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Revisiting the Boise State 2016 Class: Linebackers.

We review the 3 LBs in this class.

NCAA Football: Boise State at San Diego State Jake Roth-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 2020 class was officially signed. Like every year, fans often tout a class as potentially one of the best on paper. 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 2016 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 one posts each week for the next ten weeks, 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 2016 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 was the class that dubbed themselves “Dream Team 16” and was the first Boise State class to begin bonding on social media as well as a private group messaging app (which backfired when two flipped to Missouri as seemingly a package deal). It was the class that endured three coaching departures in the off-season, and nabbed a few late commitments at key positions.

This is the linebacker post. Only two of the three are considered true linebackers. And spoiler: none of them finished their careers as Broncos.

Tyson Maeva

Casey

Expectations when he signed - Maeva had great tape coming out of high school, solid size and had passed on some other MW teams, which we always like to see.

2016 Season - Despite some uncertainty due to an injury in high school, Maeva played in 12 games, recording 21 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Very good numbers for a true freshman.

2017 Season - Played in 14 games, starting 13 of them. Recorded 84 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. The huge jump in production earned him Second-Team All-MW honors and a rightful spot as an anchor on the defense.

2018 Season - Played and started in 12 games. He had 61 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. He dropped in the number of total tackles, but wreaked some havoc in the backfield.

2019 Season - Kicked off the team and transferred for FIU.

Overall Impact - The unfortunate circumstances surrounding the end of his career as a Bronco shouldn’t shroud what he did on the field while he was here. He met expectations, but was certainly in a position to exceed them.

Zach

Expectations when he signed: I was really excited for Maeva, I knew he would have a chance to play right away. However, there were some questions after he suffered a knee injury in high school.

2016 Season: Was surprisingly healthy enough to play as a true freshman. He finished the season with 21 tackles.

2017 Season: Maeva became a reliable starter and finished third on the team with 84 tackles. Became a great one-two punch with Leighton Vander Esch.

2018 Season: Maeva started all 12 games he appeared in and finished the season with 61 tackles and four sacks. He was dismissed for behavior reasons after the season.

2019 Season: Was kicked off the team and redshirted at Florida International.

Overall Impact: Maeva’s dismissal was a shocker. He was missed last year, hopefully he will bounce back at FIU. I’m going to go with met expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed: I didn’t know what to think of Tyson. He was an above average recruit on paper but I don’t remember thinking he was a huge get or anything. Andy Avalos knew what he had though.

2016 Season: He found his way onto the field as a true freshman right away, which was surprising. Maeva had a productive season as a backup first year, playing in 12 games and notching 21 tackles.

2017 Season: His experience the year before proved valuable as Tyson was thrust into a larger role due to attrition. He excelled, starting 13 of 14 games and producing 84 tackles, which resulted in All-MWC Honorable Mention. The future seemed set at middle linebacker.

2018 Season: Tyson continued producing on the field, to the tune of 61 tackles, 8 TFLs, and 4 sacks in 12 games. In hindsight, it seemed like the tea leaves were pointing to things coming to an end. He didn’t play in one game and Harsin uttered the peculiar “We didn’t need him.” line. He was then sent home from the team’s bowl game (although they didn’t play it anyway) for bringing some weed along with him and he was dismissed from the team.

2019 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: Usually being kicked off the team is almost an automatic failed to meet expectations. However, Tyson had three productive seasons for the Broncos and that is more than most get. If he played all four years, I probably wouldn’t went with exceeded expectations since I didn’t see him as a highly rated recruit coming in. Somehow I considered all three options and settled with met expectations, even though in some ways that’s probably the least accurate of the three for me.

Desmond Williams

Casey

Expectations when he signed - Another solid signee. Centennial is a powerhouse in California, he passed on an offer from WSU and his highlights were great.

2016 Season - Redshirt, as expected.

2017 Season - Appeared in 14 games, starting one of them. Finished with 30 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Very impressive start to a career.

