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Boise State Position Preview: Corners and Safeties

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With the return of JL Skinner and Tyreque Jones, the secondary looks primed to be a force in the Mountain West.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 18 Oklahoma State at Boise State Photo by Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Spring practices continue for Boise State as we await the spring game in a few weeks. We are wrapping up our defensive preview with the secondary, a unit that played quite well last year. They had 13 interceptions and solid veteran play led by JL Skinner, Kekaula Kaniho, and Tyreque Jones. This group looks to be the strength of the defense with the return of Skinner and Jones.

BCB (Boundary Cornerback)

Markel Reed (Senior)

Caleb Biggers (Fifth Year)

Jared Reed (Sixth Year)

Last year, Biggers stepped into the starting role when Markel Reed went out with a season-ending injury during the midway point. Biggers, the transfer from Bowling Green, did his part in the secondary despite his smaller frame. Jared Reed has bounced around during his collegiate career, starting at Portland State before transferring to Utah State. Frank Maile brought J. Reed to the Broncos during his hiring. The key stat from these three is that no one came up with an interception last year. It would shock me if Markel Reed isn’t the leader for this group as he looks to put 2021 behind him.

BS (Boundary Safety)

JL Skinner (Senior)

Alexander Teubner (Redshirt Junior)

Jaylen Clark (Redshirt Sophomore)

JL Skinner. His decision to return to Boise State instead of leaving for the NFL will prove massive for the secondary. His length and size have been talked about ad nauseam (6’4”, 220 pounds), but his ability to fly around the field and produce bone-shattering hits will give this defense a weapon that few teams have. Alexander Teubner has played sparingly in his first two years, but he was able to make an impact in limited snaps last year. Teubner forced a key turnover against BYU where he not only forced a fumble, but recovered it as well. Clark is a young guy who at 6’2” may get some opportunities if injuries pop up.

FS (Free Safety)

Tyreque Jones (Sixth Year)

Seyi Oladipo (Sophomore)

Tyreque Jones also had a chance to leave the Broncos for NFL aspirations this past winter. However, Jones, similar to Skinner, came back to “The Brotherhood” for one more crack at a conference championship and a chance to end his college career on a high note. He will look to be even better this year despite posting career-best numbers in 2021 with two interceptions and eight pass deflections. Seyi Oladipo was a revelation last season by recording two interceptions as a true freshman and played with a tenacity that is rarely seen from a player his age. Oladipo is a player to definitely keep an eye on and may become a fan favorite in the coming years.

FCB (Field Cornerback)

Tyric LeBeauf (Redshirt Senior)

Kaonohi Kaniho (Redshirt Sophomore)

This secondary has something key…experience. LeBeauf will look to start off as hot as he did in last year’s season opener against UCF. For those who may not recall, LeBeauf put the Broncos out in front with a (***checks notes…) 100-yard pick six in the extreme humidity of Orlando, Florida. He collected three interceptions in total last year, but only one after the UCF loss. As for Kaonohi Kaniho, the younger brother of Bronco graduate Kekaula Kaniho, he will look to expand on his role in 2022. He made a large impact in two of Boise State’s biggest games last year, BYU and Fresno State. Kaniho logged one interception in each game, but experienced some growing pains when being placed on an island in coverage. With more reps under his belt, I see him having a similar projection as Oladipo and both appear to be leaders in the making on the defensive side of the ball.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below on what you expect from the secondary this season!