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Revisiting the Boise State 2017 Class. Part 6: Defensive Backs (Part 1)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 08 UConn at Boise State Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to a fun off-season series that Drew (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 2021 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 2017 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, Drew, Zach, and Mike will look at a different position group from the class. While we will contribute two posts each week over the next month, the location of the posts will change. The start of the week will feature a post on OBNUG while the end of the week will see a post up on MWCConnection, that way 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. The impact 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 2017 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.

The 2017 recruiting class is in some ways a bridge between the two stages of recruiting during the Harsin era. The first few classes (which we have reviewed the past few years) were somewhat top-heavy, meaning some talented headliners and then more unheralded prospects filling out the rest of the ranks. The final three classes were a noticeable step up, possessing star-power and the back half of the class could be categorized as a high-floor. The 2017 class is right in the middle of that progression, taking a step forward in both overall talent as well as top to bottom depth. In fact, it was a strong class on paper at the time, even if it was immediately overshadowed by the 2018 class. To hear our thoughts on specific players from the class, read below.

Today is Part Six, which features the first half of the defensive backs. This post will examine four players who were positioned at cornerback. One was a high-profile recruit, one went through a position change, and another was a junior college player. Two of the four did not last long with the team.

Jermani Brown


Expectations when he signed: Anytime the Broncos land a 4-star, the expectations are going to be high. So, yeah...high.

2017 Season: Redshirt

2018 Season: Skipped town

2019 Season: Elsewhere

2020 Season: Still elsewhere (perhaps St. Elsewhere)

Overall Impact: Zero impact. That often happens when guys leave after a redshirt season. Failed to meet expectations in ways that only like two people can actually comprehend.


Expectations when he signed: The highest expectations I have ever had for a DB not named Dylan Sumner-Gardner. He was expected to be a great corner and a dynamic returner.

2017 Season: Redshirted

2018 Season: In a surprising move. Brown transferred to Iowa Western.

2019 Season: N/A

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: Zero, zilch. Probably one of the more surprising recruiting stories and not in a good way. Failed to meet expectations.


Expectations when he signed: As high as could be. Four-star cornerbacks don’t frequent Boise State’s commitment lists too frequently and Jermani looked the part on the field and is a quality young man from a quality family. I didn’t think he was a lock to play his first year but I thought he was a lock to be a three year starter.

2017 Season: Brown redshirted, which was a shock but also wasn’t a great sign. I do think there was some depth going on at the time here.

2018 Season: That depth must have been too deep to overcome, as Jermani decided to take his talents outside of Boise, assuming because he didn’t see a path to playing time.

2019 Season: N/A

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: Brown had potential to make an impact in the second half of his career, but we will never know if they would have happened. It is clear he failed to meet expectations.

Marques Evans


Expectations when he signed: Mixed. Didn’t know a lot about him when he initially verballed, but seemed like a kid with a good head on his shoulders and one that was excited to play for the Broncos.

2017 Season: Redshirt.

2018 Season: Minimal, but got some special teams looks

2019 Season: Ditto

2020 Season: Sat out and then entered the mysterious transfer portal.

Overall Impact: I didn’t have the highest of expectations for Evans, but I thought he’d probably contribute more than he did. Seemed like a good teammate and fun kid, but we’re talking on-field output here unless I’m mistaken, and by that metric, Evans did not meet expectations.


Expectations when he signed: I wasn’t super high on Evans, but thought he could be a key contributor on special teams.

2017 Season: Redshirted. Not surprising.

2018 Season: Played in one game, did not record any stats.

2019 Season: Played in one game, did not record any stats.

2020 Season: Was injured and announced that he will transfer.

Overall Impact: Evans never really found a role in Boise. He battled some injuries and could never crack the two deep. Failed to meet expectations.


Expectations when he signed: Marques seemed like an athletic, talented corner. I didn’t think he was a great get, but I thought he could be a contributor.

