles with an interception in 2008.

Senior Jeron Johnson (5-11, 194, Sr.) has been named second-team All-WAC two years in a row, which is fascinating as he was Boise State's leading tackler both seasons. Johnson had 91 tackles last year with six passes broken up and four interceptions. Johnson is a disruptive hitting machine who is one of the best open field tacklers in the country. Given that he is an All-America candidate as well as being on the Watch List for several national awards, will Johnson finally earn a spot on the prestigious All-WAC team?

Johnson's running mate is junior George Iloka (6-3, 207, Jr.). Iloka uses his size, athletic ability, speed and range to star at free safety. Together, Johnson and Iloka make up one of the top safety tandems in the country. Iloka is always around the ball and when that's the case, good things usually happen for Boise State. Iloka had 48 stops and and an interception last year.

Jerrell Gavins (5-9, 171, Jr.) is a former JUCO transfer who played in 12 games last season including the Fiesta Bowl. Gavins is battle-ready and prepared to go in at cornerback at any time, having seen meaningful action. Gavins is a dependable tackler with great speed. He had 31 tackles last season with four broken up passes. Antwon Murray (5-11, 177, Jr.), Quaylon Ewing (6-0, 175, Fr.), Ebenezer Mackinde (5-11, 64, Fr.), Brian Douglas (5-9, 170, So.) and Josh Borgman (5-7, 169, So.) are the other cornerbacks contending for playing time.

Junior Cedric Febis (6-3, 197) has been one of the top special team's performers and a key backup at safety. Febis is another player from the Netherlands who landed in Boise. Febis is a great athlete and will increasingly play a role in the Bronco defense. Junior Travis Stanaway (5-11, 188) is another player who slowly has been moving up the depth chart. Stanaway had 20 tackles and three broken up passes last season at strong safety and on special teams. Stanaway is active and a dependable tackler. Jason Robinson (5-11, 194) got off track and had to be suspended for the first three games. Hopefully, Jason can be a contributor to this great season in his senior year.

Jonathan Brown (5-10, 204, Fr.), Dane Turner (5-10, 170, Fr.) and Jeremy Ioane (5-11, 195, Fr.) are the other Bronco safeties.

This group should continue to get better as the season progresses. There is good experience returning and loads of talent.

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