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Revisiting the Boise State 2015 Class: Cornerbacks and Nickels.

Our series continues on.

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

Welcome to a fun off-season series that Casey (of OBNUG), Zach, and Mike (both 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 2019 class was officially signed. Like every year, fans often tout a class as potentially one of the best on paper. This year it was actually the case. 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 2015 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.

Anyway, each week, Casey, Zach, and Mike will look at a different position group from the class. While we will contribute a post each week, the location of the post will change (one week on one site, the next week on the other) so readers of both sites can follow along. Each post will have all 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 2015 class had. It should be a fun and interesting study to see what kind of careers each player had and revisit some names that may have been forgotten.

This week will take a look at half of the defensive backs, specifically the two cornerbacks and one who was more of a nickelback. Two of the three players remained with the Broncos their entire careers, but one of those two had a career that only last two seasons in Boise. The third player was only on the team for a year before departing. Read all about Darreon Jackson, Raymond Ford, and Tyler Horton below.

Darreon Jackson

Casey

Expectations when he signed

2015 Season

I had pretty high expectations for Darreon. He had a respectable offer list and I had heard good things from the coaches out of practice. With Darian Thompson, Chance James, DSG and Kam Miles on the roster as well, I was hesitant to think he would play right away. He took a red shirt for the 2015 season as expected.

Overall Impact

Jackson was expelled in May of 2016 as part of a sexual assault investigation. Jackson failed to meet expectations as he never set foot on the field.

Zach

Expectations when he signed

Very high. Jackson was a big time recruit and was supposedly very impressive in practice. Oh, what might have been.

2015 Season

Jackson redshirted, but was supposedly a star on the scout team.

Overall Impact

So much talent, but off the field issues prevented Jackson from becoming a star on “the Blue.” It is safe to say he did not meet expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed

Darreon was one of the big gets in this class. I believe he was a late commit, adding to the excitement. It was easy to see him becoming a cornerstone of the future secondary and making plays all over the field.

2015 Season

Jackson redshirted, which was disappointing but not a total surprise. There were whispers of him making quite the name for himself on the scout team and that kept expectations running high. Unfortunately, all of that stopped when Darreon left the team over the off-season due to the same incident that Hendrix was involved in. Interestly enough, Jackson wasn’t kicked off the team. Instead, he was suspended for a year and chose to leave the program.

Overall impact

Not much at Boise State. Darreon wanted to transfer to Kansas, but they denied his request due to his involvement in the off the field incident. He instead went to Coffeyville CC in Kansas and transferred to Arkansas State, where he finished the last two years of his career. At BSU, he failed to meet expectations.

Raymond Ford

Casey

Expectations when he signed

I always enjoy nabbing a JC guy, especially a former 4-star Cal commit. I anticipated that he would provide immediate depth at the position. Moxey, Maston, Deayon and Hartsfield were really the only players with meaningful playtime.

2015 Season

Ford finished the season with 15 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 pass break-ups after playing in 12 games and starting one. That is about what I had anticipated for him and was pleased with his play. I didn’t ever really worry about his coverage.

2016 Season

After playing in every game and starting one, Ford finished with 30 tackles, 1 interception and 5 pass break-ups. Really a solid career as a Bronco.

Overall Impact

Ford played well in a back-up role. You never really noticed a drop off in coverage when the two deep came on in the secondary. Ford met expectations of what I anticipated for him.

Zach

Expectations when he signed

I was lukewarm on this. It is so hard to know what you are getting when it comes to junior college players. The hope was that Ford could be a stopgap for the young recruits.

2015 Season

He played in 12 games, intercepting two passes and making 15 tackles. He proved to be a capable backup.

2016 Season

He played in all 13 games, including one start. He intercepted a pass and had 30 tackles. Ford put up some really solid numbers for a backup.

Overall Impact

For proved to be a serviceable backup, which is exactly what this team needed. He did his job and he did it well. I think it is fair to say that Ford met expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed

If I remember correctly, Ford entered the picture for Boise State after another JUCO cornerback flipped to another school. Don’t remember that player’s name but the word around social media was that other guy was a much better returner but Ford was the better CB. That being said, I expected him during his time at BSU to be a formidable backup who could spot start without making any big mistakes.

2015 Season

Ford earned immediate playing time, which isn’t always the case for junior college players moving into the D1 level. He played in 12 games and made one start but made the most of his snaps with two interceptions.

2016 Season

More of the same for Ford in his senior season, playing in 13 games and again making one start. He made one pick but had five pass-break ups and on top of that made 30 tackles. Raymond did his job when he got on the field and was rewarded with pretty good playing time.

