Boise State football coaches detail pursuit of 2014 defensive recruits

By Chadd Cripe
© 2014 Idaho Statesman

Today, we take a look inside the recruitment of Boise State’s defensive players in the 2014 class.

On Monday, we did the same with the offensive recruits. Last Friday, coaches shared some stories from the recruiting trail.

If you read both recruiting breakdowns, you’ll notice how important linebackers coach Andy Avalos and offensive line coach Scott Huff — the two holdovers from the previous staff — were to building this recruiting class.

DT Dereck Boles, 6-2, 275, Fr., Lakeland (Fla.) HS

Recruited by: Steve Caldwell, Antwon Murray

The skinny: Murray, the Broncos’ assistant director of player personnel and the director of player personnel last year at Arkansas State, is from Lakeland. “Antwon Murray did a great job finding him,” Caldwell said. Boles was completely off the radar — Boise State came on the scene late and still made his first Football Bowl Subdivision offer — because of some difficult circumstances. He struggled at school and was taken in by another family, Caldwell said. “He really has changed his life when you look at academically how far he’s come over the last two years,” Caldwell said. “We’re very, very fortunate to get him.” Boles’ senior season, Caldwell said, showed what he can do “once you get some guidance.” Caldwell gives Boles a chance to contribute this year because of his size and quickness.

Boise State bio: Named second-team all-state in class 7-A Florida, the highest level of high school football in the state…also earned first-team all-county as a senior and second-team all-county following his junior year…anchored a defense that allowed 15 points per game…four-year letterwinner…played for head coach William Castle.

CB Zavior Hoxie, 5-11, 190, Fr., Buford (Ga.) HS

Recruited by: Julius Brown

The skinny: Hoxie is a rare guy in this class who was not a late find. Brown, then the cornerbacks coach at Arkansas State, gave Hoxie his first scholarship offer in April. He later received offers from several Big Ten schools.

Boise State bio: Helped lead Buford High School to the Class AAA Georgia State Championship in both 2012 and 2013…squad went undefeated during his senior season…received both the Coaches Most Improved and Green Club Fitness Awards in 2013…named second-team all-state as a running back during his senior season…named to the offensive honor roll three times…recorded 13-career touchdowns…lettered three times in football and twice in track and field…played for head coach Jess Simpson.

DL Kaleb Hill, 6-1, 215, Fr., Samuel Clemens HS (Schertz, Texas)

Recruited by: Scott Huff, Steve Caldwell

The skinny: Huff added San Antonio to his recruiting territory for this class — the Broncos landed offensive lineman Andrew Tercek last year. Huff watched Hill and his twin brother Kolin last year in spring practice. The Broncos offered both of them, but Kolin signed with Notre Dame. Caldwell’s message to Kaleb: “Come here and let’s win the conference. Let’s play Notre Dame (in a bowl game) and beat your brother.” “We’ve kind of got us a game plan,” Caldwell said. “Let’s make it work.” Hill could help at linebacker, Caldwell said, but he’s expected to play the stud end, which requires some linebacker abilities.

Boise State bio: Team co-captain as a senior in 2013…two-time San Antonio Express News Defensive Player of the Week last season…named first-team all-district and second-team all-area as a senior…in 2013 recorded 75 tackles (30 solo), 20 tackles-for-loss, 13 sacks, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and four pass break-ups…junior season had four sacks, recovered four fumbles and returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown…played for head coach Jared Johnston.

DT Antoine Turner, 6-3, 280, R-Jr., Fullerton College (New Orleans)

Recruited by: Steve Caldwell, Andy Avalos, Julius Brown

The skinny: The Broncos recruited the once-homeless Turner out of Fullerton College. He has the physical skills to produce quickly and seems to have the personality to fit in immediately. He arrives in the summer. “I’m expecting big things out of him and I’m expecting them early,” Caldwell said.

Boise State bio: As a redshirt sophomore in 2013, recorded 34 tackles (16 solo), including 13.5 for-loss and six sacks…sacks resulted in a loss of 27 yards…also had four pass break-ups and an interception…played for head coach Tim Byrnes…rated a three-star prospect according to…one of the top 25 defensive tackles in junior college according to the Composite.

DL David Moa, 6-3, 235, Fr., Kearny HS (San Diego)

Recruited by: Andy Avalos, Steve Caldwell

The skinny: Moa committed to the former coaching staff. He didn’t do much media so it was difficult to tell if he ever wavered. He likely will redshirt this fall and grow into a tackle. “David Moa is going to grow into a big man,” Caldwell said. He expects Moa to become a 300-pounder, perhaps within the next two years.

Boise State bio: Three-star recruit according to both and…named one of the top 10 defensive ends on the west coast by…played both offensive and defensive line at Kearny High School…named San Diego Section All-Western League on offense both his junior and senior seasons…named second-team San Diego Section All-Central League on defense as a sophomore…as a senior in 2013 made 28 tackles (17 unassisted) and recovered one fumble…junior season made 36 tackles (17 unassisted), one quarterback sack and recovered two fumbles…2011 as a sophomore made 20 tackles (10 unassisted)…member of the Honor Roll senior year…played for head coach Eric Stavola.

