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Boise State Position Preview: Tight End

The usage of the tight end group may increase this year with limited experience at the wide receiver position.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Colorado State Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It has been repeated time and time again that Boise State doesn’t use their tight ends enough. The limited amount of targets to current NFL player John Bates of the Washington Commanders is a prime example of this. There are valuable athletes at the position, and someone like former Mountain West star Trey McBride of Colorado State shows how beneficial they can be if used correctly. With that being said, let’s take a look at the tight end group for 2022.

The Trio

Tyneil Hopper (Redshirt Senior)

Admittedly, trying to see through the weeds for a definitive starter this year will be difficult until Spring Ball starts up this Friday, March 4. However, the Broncos have three dependable guys that can be productive. Hopper had seven receptions last season, reaching the endzone twice. The most notable play of the season was a 51-yard touchdown reception against Colorado State.

Riley Smith (Redshirt Senior)

A former quarterback on the Boise State depth chart has found his footing as a versatile tight end. Despite his 6’5” frame, he has displayed his shiftiness and an ability to make a play when it’s needed. Smith had eight receptions last season and one receiving touchdown. He is a vertical threat that can be used to exploit a defense in the seams.

Kurt Rafdal (6th Year Senior)

The transfer from Nebraska last season left an impression due to his sheer size. Standing at 6’7”, he is a nice option to have on jump balls in the redzone. Most of his production last season came from the Nevada game where he caught four passes for 43 yards. He was able to score a touchdown as well in the season finale against San Diego State.

The Wild Cards

Austin Bolt (Redshirt Sophomore)

The former Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year out of Borah High School in Boise has had limited action at the beginning of his career. Bolt practiced with the tight ends last year, but did appear on the defensive side of the ball and contributed five tackles. Considering the depletion of depth at wide receiver, it will be interesting to see if Bolt makes his way onto the field as a utility player.

Casey Kline (Redshirt Junior)

Rated as the fourth-highest recruit to commit to the Broncos back in 2019, Kline has struggled to get consistent playing time during his tenure. He has amounted two total tackles on the defensive side through his first two years. Boise State has designated him as a tight end for this season, but spring practices should give us an indication of where they plan to use Kline.

The Newcomer

Austin Terry (Freshman)

Boise State was able to sign one tight end this recruiting cycle, and they got a good one. Terry is a three-star recruit out of Tumwater High School in Olympia, Washington. He had multiple power five offers, including UCLA, Tennessee, Arizona, and Nebraska. With all the experience at the top of the depth chart set to leave after this season, Terry may have to wait until next year to play meaningful snaps.

The Remaining Broncos

Russell Corrigan (Redshirt Sophomore)

Despite only making two appearances in his career, Corrigan has exceled off the gridiron. He represented Boise State in the fall of 2020 as an Academic All-Mountain West athlete and was a Mountain West Scholar-Athlete for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Matt Lauter (Redshirt Sophomore)

The native of Encinitas, California hasn’t had a chance to make an impact yet, statistically. He had one other offer coming out of Torrey Pines High School, that being UNLV. Lauter stands at 6’4” and 230 pounds heading into spring ball.

Luke Vorhees (Redshirt Freshman)

I sure hope Boise State gets to play on Friday the 13th while Luke is at Boise State! All joking aside, he enrolled with the Broncos this past fall and had interest from schools such as Valparaiso and Weber State.

Spring ball is upon us! Andy Avalos and his coaching staff will meet with the media today prior to practice officially starting on Friday. Let us know your thoughts on the tight end room and what you are looking for as spring ball draws closer in the comments down below!