2017 Season: He redshirted, as expected.

2018 Season: Barely played.

2019 Season: See above.

2020 Season: Evans announced he would transfer, which wasn’t surprising and seemed like the best move for him.

Overall Impact: Not much at all. While he didn’t have high expectations, Evans did not clear them. Failed to meet expectations on this one.

Michael Young


Expectations when he signed: Oh yeah...there was ANOTHER Mike Young (not the golf/wrestling coach). Good JuCo tape and generally when BSU snags guys from the NJCAA ranks, I expect it to be for a reason, so expectations were relatively high.

2017 Season: Unpleasantness (

2018 Season: Nada

2019 Season: Zip.

2020 Season: Zero.

Overall Impact: Did you select any dudes that finished their career here, Mike. C’mon, man! Failed to meet expectations.


Expectations when he signed: I liked Young and thought he was a decent pickup out of the junior college ranks. But Boise State hasn’t had a lot of recent success with junior college transfers (outside of wide receiver).

2017 Season: Was arrested for a DUI shortly after the season began and was suspended for undisclosed reasons the prior week. Not the best first impression.He did see some limited action.

2018 Season: N/A

2019 Season: N/A

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: Young failed to meet expectations. His career was short and his accomplishments were limited.


Expectations when he signed: It was the second Mike Young of this class, which is a fun tidbit. This Young played defensive and came from the JUCO ranks. I thought he would crack the two-deep during his time with the Broncos.

2017 Season: Young had trouble from the get go. He was suspended for the season-opener, which could have been a big or small mistake (some players get suspended for being late to a team meeting, for example). He seemed to move past that, playing three games and was basically in a co-starter/heavily-used backup role in the DB room. It all came crashing down in late September when he was arrested for a DUI. That was pretty much the end of things for him.

2018 Season: N/A

2019 Season: N/A

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: His time was brief and his impact amounted to about 4 tackles. Obviously he failed to meet expectations.

Damon Cole


Expectations when he signed: Liked the cut of his jib. Put up solid numbers at El Cerrito HS and looked like he’d add some solid speed to the WR corps.

2017 Season: Redshirt

2018 Season: Played against UConn (a bloodbath, if you recall)

2019 Season: Switch side of LOS and became a cornerback.

2020 Season: Used very sparingly, but hey...he’s still plugging along.

Overall Impact: Negligible. The WR room was DEEP and remains so, so Cole didn’t have a huge opportunity to make an impact there and when he switched over to CB, that depth chart was also somewhat kind of wrong place, wrong time for Cole. On-field...gonna have to give him the failed to meet expectations tag though. Thems the breaks.


Expectations when he signed: Outside of Brown, a lot of the defensive back commits felt like a bit of reach. But I was high on Cole and thought there was potential there. He was initially recruited as a receiver, but Boise State was deep at that position.

2017 Season: Redshirted

2018 Season: Played in one game as a receiver but did not record a catch.

2019 Season: Converted to corner, did not see any action.

2020 Season: Played in two games and made two tackles.

Overall Impact: Position changes are rough. Cole hasn’t found a role to this point. Failed to meet expectations.


Expectations when he signed: Damon was recruited as a wide receiver, but switched over to cornerback after a few seasons. I believe he carrying trait was his ability as a returner. I saw him as a depth piece more than anything.

2017 Season: To the surprise of no one, he redshirted.

2018 Season: He played, but it did not amount to much.

2019 Season: This was the year Cole switched from wide receiver to cornerback, but that transition happened off the field.

2020 Season: Cole got in a few games and got in the stat sheet, to the tune of two tackles.

Overall Impact: Damon has stayed with it, done with the coaches asked, changed positions, and unfortunately, doesn’t have much to show for it yet. He has failed to meet expectations up until this point, but has some time left.

Running Totals:

Drew: 2 exceeded expectations, 3 met expectations, 12 failed to meet expectations

Zach: 1 exceeded expectations, 3 met expectations, 13 failed to meet expectations.

Mike: Mike: 1 exceeded expectations, 4 met expectations, 12 failed to meet expectations.