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Boise State Position Preview: Defensive Line

The Broncos will look to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season.

Wyoming v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

As we continue our preview of each position for Boise State, we will take a look at those in the defensive trenches this week. Injuries and limited depth within the group didn’t allow them to match what the secondary achieved last year. Scale Igiehon has left the program, but Demitri Washington will be at full strength coming this fall after dealing with a knee injury last year. The Broncos will hope to terrorize Mountain West opponents with an infusion of veteran talent and young pieces.

Defensive End

Shane Irwin (Sixth Year)

Deven Wright (Junior)

Reinforcements have been supplied by Andy Avalos all throughout the defensive line, but the addition of Deven Wright will have a large impact. Wright has a long frame at 6’6” and shows burst from the outside. He comes by way of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and will be able to help create a change of pace with Shane Irwin. Irwin has steadily improved over his career and was able to cause some chaos, forcing two fumbles last year and sacking the quarterback three times.

Defensive Line

Cortez Hogans (Redshirt Senior)

Jack Beresford (Redshirt Freshman)

Braxton Fely (Freshman)

JJ Talo (Freshman)

With the loss of Igiehon, the cupboard looked bare for the interior portion of the defensive line. However, the Broncos put lots of time and resources into replenishing the group and have picked up an immediate starter in Cortez Hogans. Similar to Wright, Hogans transferred in by way of Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Beresford came to Boise as part of a dual-package with brother Cade from Washington State. Fely is a physical prospect who chose Boise State over Utah State during his recruiting period. For Talo, his connection with Frank Maile led to an early commitment and he stands at 6’2”, weighing a stout 270 pounds.

Nose Tackle

Herbert Gums (Redshirt Sophomore)

Jackson Cravens (Redshirt Senior)

While Gums is the only listed nose tackle on the Boise State roster, I expect someone like Cravens to help take some of the load off. Cravens has much more experience than Gums, but I think that the redshirt sophomore has the size to really make an impact within the tackles. The production that Cravens provided last year was beneficial, recording two sacks on the year.

Defensive Tackle

Scott Matlock (Redshirt Senior)

Divine Obichere (Fifth Year)

Ahmed Hassanein (Sophomore)

Matlock did his part last year, earning recognition on the All-Mountain West Second Team and providing a spark on the defensive line. He recorded seven sacks, forced one fumble, recovered two fumbles, and blocked a kick last season. Obichere has a low center of gravity and has found his way into the backfield a few times. He acts as a cog in the machine that makes everything go. As for Hassanein, he is still young, but in his limited appearances, he has shown the potential that fans hope comes to fruition. This may be the year when Hassenein begins to make his name known among Boise State fans.


Demitri Washington (Redshirt Senior)

Isaiah Bagnah (Redshirt Junior)

George Tarlas (Sixth Year)

I think that it goes without saying that the edge rush for Boise State went through a massive shift, bringing in multiple transfers who can play the role. With Deven Wright and Cortez Hogans bringing the physical chops, George Tarlas accompanies them as a transfer from Weber State. Tarlas, born in Greece, graduated from Borah High School in Boise as a raw prospect with little experience playing American football. This didn’t last long as he dramatically improved with the Wildcats. Last year, he finished second on the team with 55 tackles, four forced fumbles, and five sacks. Isaiah Bagnah has been a solid player when healthy and has speed coming off the edge. The Canadian got to the quarterback six times last year. An interesting note about Bagnah is that he was the first player to sign with a Division I program from Lethbridge Collegiate Institute since…former BSU offensive lineman Jon Gott all the way back in 2004. Last, but not least, Demitri Washington looks to fill the hole that Curtis Weaver left when he declared for the draft a few years ago. In 2021, Boise State didn’t have a dynamic difference-maker on the edge, allowing opponents to take their time in the pocket (Carson Strong of Nevada). We will see if this defense can find its footing where the game is won and lost at the line of scrimmage.

Let us know your thoughts down below as spring ball continues for Boise State and what you expect out of the defensive line this year!