Defensive End Depth Grows

Idaho's depth at Defensive End (still one of the youngest platoons on the team) grew this off-season, both literally and figuratively. Specifically, Idaho signed a couple twins from southern California's LA Southwest College, including <b>Ernest Davis</b> (6-6, 230 pounds), the taller of the two. Both enrolled at Idaho in January, and will be working with the rest of this young unit during Spring Drills.

The shuffling the Idaho defensive staff has been doing to the defensive line was not restricted to the defensive tackles. Several changes of note have been made to the defensive end depth chart as well, and is presented below.

Junior Brandon Kania heads the group and will most certainly be counted on as a leader this fall. The rest of the depth chart offers some nice size and alot of potential. The best news is that the entire depth chart is on campus now and will be participating in spring drills. The group must replace senior Dennis Taeatafa (lost to graduation), and several of the youngsters will need to step up to the challenge.

We think they will.

Returning Starters: Brandon Kania

AP Photo
Brandon Kania
6-3, 235, Jr
It seems like junior Brandon Kania has been with Idaho forever, and for good reason. He joined the Vandals in 2001, and by the 3rd week of that season he was starting as a true freshman (making his debut against UW, in a game that went a long way towards helping him be named to The Sporting News Freshman All-American Team). He battled JC transfer Kody Kraus early in the season for PT, but by the fifth game both Brandon and Kody were Idaho's starting Defensive Ends. Brandon ended the year 8th on the team in tackles (41), fourth in sacks (4), and fourth in tackles for loss (8). Assuming he continues to develop like he has the past 2 seasons, his next 2 years should be impressive.

One major roster change to note is that Kody, who ended the year 13th on the team in tackles (28) with a sack, will be moving to linebacker for Idaho this spring. Its the position he played in college (Ricks), and significantly strengthens an already solid Vandal linebacking corp.

Idaho will be breaking in its 3rd defensive line coach in the last 3 years, so Brandon's leadership will be keen to the unit's success this fall.

Players on the rise: Mike Bonelli Photo
Mike Bonelli
6-2, 236, So
Idaho was fortunate to land an outstanding prospect out of St. Bonaventure High School in 2001, Mike Bonelli. In a defensive end rotation last year that included 1 senior, 2 juniors and a sophomore above him on the depth chart, Mike still saw action in 9 games. We expect to see this talented redshirt sophomore on the field more this year, even though 2 JC transfers were brought in this spring. Mike's patience, hard work and determination will eventually pay off, and probably sooner rather than later.

Keep an eye out for redshirt freshman Andrew Stobart (6-3, 268) out of Boise. Andrew was recruited to Idaho as a fullback, but has been also considered a solid DE prospect almost from day one. Consequently, after a redshirt year in the weightroom, he will be making the transition this spring to DE. Also, Idaho will be moving redshirt sophomore linebacker Tim Bertalot (Portland, OR) to defensive end this spring. He's spent the off-season hitting the weights hard (adding 30 pounds to his frame since signing with Idaho 2 years ago), and should be in the middle of the hunt for PT next fall.

Newcomers: Eric Davis, Ernest Davis

Courtesy LA Southwest College
Eric Davis
6-5, 240, Jr
Although it didn't look like Idaho would go the JC route for defensive end recruits this year, Coach Cable and staff found a couple gems in twin bookends Eric and Ernest Davis. These Los Angeles natives are already on campus, and both should make their Vandal debut in the annual Silver and Gold Game on Friday, April 25th at The Dome.

The twins are coming off a junior college career in which they were both named to the All-Conference Team as sophomores (Ernest also earned recognition to the All-Conference team as a freshman). The Davis brothers bring a welcome infusion of size to the defensive end position this year, and a healthy boost in overall DE depth.

* = walk-on last fall
Returning starters listed at top in BOLD.
Players with starting experience (+) listed below starters.
Remaining players listed by class.
Brandon Kania, 6-3, 236, Jr
Eric Davis, 6-5, 240, Jr
Ernest Davis, 6-6, 230, Jr
Mike Bonelli, 6-2, 236, So
Tim Bertalot, 6-3, 252, So
Andrew Stobart, 6-3, 268, RS-Fr
Dan Aizpitarte, 6-3, 240, True-Fr

Andrew Stobart
6-3, 268, RS-Fr

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