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Revisiting the Boise State 2014 Class: Defensive Backs

The final part of our series.

NCAA Football: Mountain West Championship-Fresno State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to a fun off-season series that Casey (of OBNUG) and Mike (of MWCConnection) are rolling out for your viewing enjoyment (hopefully). Back in February, excitement was at an all time high for fans and coaches alike as the 2018 class was officially signed. Quite often around that time it is not uncommon to hear fans say things like “On paper, this is the best recruiting class ever for ____.” And on paper, that may even be true or arguably true. However, once players get on campus and actually on the field, the true story begins to reveal itself. It can often take years for a class to truly be judged as the impact of many players won’t be seen for a few seasons. That being said, this series will aim to revisit and evaluate Boise State’s 2014 class. There has now been enough time that many members of the class have either left or are entering their final seasons, which means players are able to be looked at for their production (or lack thereof) rather than projection and hype. Also, this was the first recruiting class in the Bryan Harsin era for the Broncos. Although it was basically only put together over a period of a few weeks, there was quite a bit of hype surrounding the class back in February of 2014.

Anyway, each week, Casey and Mike will look at a different position group from the class. Both of us will contribute each week, but the location of the post will change (one week on one site, the next week on the other) so followers of both sites can follow along. Each post will have both of us weighing in on the same talking points for each season: our expectations of the player from when they signed, the production they gave each season on the team, and their overall impact, which we will fit into one of 3 categories (exceeded expectations, met expectations, or below expectations). We will each keep a running tally of our totals and then at the end we can each determine the over impact the 2014 class had. It should be a fun and interesting study as the 2014 Boise State class had a little bit of everything over the past 4 years.

The final part of our series will cover the two members of this class who played defensive back. One came with a huge amount of potential and the other the usual amount of potential. But it didn't’ matter as neither completed their careers at Boise State. Also, Casey and Mike give their final thoughts on the class as a whole.

Zavior Hoxie

Casey

Expectations When He Signed: Really I didn’t have a lot of expectations for Zavior when he signed. I passed on offers from Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Illinois and ECU to name a few, so it’s not like he was a slouch or anything. I think there was just a lot of excitement around DSG at the time.

2014: As expected, Zavior red shirted, but i looked forward to the depth he would provide at CB the following season.

2015: Hoxie didn’t even make it through spring camp before leaving the team in March. Presumably it was the emergence of Tyler Horton, but it seemed kind of early for that. It may also have been the number of players at DB that were brought in in the 2015 class.

Overall Impact: Definitely failed to meet expectations. While i didn’t really have many expectations for Hoxie, I expected him to stay longer than one season in which he didn’t play. Zero impact on the team.

Mike

Expectations When He Signed: Hoxie was a late in the process recruit, committing a short time before signing day and as far as the general public new, someone who wasn’t on the radar of many. Still, he was one of the first Marcel Yates recruits, and fans expected Yates to develop him into a solid contributor by the end of his Boise State career. There was also of course the dream of a Hoxie and Moxey defensive backfield.

2014: Hoxie red-shirted, as was to be expected in his first season.

2015: Hoxie left the team in the spring, which was not to be expected. Barely a year after signing and not even being on campus for a year.

Overall Impact: It’s hard to say Hoxie made much of an impact, as we aren’t privy to his time on the scout team or anything else. That aside, Hoxie wasn’t able to see the field in his brief time. Although he wasn’t expected to be a star, he still failed to meet expectations.

Dylan Sumner-Gardner

Casey

Expectations When He Signed: To say expectations for DSG were sky-high would be an understatement. He was one of the biggest recruits we have ever landed and he flipped from an SEC school. I’m not sure we have had many players with expectations as high as we have had for DSG. He passed on offers from TAMU, LSU, Auburn, Clemson, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, TCU, Texas, etc. Basically, you name the school, he had an offer from them.

2014: DSG played in every game as a true freshman, which I think people were expecting. Maybe expecting isn’t the right word, but hoping, and hoping to make an impact. While is 19 tackles wasn’t astonishing, having that impact directly out of high school was promising. Playing with the likes of Jeremy Ioane, Darian Thompson and Chancellor James, he was likely to share time anyway.

