NCF Nation: Jeron Johnson

Lunchtime Links

April, 26, 2011
4/26/11
12:00
PM ET
Getting closer to the big day for lots of former college football players. Still wondering whether Andy Dalton is going to go in first round. We have two more days to wait. Now on to some links:

Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman checks in with Austin Pettis, Titus Young and Jeron Johnson as they prepare for the NFL draft.

Here is Part 2 in The Deseret News' look at BYU: Cougars hoping changes pay dividends.

Southern Miss receiver DeAndre Brown has been sworn to secrecy when it comes to the teams that have worked him out before the draft.

TCU speedster Jeremy Kerley worked out for 11 teams.

New Mexico State cornerback Davon House could go in the second round.

A vote on Sun Belt expansion is growing less likely.

UNLV coach Bobby Hauck has to compete for local talent with BCS schools.

Chuck Landon of the Herald-Dispatch calls Marshall's spring "the most insignificant spring practice I've ever witnessed."
The Senior Bowl has been announcing the players to be featured in its game over the last several weeks, with plenty more to come. Some of the top non-AQ players in the country will be represented in Mobile, Ala., for the showcase game on Jan. 29.

Here is a partial list:

Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

Jerrel Jernigan, WR/AP, Troy

Jeremy Kerley, WR/AP, TCU

Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State

Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii

Titus Young, WR, Boise State

Dalton joins a South roster that already features Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy and Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. Dalton's draft status is one to watch, in my opinion. He may not be Andrew Luck but he has got the intangibles covered. It's hard to argue against a player who has won a school-record 42 games and definitely has the size at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds to play in the NFL.

Mel Kiper ranks him as the No. 5 senior quarterback going into the draft in his current rankings. Others project him as a fourth- to fifth-round pick.

"I’m just going to go out and show [scouts] how I play, show them that I can play with a lot of these players," Dalton said in a statement announcing his participation. "Hopefully people will see my leadership abilities and all the different intangibles that I can bring to the game."

Kiper has Jernigan listed as his No. 4 senior wide receiver.

Several other top non-AQ players have committed to play in another all-star game, the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando on Jan. 22. Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been invited to play in both games. Here is a partial list of the East-West participants:

Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State

Ricky Dobbs, QB, Navy

Lester Jean, WR, FAU

Jeron Johnson, S, Boise State

Shiloh Keo, S, Idaho

Brian Lainhart, S, Kent State

Josh McNary, DE, Army

Dontay Moch, DE/LB, Nevada

Justin Taplin-Ross, S, Utah

Lunchtime Links

December, 20, 2010
12/20/10
12:00
PM ET
Two new coaches join the MAC today: Pete Lembo at Ball State and Darrell Hazell at Kent State.

Now on to some links:

Two Southern Miss players injured in a shooting last month joined their teammates in St. Petersburg, Fla., as they continued bowl preparations for the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against Louisville. Martez Smith, who was paralyzed from the waist down, did not make the trip. He had a bit of a setback and needed additional surgery last week.

BYU is excited about its future after its bowl win.

Keys for Utah to beat Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, courtesy of Utah State coach Gary Andersen.

Fresno State coach Pat Hill is proud of his team even though it lost in a big way to Northern Illinois in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl.

The loss of an uncle has inspired Boise State cornerback Jeron Johnson.

Boise State has been deficient against the run of late.

San Diego State's receivers are set to face a stingy Navy secondary in the S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Tulsa officials hope to break even on its trip to Hawaii for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

UTEP coach Mike Price will return next season.

Boise State Broncos season recap

December, 7, 2010
12/07/10
11:30
AM ET
The season started with such high expectations -- BCS bowl or bust. After all, Boise State returned nearly every starter off a team that went undefeated in 2009 and won the Fiesta Bowl over TCU. The Broncos began the season with the highest ranking in school history at No. 3 in the AP poll, setting the stage to potentially become the first non-AQ team to make it into the BCS National Championship Game.

The first hurdle was the season opener against No. 10 Virginia Tech at FedEx Field, a virtual home game for the Hokies. Kellen Moore engineered a dramatic comeback after Boise State blew an early 17-0 lead, and Boise State won 33-30, validating its high ranking. The Broncos beat Oregon State a few weeks later, and remained in the top 5, jockeying for position with TCU as the top non-AQ. TCU moved ahead after a win over Utah, but it appeared the momentum began to swing back toward Boise State after the Horned Frogs had a close win over San Diego State. Most projected Boise State would be the top non-AQ if it won out.

But alas, it was not meant to be. The Broncos lost a heartbreaking stunner to Nevada 34-31 in overtime on Nov. 26, dashing their hopes at getting a BCS bid. Kyle Brotzman missed a 26-yard field goal that would have won it in regulation, then another 29-yarder in overtime. He became the subject of harassment and ugly taunts, but Chris Petersen maintained it was a team loss. Indeed, the Broncos blew a 17-point halftime lead. Still, Boise State was able to win a share of the WAC title, finished No. 10 in the BCS standings and ended their WAC membership with a 40-0 record at home in league games. The senior class has gone 47-5 with two undefeated regular seasons and a BCS win.