2018 Season - Appeared in 13 games, starting 4. Finished with 28 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and a sack.

2019 Season - Out of nowhere, Williams transferred. He had been playing at a very high level, despite splitting time with Kaniho. He ended up at Weber State.

Overall Impact - I have to say he failed to meet expectations despite a promising start to his career as a Bronco.

Zach

Expectations when he signed: VERY HIGH. I believed that Williams would be a Boise State great. Things did not turn out like I expected.

2016 Season: Redshirted, but was the scout team defensive player of the year.

2017 Season: Williams quickly made an impact as a rotational player. He finished the season with 30 tackles and two sacks while sharing time with Kaniho.

2018 Season: Williams had another solid season in a reserve role. Finishing with 28 tackles and five tackles for loss.

2019 Season: In a shocker, Williams announced he was transferring. I thought he would end up at a Power Five school. But landed at Weber State.

Overall Impact: Williams was solid when he was here. But I thought he was going to be a star, so I have to go with failed to meet expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed: Desmond was one of the better gets in this class. A great recruit for the Broncos, a bit undersized but talented player from a powerhouse program. He looked like a good bet to become one of the stars of the defense at some point in his career.

2016 Season: Even though quite a few in this class played as a true freshman, Williams wasn’t one of them. He did however win scout defensive POY.

2017 Season: Williams had a productive first season on the field, playing in every game and even starting one. He put up pretty good stats in a timeshare at the positon, 30 tackles, 3 TFLS, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The future looked bright.

2018 Season: Again, Williams appeared in every game and this time made four starts. He stayed in his timeshare at the position and the duo complimented each other well. His numbers were comparable; 28 tackles, 5 TFLs, 1 sack, 2 FF.

2019 Season: In a surprising move, Desmond announced he was traveling and went over to Weber State to play with his buddy Jake Constantine. He had a good thing going in his role at BSU, but I suppose he wanted to be the clear cut starter. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in fall camp last year for Weber State.

Overall Impact: Williams flashed his potential and ability in his role during his two years on the field at Boise State. However, he wasn’t able to fully reach it. Perhaps he wouldn’t have even staying, as he likely would have continued to split time with Kaniho for the remaining two years. But he did leave and so I’ll go with failed to meet expectations here.

Ali’i Niumatalolo

Casey

Expectations when he signed - I was pretty stoked to land Ali. I think that was partly because his dad was the Navy coach haha.

2016 Season - Never. Showed. Up. He ended up at Utah.

2017 Season - N/A

2018 Season - N/A

2019 Season - N/A

Overall Impact - You can’t have an impact if you don’t even show up. Failed to meet expectations.

Zach

Expectations when he signed: This was exciting. He had solid offers and chose to become a Bronco. Or so we thought.

2016 Season: Never played for Boise State. Ended up at Utah.

2017 Season

2018 Season

2019 Season

Overall Impact: Failed to meet expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed: I wasn’t that high on Ali’i when he announced, as I vaguely remember a more talented LB still being on the table (could be imagining it now). Anyway, he seemed like he would be fine, was the son of Navy head coach, and he was taking an LDS mission so wasn’t counting on him for much.

2016 Season: In an unusual story, he ended his mission early and was ready to enroll at Boise State. The problem was, Boise State wasn’t ready for him, as they didn’t have the room. He then reopened his recruitment and went to Utah instead.

2017 Season: N/A

2018 Season: N/A

2019 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: It’s not really fair to rate him, but we threw him in since he was part of the class and had a unique story. He of course fails to meet expectations, but it may have been different had he been able to join the team.

Running Totals:

Casey: 5 exceeded expectations, 6 met expectations, 12 failed to meet expectations.

Zach: 5 exceeded expectations, 6 met expectations, 12 failed to meet expectations

Mike: 5 exceeded expectations, 7 met expectations, 11 failed to meet expectations.