2015: The season started with a lot of promise, but was cut short. After four games, DSG suffered a season ending injury requiring surgery. The tumult of his tenure began, though, after he did not travel to the Poinsettia Bowl after a run-in with the police.

2016: This was meant to be DSG’s comeback year. After enduring an injury and a hiccup with the police, he was sure the bounce back. Unfortunately, that was not the case. After being ruled academically ineligible, he missed the first four games. He battled through a shoulder injury, which he had surgery on after the season, but he never made it to the end. He committed multiple team rule violations throughout the year and was eventually dismissed from the team.

Overall Impact: Dylan Sumner-Gardner could well have been a Bronco legend. He had plenty of talent and ability, but couldn’t get out of his own way. I think all of the fans wanted so much for him to live up to the hype, but that hype was never realized. DSG failed to meet the expectations of the Bronco faithful and left with a tarnished reputation. The fans want nothing but the best for him, hoping he changes his ways.

Mike

Expectations When He Signed: Oh DSG, the highest rated recruit to ever commit, sign, and play for the Broncos. He was the first get of the Harsin era, following new DC Yates over from Texas A&M. He basically personified the hype of the recruiting class and the new era of Boise State football when he announced his commitment out of nowhere. Expectations for DSG were as high as could possibly be for the consensus 4-star safety.

2014: DSG was on campus for spring ball and played as a true freshman. I believe he saw time in every game but the opener against Ole Miss. He played well enough for a true freshman in a backup role. Although he didn’t set the world on fire, the experience should help prepare him going forward.

2015: He emerged next season as a starting safety and one could arguably say that September may have been his career highlight as a Bronco. He made 4 starts and outside of a game saving interception that went through his hands and a taunting penalty, he played pretty solid. In the Virginia game, he suffered a season ending ankle injury, but was able to use his redshirt that year. Although he wouldn’t have played, he was suspended for the bowl game for a violation of team rules and didn’t make the trip with the team.

2016: This was supposed to be his real breakout season but it never really got off the ground. He was ruled academically ineligible for the first four games of the season. He finally got on the field and continued his hard-hitting ways, but was suspended for a game due to a violation of team rules. He still wasn’t healthy, as he was going to have surgery after the season. However, he was dealing with academic issues and another violation of team rules, so he was removed from the team in late December.

Overall Impact: Dylan’s career with Boise State was quite the roller coaster and he only showed minimal flashes of his tremendous potential in parts of his 3 seasons. He would have had to been a multi-season star to even live up to the expectations placed on him, but with the injuries, off the field trouble, and eventually being dismissed from the team, DSG definitely failed to meet expectations.

Running Totals:

Casey: 4 exceeded expectations, 5 met expectations, 9 failed to meet expectations.

Mike: 3 exceeded expectations, 6 met expectations, 9 failed to meet expectations.

Final Thoughts:

Casey: I thought this class was going to be fire. There was SO much potential in Harsin’s first class, I thought they were going to blow things up and shock the football landscape. Man was I wrong. Looking back, 9 players met or exceeded expectations and 9 failed. My baseline would be all of them meeting expectations. Maybe that is unrealistic, but that many that failed to meet expectations is a lot to me, especially considering how much talent there was. Maybe the hype was so high because we wanted us the pick up where Petersen left off (or maybe a few seasons before). Alas, it was not to be...yet. I think the players who exceeded expectations overshadowed those who failed. Heck, I bet a lot of fans even forgot about most of them! The ones who excelled and battled it out are the ones that will be remembered.

Mike: The Boise State 2014 classes produced some great players and some quality players, but was largely a disappointment due to players transferring or being kicked off the team. It’s important to remember that the first class of the Harsin era was put together in just over a month, and with most last-minute classes, sacrifices in character or talent have to be made to fill out the class. While the hype at the time was at an extremely high level, they weren’t able to live up to it. Perhaps it is most fair to say they filled a role at the time by engaging the fan base in the transition, but overall never fulfilled their expectations on the field. Still, it demonstrated how well Harsin and his staff have been able to recruit over the years.