S Kekoa Nawahine, 6-2, 190, Fr., Rocky Mountain HS

Recruited by: Andy Avalos

The skinny: Nawahine plans to go on a church mission before joining the Broncos. He committed to the previous staff as an athlete but was identified as a safety by the new staff. Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates compared him to former Boise State safety George Iloka because of his lanky frame. “He’s athletic, smart, very smart off the field,” Yates said. “… I like them long … that can move and run.”

Boise State bio: Rated the No. 5 prospect in Idaho by…played both wide receiver and defensive back…named to the Idaho Statesman 5A All-Idaho First Team on offense, and was second team on defense…caught 50 passes for 913 yards and five touchdowns his senior season…also earned first-team All-Southern Idaho Conference honors on both offense and defense…named first-team All-Southern Idaho Conference on defense following his junior season.

DE Rondell McNair, 6-4, 250, R-Jr., Contra Costa College (New Bern, N.C.)

Recruited by: Steve Caldwell

The skinny: McNair has played as heavy as 275 pounds. Caldwell expects him to play end on first and second downs. “On third down, I expect him to be able to come inside and play some (tackle) for us to give us some extra speed,” he said.

Boise State bio: Recorded 32 tackles (25 solo) on the season at Contra Costa, including eight for-loss and six sacks…opponents lost 24 yards on the sacks and 30 yards on the TFLs…also had a pass break-up…earned first-team all-conference and first team all-regional honors…member of the Dean’s List…played for head coach Alonzo Carter…three-star recruit according to and…also ranked as one of the top 10 players at his position in junior college by Played in North Carolina East-West All-Star game following his senior season of high school.

DE Jabril Frazier, 6-4, 225, Fr., Verbum Dei HS (Los Angeles)

Recruited by: Marcel Yates, Steve Caldwell

The skinny: Frazier informed the Broncos on the night before Signing Day that he had chosen them. He announced the choice on TV on the afternoon of Signing Day. “It was huge,” Yates said. “We really didn’t know up to the night before.” Caldwell likes the size Frazier brings to the end spot. He’s only 17 and there’s hope he will get even taller. “You want guys who have great length,” Caldwell said. “Offensive linemen cheat like crazy.”

Boise State bio: Four-star recruit according to…three-star recruit according to, and…one of the top 30 recruits in the state of California according to…as a senior in 2013, recorded 99 tackles (91 solo)…in 2012 as junior, recorded 92 tackles (55 solo) and two tackles-for-loss…career totals include 191 total tackles (146 solo) and two TFLs…played for head coach Rico Martin.

S Dylan Sumner-Gardner, 6-1, 202, Fr., West Mesquite HS (Mesquite, Texas)

Recruited by: Marcel Yates

The skinny: Yates said he thinks Sumner-Gardner’s decision “shocked people.” Here’s his story on what happened with the former Texas A&M commit: “He’s a guy that wants to play at the next level. What he told me was, ‘Coach, my decision to come to Boise State was based off … I looked at Texas A&M over the past 10 years and I looked at Boise State the past 10 years and I looked at the number of players that were drafted at DB and I felt like there were more at Boise State.’ That was him telling me why he wanted to follow me here to Boise State. The whole recruiting thing, especially when you have kids coming from the place you leave, it can get a little sticky, as we all know. I told him that he should stay committed but he was adamant about not staying committed. So I had to make a judgment call when he decided, ‘Well, I’m not going to Texas A&M.’ He was going somewhere else. And so once I found out he was going somewhere else, I would be a fool to not bring him with me. I had told coach (Kevin) Sumlin that the kid was teetering before I left. … There are some people angry about it. I’ve heard ‘backstabber’ and all that. But I’d be the first one to tell you I’m not backstabbing anybody. I can’t make him stay committed to Texas A&M. I have to make a judgment call with coach (Bryan) Harsin on once the kid said, ‘OK, if you tell me I can’t come to Boise State, I’m not going to Texas A&M, I’m going somewhere else.’ I had to step up and make a judgment call with coach Harsin that, ‘Well, if you’re going somewhere else and I’ve recruited you for the past year, you’re coming to Boise State.’ ” Now it’s up to Sumner-Gardner, a spring enrollee, to live up to the hype. “He’s good,” Yates said. “The whole star ranking and all that means nothing because no matter what, they’ve all got to develop. … We’ll see how he develops, but he’s working his butt off right now.”

Boise State bio: Played in the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game following his senior season…four-star recruit according to, and…rated No. 7 nationally by, No. 8 by and No. 10 by…rated No. 86 overall nationally by, No. 87 by and No. 96 by…No. 11 overall in Texas by and No. 12 by…senior year racked up 141 tackles, including 14 for-loss and three forced fumbles…also hauled in three interceptions…named to the Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 4A All-State Second Team…named second-team all-area by the Dallas Morning News…named District 10-4A First Team both his junior and senior seasons…junior year had 45 tackles, including two for-loss and three forces fumbles…also had an interception…played for head coach Jeff Neil.

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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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