On Saturday the Boise State Broncos celebrated the last home game of the senior class for the football program.
Boise State capped the celebration with a thumping of Colorado State that wasn’t as close as the final 42-14 final score might have indicated.
In honor of that last appearance on the blue, we decided to put together a short list of the players whose presence on the field will be missed the most in 2013.
While there are seniors spread across the positional charts, there are several who have had remarkable careers at Boise State and deserve to be recognized. These are guys that will be hard to replace. Not only were they top performers on the field, but they were team leaders as well.
Cutting this list down to five players was very hard, make no mistake about that. But the final tally is in, and here are the five Bronco seniors that will be missed the most in 2013.
Sixth-year senior D.J. Harper, 5’9” and 205 .lbs., has been the barometer by which the Broncos’ offensive performance in 2012 has been measured.
For the time being, put aside what Harper has accomplished over his career at Boise State and the numbers that have propelled him to fourth all-time on the Bronco rushing touchdown list. Look at the other numbers.
In all-purpose yards, Harper is accounting for 115.9 yards per game, more than double that of any other Bronco on the 2012 team. He averages 26.9 yards per kickoff return, has 19 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown and has gained 935 net yards at a 5.0 yards-per-carry average for 14 touchdowns.
J.C. Percy is one of those players that combines football intelligence with skill. A 6’0", 227 .lbs linebacker, Percy has been a name heard often when tacklers are listed on a given play.
Percy leads Boise State in tackles with a combined 88—35 more than his nearest teammate. He has 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack, pass deflection, quarterback hurry, pass breakup and forced fumble. Of his 88 total tackles, 54 of those are solo.
During his four-year playing career at Boise State, Percy has more than 250 tackles.
At 5’9” and 156 lbs., Chris Potter does not bring a lot of size onto the gridiron. What he does bring, though, is a lot of talent and heart. Potter ranks No. 21 in the nation in punt returns with an 11.35 average.
The numbers only get better. He is third on the team in all-purpose yards, third on the team in receptions with 20 for 250 yards and three touchdowns and has five carries for 25 net yards and a touchdown. Potter sets up to take the snap in the wildcat formation and is pretty good at running the option from that formation.
Oh, and he also blocks, just like all Bronco receivers.
The linebacker position has been strong for Boise State all year. On one side, there is J.C. Percy, and his counterpart is Tommy Smith. At 6’1” and 238 lbs., Smith has turned in some very big plays when the Broncos needed them the most defensively.
He is third on the team in tackles with 51, has four tackles for loss including one sack and also has three pass breakups, three deflections and one quarterback hurry.
Jamar Taylor brings work ethic, leadership and a lot of ability to the Boise State defensive secondary. The 5’11”, 197 lbs. cornerback is the fifth-leading tackler on the Bronco defense with 43 tackles.
He comes on the blitz and has three sacks, three forced fumbles, three interceptions, eight pass breakups, 11 pass deflections and three forced fumbles.
That’s not a bad resume. Taylor has been a strong and consistent asset to the Bronco defense all year, and he will definitely be missed in 2013.
Jerrell Gavins, Mike Atkinson, Joe Kellogg, Dan Paul, Mitch Burroughs.Brenel Myers, Darren Koontz and Greg Grimes have all been instrumental to the Broncos success in 2012. Kellogg and Myers will be missed along the offensive line, while Koontz and Grimes were great platoon players in the Bronco defensive front seven.
Atkinson and Burroughs are special cases that might have cracked the top five, but had seasons cut short due to injury. Gavins had his 2011 season reduced due to injury and had a slow start in 2012, but his experience and leadership in the defensive backfield made it tough for opposing quarterbacks.
And then there is Dan Paul. You won’t find his name on many stat sheets unless he catches the odd pass, but what Paul brought to the Broncos was of tremendous value. If you see a picture of D.J. Harper or Jay Ajayi cruising into the end zone in a short-yardage play untouched, look close at the image. Chances are, there is Paul crushing the last obstacle and clearing the hole for the ball carrier.
At 262 lbs., he was a load with a head of steam that bordered on being a nightmare.