Boise State's Defense Begins to Take Shape

Question: What do Boise State’s LB J. C. Percy, 6-0, 221 lbs, and CB Jamar Taylor, 5-11, 195 lbs, both have in common?

Answer: They are the only two returning starters from last year’s 16th nationally ranked Broncos defense.

That is why defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, now in his 2nd year, has his work cut out. He needs to rebuild a badly depleted and inexperienced defense and has less than three months left on the schedule to do it. Luckily, he has a stable of talented Broncos to help him out in that department. And perhaps no one player is more important than sophomore DE Demarcus Lawrence, 6-4, 248 lbs. Lawrence is a JC transfer out of Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas and received offers from Oklahoma, Kansas State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Minnesota, Clemson, and South Florida among others before he accepted one from the Broncos.

The Aiken, South Carolina native could become the next Boise State defensive super star. He was already a proven commodity after earning first-team JC Gridwire and second-team NJCAA All-American honors last season. His JC squad won the Jayhawk Conference and Region IV Championships, and finished the year ranked No. 2 in the final national poll. Lawrence did his part to make all that happen finishing the year with 66 tackles, the second-most on the team, and registering a team high 27 tackles-for-loss. He also grabbed onto a bunch of quarterbacks and racked up 10 sacks. That's how being able to run the forty in 4.6 seconds helps.

During Boise State’s spring game Lawrence was all over the field rudely introducing himself to the Broncos offense. He proved to everyone that he is already capable of starting at the end/outside linebacker position where Shea McClellin, now with the Chicago Bears, played last year. Those are some big cleats to fill---no doubt about it---but what gives him incentive is that redshirt freshman Sam Ukwuachu, 6-5, 215 lbs, is also making a run at the starting slot for McClellin's old job.

Right now, if Lawrence starts, here is how the defensive lineup might look:

DE Demarcus Lawrence, 6-4, 248 lbs.

DE Beau Martin, 6-2, 253 lbs., or Darren Koontz, 6-3, 280 lbs, at the other end

DT Michael Atkinson, 6-0, 312 lbs.

DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, 6-3, 303 lbs.

LB J.C. Percy, 6-0, 221 lbs.

LB Tommy Smith, 6-1, 236 lbs.

NB Dextell Simmons, 5-10, 202 lbs.

CB Jerrell Gavins, 5-9, 167 lbs.

CB Jamar Taylor, 5-11, 196 lbs.

SS Jeremy Ioane, 5-10, 192 lbs.

FS Lee Hightower, 6-1, 183 lbs.

In addition to Percy and Taylor, Atkinson and Tjong-A-Tjoe are among the few players who have any game experience on a defensive team that is in critical need of playmakers. That is where Lawrence could make all the difference.

“He’s been pretty impressive,” senior nickel Dextrell Simmons told the Idaho Statesman back in April during spring ball. “He’s always running to the ball. I feel like he’s progressing faster than I did.”

Boise State fans will be able to judge that for themselves when the season begins August 31st at Michigan State.
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