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Boise State Spring Preview: The Offensive Line and Tight Ends

The Broncos return nearly all of their starters, but can they start strong?

NCAA Football: Boise State at Troy Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos bring back all of their starters on the offensive line, but there are still plenty of questions that surround the position group. For the past two season, the offensive line has had slow starts that have led to the quarterback taking some vicious hits and the running backs starting slow. As the seasons have progressed, the play on the offensive line has improved. Early struggles have cost Boise State some games the past two years. Can it be avoided in 2019? Let’s take a look at who the Broncos will feature on the offensive line and at tight end and their likelihood of being the starter next season.

Offensive Line:

Isiah Moore

Moore will be entering his final season in Boise. He was a four star recruit coming out of junior college and was expected to do big things for the Broncos. Moore saw limited action this past season. He might see some time at right guard if Quevedo struggles.

Chances of starting: 10%

Garrett Larson

Larson will be entering his third season as the starting center. He has proven to be capable and consistent, but he has had some issues in pass protection. The Fruitland, Idaho native should be firmly entrenched into his starting spot, but it would not surprise me if talented freshman, Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez got some snaps.

Chances of starting: 100%

John Molchon

Molchon has been a fixture on the line. Along with Ezra Cleveland, the left side of the line has been a consistent strength for the Broncos. Molchon is an intriguing prospect who has the chance to play on Sundays. The senior will be missed in 2020.

Chances of starting: 100%

Eric Quevedo

Quevedo is the biggest uncertainty of all the returning starters. The right side of the line struggled for a good portion of the season, and Quevedo battled injuries part of the year. He struggled with holding calls and false starts throughout the season. Quevedo has some young talent behind him and will need to avoid the mistakes that plagued him throughout the 2018 season.

Chances of starting: 70%

Ezra Cleveland

The junior left tackle is one of the best in the country. Cleveland is a legitimate NFL prospect and has proven to be the next in line of great, Boise State left tackles. Through all of the struggles, Cleveland has been the consistent bright spot of the offensive line. He has a legitimate chance at being an early entry candidate in 2020.

Chances of starting: 100%

Kole Bailey

Bailey was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school in Idaho. Unfortunately, he has only seen action in mop up duty. It is hard to see where he will fit in next season.

Chances of starting: 5%

Nick Crabtree

Crabtree started his career as a tight end, was converted to a tackle, back to a tight end, and now a tackle again. Crabtree looked good in the fall scrimmage, and I think he has a chance to start in 2020. He will likely spell Ojukwu and Cleveland.

Chances of starting: 5%

Donte Harrington

Harrington started a few games for Quevedo while he was injured. There was no slip in the play of the offensive line, but there was also no noticeable improvement. He will look to push Quevedo in camp and earn a starting spot.

Chances of starting: 25%

Austin Dixon

Dixon is another young lineman who hasn’t had much of an opportunity to prove himself. The Arizona native only saw action in four games as a starter. He will probably have to wait for his senior season before he gets a chance at major playing time.

Chances of starting: 5%

John Ojukwu

Ojukwu was the most improved player on the offensive line. As a freshman, he replaced Andres Preciado at right tackle, and the play of the entire offensive line improved significantly when that change was made. The Boise High School graduate has a bright future.

Chances of starting: 80%

Garrett Curran

Curran has the size and speed to be a future fixture on the offensive line. At 6’5” and 293 pounds, Curran has the ability to play anywhere on the line. We probably won’t have the opportunity to see what he is made of until 2020.

Chances of starting: 1%

Dallas Holliday

Holliday played both sides of the line in high school. He was a late add to the 2018 recruiting class. He will likely be a scout team player as a redshirt freshman.

Chances of starting: 1%

Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez

Gonzalez has the potential to surprise a lot of people in 2019. He is the center of the future, but should see some time at center and possibly guard this coming season. The coaches utilized the four game rule with Gonzalez and used him as a fullback in some red zone situations. Now that Gonzalez has the full slate of games available., it will be interesting to see how the coaches utilize him.

Chances of starting: 10%

Tight Ends:

Matt Pistone

Pistone played in 11 games this past season, making one catch for four yards. He was primarily used in run blocking situations or in bunch formation. Entering his final season as a Bronco, it is hard to see that changing.

Chances of starting: 5%

Garrett Collingham

Collingham has played a variety of positions in his time as a Bronco. The Boise native and walk-on surprised a lot of people with his large role in the offense this season. When healthy, Collingham played as much as any tight end on the team and proved to be a reliable pass catcher.

Chances of starting: 30%

John Bates

There were huge hopes for Bates entering the 2018 season. He received rave reviews from the coaches in Fall camp and was even on the Mackey Award watch list. Bates finished the season with 10 catches for 155 yards. It will be interesting to see his role this coming season and if it changes with a more mobile quarterback. I believe that Bates has the most upside in this group; only time will tell.

Chances of starting: 35%

Austin Griffin

The rugby star turned tight end is an intriguing prospect. Griffin spent the previous two seasons in the junior college ranks where he looked like an elite run blocker. Griffin has great size and speed and should have a role in the offense right away. That four star ranking will be put to the test immediately.

Chances of starting: 20%

Tyneil Hopper

The former four star tight end redshirted this past season. Hopper’s high school tape was very impressive; his speed and catch passing ability are impressive. The one hold up on Hopper is his size compared to his fellow tight ends; he is only 6’2” 226 pounds. I expect the offense to play faster this season, and that fits perfectly with his talents. Hopper probably won’t start, but it wouldn’t shock me if he finished the season with double digit catches.

Chances of starting: 10%

Cole Ramseyer

Ramseyer is an intriguing prospect. He caught over 100 passes in high school and is a big target. I don’t think he will see a ton of action in 2019, but along with Hopper, the future at tight end is bright.

Chances of starting: 1%

As you can see, there is a ton of talent at tight end with no clear starter. Boise State tends to rotate tight ends and use as many as three at a time. I don’t see that changing in 2019. Bates will likely be the official starter, but a lot of guys will get quality snaps.