JC defensive linemen plan to make big impact for Boise State football team

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2014 Idaho Statesman

The Boise State football team’s signing class to be announced Wednesday will include three junior college defensive linemen expecting to make a significant impact in 2014.

Antoine Turner (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) of Fullerton College, Rondell McNair (6-4, 255) of Contra Costa College and Edmund Fa’imalo of Riverside City College — all in California — visited last weekend and committed to the Broncos.

The trio of linemen were among five players who Turner said spent an entire night chatting in the hallway of the hotel. The other two players have not committed.

Check out photos of Boise State recruits in our gallery. Above: Antoine Turner.

Check out photos of Boise State recruits in our gallery. Above: Antoine Turner.

“We were talking and developing friendships and wanting to play with each other,” Turner said Tuesday. “It was pretty awesome.”

Turner, who can play tackle and end, and McNair, who will play end, have two years to play two seasons, so they will be expected to contribute immediately. Fa’imalo could not be reached, so his status is unclear (Turner confirmed Fa’imalo’s commitment).

The group fills a gaping need for the Broncos after the early departures of end Demarcus Lawrence (NFL, would have been a senior), end Sam Ukwuachu (dismissed, would have been a junior) and tackle Jeff Worthy (dismissed, would have been a junior) in the past year and the ineligibility of tackle Deuce Mataele.

The only returning starter on the line is junior tackle Armand Nance. The rest of the starting defense returns intact.

“I told (McNair and Fa’imalo), ‘If we come here, we can change this team,’ ” Turner said. “I know that for a fact. If all three of us come here, we’re going to destroy a lot of competition in front of us. They have some profound athletic abilities.”

Turner played against Fa’imalo in junior college and has seen McNair play.

“(The Broncos) need a lot of players, but they wanted the best athletic players and they told me that me coming there and Edmund coming there, we would bring that athleticism back to the D-line,” Turner said. “All of us like to run. We’re not your average defensive linemen. (Fa’imalo), he’s 290 — he’s a lean, slim 290. He doesn’t have a stomach. I don’t have a stomach. And we love to run. Rondell loves to run.”

Turner and McNair have compelling personal stories. Both have dealt with damaging hurricanes — Turner in New Orleans, McNair in North Carolina — and both moved to California to pursue college football. Turner, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, moved to California on his own and went through bouts of homelessness and lost 60 pounds before his girlfriend’s uncles took him in. McNair dropped out of school for a semester to go home and help his family recover from Hurricane Irene.

“It was good to have somebody to talk to from the same circumstances,” McNair said. “We both went through a hurricane and lost a lot through that.”

They both say they found a family atmosphere in Boise and a chance to fulfill a dream.

“It’s a relief, really,” McNair said. “It’s like a big relief. Now I’m pretty much set with my school and finally going to get my degree.”

•••

A few notes about tomorrow:

— I’ll begin posting signings shortly after 5 a.m. Players can sign beginning at 7 a.m. in the time zone where they live. Boise State’s early signings should include quarterback Alex Ogle, who lives in Florida. All of the signings should be reported by 9 a.m. except for possibly a couple guys who have not announced decisions yet.

— Coach Bryan Harsin will talk to the media at 1 p.m. I’ll have live updates on Twitter and post video in my blog ASAP. Harsin’s press conference will be streamed live on BroncoSports.com.

— Defensive lineman Jabril Frazier of Verbum Dei High in Los Angeles will announce his decision on Foxsportswest.com’s signing day show between 2 and 4 p.m. MT. He reportedly is choosing between Boise State and a likely grayshirt at USC. Frazier is one of the other players who bonded with the JC linemen, referenced in the story above.

— Boise State will have a 2-hour radio show from 4 to 6 p.m. It airs on the Bronco Radio Network and also through BroncoSports.com. The event is closed to the public and media.

— The public gets its chance to celebrate the signing class with the coaches from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Big Al’s in Meridian. Tickets to that event are sold out.

•••

Brian Murphy has posted highlight videos of the recruits: offense and defense.

•••

2014 RECRUITING UPDATE:

ENROLLED
— S Dylan Sumner-Gardner, 6-2, 200, West Mesquite HS (Mesquite, Texas)
— WR A.J. Richardson, 6-1, 190, Narbonne HS (Lomita, Calif.)
— OL Jerhen Ertel, 6-6, 275, Jr., Glendale (Ariz.) C.C. (Bagdad, Ariz.)
— QB Tommy Stuart, 6-0, 190, So., Butte College (Baltimore)

COMMITMENTS
HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS

— WR Sean Modster, 5-11, 190, Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS
— ATH Kekoa Nawahine, 6-2, 190, Rocky Mountain HS
— DL David Moa, 6-4, 260, Kearny HS (San Diego)
— C Tennessee Su’esu’e, 6-2, 295, East HS (Salt Lake City)
— TE David Lucero, 6-5, 210, Holtville (Calif.) HS
— RB Cory Young, 5-10, 183, Norco HS (Eastvale, Calif.)
— DT Dereck Boles, 6-2, 240, Lakeland (Fla.) HS
— OL Troy Bacon, 6-4, 280, Oak Hills (Calif.) HS
— RB/WR Jeremy McNichols, 5-9, 190, Santa Margarita HS (Long Beach, Calif.)
— CB Zavior Hoxie, 5-11, 180, Buford (Ga.) HS
— OL Andres Preciado, 6-4, 245, Mar Vista HS (Imperial Beach, Calif.)
— TE Chase Blakley, 6-4, 240, Coeur d’Alene HS
— QB Alex Ogle, 6-3, 205, Jensen Beach HS (Palm City, Fla.)
— DL Kaleb Hill, 6-2, 216, Samuel Clemens HS (Schertz, Texas)

JUNIOR COLLEGE TRANSFERS
— DL Antoine Turner, 6-3, 280, Fullerton College (New Orleans)
— DE Rondell McNair, 6-4, 255, Contra Costa College (New Bern, N.C.)
— DL Edmund Fa’imalo, 6-3, 290, Riverside City College (Redlands, Calif.)

Former commits (new school)
— WR Shay Fields (Colorado)
— RB Squally Canada (Washington State)
— DL Hawkins Mann (Nevada)
— TE Dimitri Flowers (Oklahoma)
— QB Jalen Greene (USC)*
— TE Drew Sample (Washington)*
— DL Greg Gaines (Washington)*
— OL Ryan Griswold (TCU)*
— CB Brandon Lewis (Washington)*
— OL Jesse Sosebee (Washington)*
— DE Will Dissly (Washington)*
— DL/LB Jaylen Johnson (Washington)*
— DB Khalil Oliver (TBA)*
* indicates players who decommitted after coach Chris Petersen took the Washington job


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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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