By Chadd Cripe
© 2014 Idaho Statesman
Our Boise State football spring preview runs in Monday’s newspaper. Here are our players to watch:
1. Grant Hedrick and Tommy Stuart, QBs: The Broncos’ 2014 season rests in large part on a fragile quarterback situation. Hedrick showed some terrific playmaking ability while playing about half of last season (22 total touchdowns), but turnovers and inconsistency plagued him. He’s the unquestioned starter at this point, so spring represents an opportunity for him to improve his game and seize control of the offense. Stuart, a Butte College transfer, is the only other scholarship quarterback expected to throw in team situations in the first week of spring ball. He needs to become a viable backup.
2. Shane Williams-Rhodes, WR: New coaches with new ideas should lead to some fun new ways to utilize Williams-Rhodes’ unique skills. He dazzled last year (77 catches, 702 yards, six TDs; 14.6-yard punt return average) before an ankle injury against San Diego State. He’ll be under the tutelage of Junior Adams, who produced a string of accomplished receivers at Eastern Washington.
3. Tanner Vallejo, LB: Vallejo tied for eighth on the team with 51 tackles as a true freshman. He also recorded 5.5 tackles for loss, the most by anyone who didn’t play on the defensive line. He did all that without benefit of winter conditioning or spring practice, so this is a big offseason for him.
4. Dylan Sumner-Gardner, S: The early-arriving, top-100 recruit joins a secondary that returns all three starters at safety — senior Jeremy Ioane (second-team All-Mountain West), junior Darian Thompson (63 tackles, four interceptions) and senior Corey Bell (76 tackles). But it will be a surprise if Sumner-Gardner doesn’t factor into the defense in some way. This spring should provide an indication of where he fits.
5. Marcus Henry, OL: Henry, the junior right guard, is the only returning starter on the offensive line who will practice this spring. The other, junior right tackle Rees Odhiambo, is injured. That puts the quiet Henry in a leadership position as new offensive line coach Scott Huff tries to rebuild.
We’ll hold a live chat at 10 a.m. Tuesday. You can sign up for a reminder below: