By Brian Murphy
National Signing Day has come and gone — and Boise State added 24 new players to its program. It's no longer about stars and recruiting services, now it's about production. Though many of the players won't join the program until August (and some won't join until January 2013), we wanted to get a better idea of who these newest Broncos are as players.
Chadd Cripe provide scouting reports of the Broncos' offensive signees here.
Here are scouting reports on the 12 defensive players in the Broncos' 2012 recruiting class:
• Cornerback Chaz Anderson (5-10, 164) played on both sides of the ball in high school, catching 14 passes for 356 yards on offense and recording 22 tackles on defense.
“Just fluid, great feet. For not a real heavy guy, he came up and would drop a shoulder,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “With corners, you’re looking at their feet, their hips, fluidity, speed and how they compete.”
• Defensive end Darien Barrett (6-3, 215) publicly announced his decision to sign with Boise State on National Signing Day. He had 42 tackles, including 10 sacks as a senior at Inglewood (Calif.) High.
“We knew about Darien for a long time. He’s sort of a tweener between a defensive end and an outside linebacker. As we got going, we felt like we needed more of those outside linebacker-type guys that can run and be on (special) teams,” Kwiatkowski said.
Barrett projects to play the Broncos’ “stud” defensive end position, where Shea McClellin played in 2011. That player can be a defensive end or a linebacker, depending on the play call.
• Linebacker Chris Collins (6-1, 208) is expected to grayshirt and join the Broncos’ program in January. Collins was a three-year starter at Santa Monica (Calif.) High, but really came on as a senior, when he had 124 tackles and 15 sacks. Former defensive backs coach Marcel Yates began the recruiting process with Collins.
“He had a really good senior year,” Kwiatkowski said. “Again, he’s physical and can run.”
• Cornerback Donte Deayon grabbed 24 interceptions in his high school career, including 11 as a junior. Boise State locked him up last summer, before the Pac-12 schools decided that his playmaking was more important than his size (5-9, 155). Deayon attended Boise State’s football camp.
“Donte’s a kid I’ve been hearing about ever since he was a freshman or sophomore,” said running backs coach Keith Bhonapha, who recruits the Inland Empire portion of Southern California. “Everybody was down on him because of his size, but I’m telling you, he’s a playmaker. Sophomore year, this kid made plays. Junior year, hey, he’s making a lot of plays. You ask a lot of the good receivers in the (Southern) California area, ‘Who’s the best DB you’ve played against?’ and they all were saying, ‘Donte Deayon.’ Finally, we just said, hey, maybe he is a good player.”
Said head coach Chris Petersen: “He’s got very good feet and really got a knack for the ball. Like most of our guys, he’s got a great energy to him. He’s a fun guy to be around.”
• Linebacker Tyler Gray (6-3, 215) graduated high school in 2011 and was a grayshirt at Hawaii. But the Warriors changed coaching staffs and Gray’s high school coach contacted Robert Prince about the linebacker attending Boise State. He makes a good first impression.
“Have you seen him yet?” Kwiatkowski asked. “You saw on his video that he can run, change direction and he’s physical. You can tell he likes to play football. Then when you saw him in person. He’s like 6-3. He’s a great-looking kid.”
Gray could also move to the Broncos’ “stud” defensive end position.
“He just looks like Shea, that body type. He’s taller. He’s not a 6-foot inside linebacker. He’s 6-3, 225 pounds that could probably be 260, like a Shea. That’s why we’re saying he could be that type of guy, a guy that could rush (the passer) or drop (into coverage),” linebackers coach Bob Gregory said.
“We were looking for that type of guy that maybe could end up being what we call a boundary defensive end, that ‘stud’ defensive end. Or could be an inside guy. A guy that would give us that flexibility.”
• Defensive tackle Elliot Hoyte (6-4, 275) played club football for the Bristol Aztecs of the British American Football League. He is from Tavistock, England — and naturally raw. The Broncos knew about him through former defensive tackle Chase Baker, who played in a rugby event in England. Hoyte attended the Broncos’ football camp.
“The football system he grew up in is called rugby,” Petersen said.
“He’s raw as they come coming from England. He’s just got to get used to, first of all, living in the United States, let alone how hard we work — we grind those guys in the weight room – and then school. He’s got a little bit of a learning curve here,” Kwiatkowski said. “He’s a tough kid. It’s just going to take time for him to get used to it.”
• Safety Chanceller James (6-2, 190) had five interceptions and 80 tackles as a senior at Steele Canyon HS in Spring Valley, Calif. Kwiatkowski recruited James and was impressed with his physical play.