Overall impact

Raymond wasn’t a star but he did exactly what was expected of him. He provided solid depth, didn’t make many mistakes in spot starts. JUCO players are brought in to plug gaps at a position and Ford accomplished that to a T. I’m probably shorting him a bit here but he meets expectations.

Tyler Horton

Casey

Expectations when he signed

I was super high on Horton when he signed. Passing on offers from Cal, Houston and a handful of MW schools, I felt like Horton would be the next great lock-down corner for the Broncos.

2015 Season

Horton played in 12 games, starting two. He finished with 12 tackles and a pass break-up. In most positions, I would have been surprised to see a true freshman play as much as Horton did, but with a lack of depth at the position and his skill level, I wasn’t surprised.

2016 Season

Horton started all 13 games as a true sophomore, finishing with 35 tackles, 9 pass break-ups and an interception returned for 85 yards. I feel like that kind of set the tone for the rest of his career.

2017 Season

After starting 13 games (missing on the Las Vegas bowl), Tyler contributed 44 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 11 pass break-ups, 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles, both recovered, one of which was returned for a touchdown. After yet another remarkable season, Horton was named to the All-MW First Team.

2018 Season

Horton started all 11 games he appeared in, finishing with 46 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and notched 3 defensive scores (2 fumble recoveries and 1 interception), becoming just the 5th FBS player with 2 fumble recoveries for touchdowns in one game. After yet another stellar season, Horton earned All-MW First Team for the second straight year.

Overall Impact

Initially, I was going to list Horton as meeting expectations based on the anticipation that he would be stellar. After going back through all of his accomplishments and what he meant to the Broncos throughout his career, I have to say he exceeded expectations. Yup, I was sky high on him when he got here, yet somehow he surpassed my expectations.

Zach

Expectations when he signed

Tyler Horton is one of the highest rated cornerback recruits Boise State has ever had. He had a late offer from Florida and most Boise State fans wondered if he was really committed. Tyler was expected to be an immediate contributor.

2015 Season

He appeared in 12 games and made two starts as a true freshman. His numbers were not mind blowing, but his immediate impact had Bronco fans excited for his future.

2016 Season

Horton started every game and had his most exciting moment against Washington State, where he intercepted a pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown. He finished the season with 35 tackles and earned Mountain West player of the week honors for his performance against Washington State. He also staked his claim as the number one corner.

2017 Season

Horton was a first team all Mountain West selection for a Broncos team that won the conference championship. He finished the season with 44 tackles, two interceptions, and had a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown.

2018 Season

Horton was once again a first team all Mountain West Selection and started all eleven games that he appeared in. His absence proved to be significant against Oklahoma State. He scored three defensive touchdowns (two fumbles and one interception).

Overall Impact

There is no denying that Horton was a great player during his time in Boise. He started for three years and was a contributor the moment he stepped foot on campus. For most players that would land them in the exceeded expectations category, but Horton was expected to do big things. It was a close call, but I am going with met expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed

Tyler Horton was the recruit who silently committed and really sold it well. He was coy on social media, entertained offers, and didn’t even have Boise State on the table for his hat ceremony. But both he and coaches knew he was a Bronco all the way. He was a very highly-rated cornerback coming out of high school and he seemed destined to become an impact player during his career with the Broncos.

2015 Season

Horton played right away his freshman year and was really brought along near perfectly. He played in 12 games, basically served as the #4 CB, gained experience, and by the end of the season, had 2 starts under his belt. Tyler didn’t blow anyone away but proved he belonged.

2016 Season

Tyler won a starting spot to start the season and never looked back. He had one of the highlights of the season with an 85 yard interception return and played solid coverage all season. In total, he broke up 9 passes and made 35 tackles.

2017 Season

Horton filled up the stat sheet in an accomplished junior campaign. He had two picks, 11 pass break ups, two forced fumbles (one returned for a touchdown) plus 44 tackles. This spring-boarded him into a first team MWC selection.

2018 Season

More of the same for Tyler as the senior leader. He was once again first team MWC and it was well deserved. Horton was a play-making machine, starting with the season-opener against Troy in which he returned two fumbles for touchdowns. In total he recovered four fumbles, had a team record-setting three defensive touchdowns, and notched 46 tackles to go along with 5 pass breakups.

Overall impact

Tyler Horton had an extraordinary Boise State career. He was a four year contributor, three year starter, two year first team MWC selection, and the CB that opposing teams had to scheme against. He amassed tons of highlights and big plays in big moments and for that, he exceeded expectations.

Running Totals:

Casey: 4 exceeded expectations, 5 met expectations, 7 failed to meet expectations.

Zach: 2 exceeded expectations, 6 met expectations, 8 failed to meet expectations.

Mike: 2 exceeded expectations, 7 met expectations, 7 failed to meet expectations.