“He likes to mix it up. He brought it. That’s the biggest thing. You want guys that are going to be physical at the point of contact and not necessarily be able to light you up when you’re not looking, but when it’s head on,” Kwiatkowski said.
James was high school teammates with offensive line signee Mario Yakoo.
• Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (6-4, 248) joined the Broncos in January. He was a second-team junior college All-America at Butler Community College in Kansas. He chose Boise State over Tennessee. A redshirt sophomore, he has three seasons of eligibility remaining.
“We put the tape on the other day just to look at it again and we were even more excited,” Petersen said.
Lawrence has impressed the staff in the weight room already, Kwiatkowski said.
“You can tell he’s an explosive dynamic guy. Watching his highlight tape again today, you forgot how fluid he was and explosive,” Kwiatkowski said. “This spring in the weight room and spring be will really be key for him getting his strength and getting the terminology of the defense down.”
• Defensive end Sam McCaskill (6-3, 230) committed to Boise State just days before National Signing Day. He led the state of Oregon in tackles (115) and sacks (16) as a senior, but was lightly recruited, in part, because he did not have a great junior season. McCaskill put on some weight for his senior season.
“He’s a great kid, a great personality. He just is a guy that played with a huge motor, was always running, was always around the ball, not taking downs off. He’s physical and a good athlete. We feel fortunate to have gotten him,” Kwiatkowski said. “… He wasn’t a guy that was on our radar early on.”
McCaskill committed after visiting Boise State. He also had an offer from Oregon State to grayshirt.
“What sold them was coming over on his visit,” said Gregory, who recruits Oregon. “He’s one of those relentless guys that’s going to work hard. He’s a smart kid. He’s going to play hard, achieve. Awesome kid.”
• Linebacker Andrew Pint (6-1, 220) attended Boise State’s football camp before earning all-state honors as a senior in Colorado. Pint had 85 tackles as a senior. He had 118 as a junior.
“We had him in camp and saw how he moved and how physical he was. He’s another outstanding kid, great work ethic,” Kwiatkowski said.
• Linebacker Chris Santini (6-1, 208) made plays all over the field as a senior at Leland HS in San Jose, Calif. He had 99 tackles, four sacks, two blocked field goals, five pass breakups, four fumble recoveries and a safety. Gregory said Santini could play nickel or weak side linebacker.
"We like him. We need some help at that linebacker position and we've got a few guys. We think that's another position that some of these young guys need to come in and get in the mix right away," Petersen said.
• Linebacker Ben Weaver (6-1, 225) stuck with his commitment to Boise State despite a late offer from nearby Texas A&M. The Klein, Texas, linebacker said Yates, who left Boise State for Texas A&M in January, was not involved in the Aggies’ recruiting.
"He made sure to stay out of it," Weaver said.
But that didn't stop the worry in Boise.
“I don’t think you ever take anything for granted. I’d be lying to you if I said I was very confident. It’s Texas A&M. It’s his home school. But I think he’s got great parents around him and we were recruiting him for a long time. I think he was able to see through a lot of that stuff that really this is the best place for him,” Gregory said.
The Broncos need immediate help at linebacker, one of the reasons Weaver was attracted to Boise State in the recruiting process.
“I’m going to work my butt off before I get there and when I get there to give myself the best chance,” said Weaver, a classic middle linebacker who has drawn comparisons to former Boise State linebacker Byron Hout.
Said Kwiatkowski: “Ben is just a heady football player. He’s explosive, quick reading the plays and finding the ball. He’s just got a really, really good nose for the ball.”
Most likely to play
Of the 12 defensive players, here is my list of the five most likely to make an impact in 2012:
1. DE Demarcus Lawrence: Boise State lost its top three defensive ends from 2011. He does not have a redshirt season available.
2. LB Tyler Gray: The Broncos' coaching staff seems impressed with his physical abilities. As a grayshirt, he's had some time to mature.
3. LB Ben Weaver: A middle linebacker in the mold of former Bronco Byron Hout. Boise State's depth at linebacker is not solid, plus the Broncos love to use linebackers on special teams.
4. S Chanceller James: I'm not sure anyone outside of the top three will actually play in 2012, but James fits at a position where the Broncos' depth chart has very few names.
5. LB Christopher Santini: He could play nickel or weak side linebacker, so that offers two possible positions where he might be needed.
What does your list look like?
• Chadd has a lot of interesting notes about the new-look Boise State coaching staff.
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