Offensive MVP: QB Kellen Moore. A Heisman Trophy finalist and WAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Moore threw for 3,506 yards, 33 touchdowns and five interceptions -- and he’s only a junior. Titus Young, Austin Pettis and Doug Martin deserve recognition as well. All three made the WAC first team: Young had 1,151 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns, Pettis had 804 yards and 9 touchdowns, and Martin had 1,113 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.

Defensive MVP: Billy Winn, Shea McClellin, Ryan Winterswyk, Chase Baker. This was simply too close to call, but the nod goes to the entire front four for being the engine that made the defense go. The four combined for 19.5 sacks and helped set the tone for everyone else to follow.

Turning point: The loss at Nevada killed its chances at a BCS game.

What’s next: Boise State plays Utah in the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas on Dec. 22, then prepares for life as a member of the Mountain West missing several key players including Young, Pettis, Winterswyk, Winston Venable, Brandyn Thompson and Jeron Johnson.
Seven players from the nonautomatic qualifying schools have been named to the watch list for the Lott Trophy, an award that recognizes both on-field and off-field characteristics.

The Lott Trophy winner will be announced Dec. 12 in Newport Beach, Calif. The recipient receives $25,000 for his school's general scholarship fund, while three runners-up each receive $5,000 for their schools' scholarship funds.

Last season, TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes became the first player from a nonautomatic qualifying school to win the award.

Here’s a look at the non-AQs honored:

2010 Lott Trophy Watch List

Jeron Johnson, S, Boise State, 5-11, 194, Compton, Ca.
Tejay Johnson, S, TCU, 6-1, 212, Garland, Tx.
Josh McNary, DE, Army, 6-1, 225, Houston
Wyatt Middleton, S, Navy, 6-2, 208, Norcross, Ga.
Dontay Moch, DE, Nevada, 6-1, 245, Chandler, Az.
Andrew Rich, S, BYU, 6-3, 223, Ogden, Utah
Anthony Wright, CB, Air Force, 5-10, 190, Cleveland
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Boise State’s defense knows that stopping the run is the key to stopping TCU in Monday's Fiesta Bowl.

The Horned Frogs rank fifth in the country in rushing with 256.50 yards per game and do so with a balanced attack that features three running backs each with more than 600 yards.

“With TCU, they really don’t want to be a balanced attack,” Boise State defensive end Ryan Winterswyk said. “They want to run the ball then they’ll throw screens and things like that. Gameplan-wise, it’s pretty simple. We have to stop the run. And then on the screens and things, we have to get out and cover some ground.”

Stopping the run seems simple enough except the Horned Frogs feature three running backs with three distinctive styles. Senior Joseph Turner, who leads the team with 732 yards and 11 touchdowns, would be considered the power back. Freshman Matthew Tucker, who is second on the team with 667 yards and eight touchdowns, is more of a finesse and speedy back. Redshirt freshman Ed Wesley, who has 630 yards and four touchdowns, is the team’s best receiving threat out of the backfield.

The trio, in conjunction with quarterback Andy Dalton, has rushed for more than 200 yards three times this season and rushed for more than 300 yards in four of the last five games.

“This is not a team where you take away one guy and you can say, ‘Now we’ve got them,’ because they’ve got that guy, they’ve got this guy, they’ve got too many of those,” Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said. “So, you’ve got to know where you fit within the defense, play your assignment and you’ve got to tackle well. That’s going to be the No. 1 thing, tackling well.”

The Broncos know the TCU running game well. During the Poinsettia Bowl last season, the Horned Frogs rushed 51 times for 275 yards against the Broncos and scored two rushing touchdowns.

But the passing game wasn’t as prolific as it is now. The Horned Frogs threw for just 197 rushing yards in that bowl game, the seventh time they had thrown for fewer than 200 yards last season, and they basically relied on one receiver to make all the plays. This year, Dalton has become more comfortable in the passing game and several receivers have contributed. While the Frogs don’t have a standout receiver like Jimmy Young was a year ago, they have four receivers with 398 or more yards. Dalton has thrown for 2,484 yards this season, a career high, and has 22 touchdown passes, which is more than double his previous career-high.

Wilcox said one of the toughest things about studying TCU’s offense is that they run multiple plays out of the same formations and don’t tip the plays they’re going to run. He said it’s also tough to know the extent of the offense because TCU's large margins of victory allowed them to run a basic offense to victory. The Horned Frogs won 10 games by double digits.

Boise State safety Jeron Johnson said it’s easy to get caught up in TCU’s running game and forget the pass. But that doing so could be a costly mistake.

“They do want to run the ball initially, but they’ve hurt teams passing the ball as well,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of difficult trying to play both run and pass because you come up in the run and the receiver is behind you, touchdown. You know, once they get past you, FOX, who’s doing the game, is going to have the cameras on you saying you did something wrong. That’s really what I don’t want, personally.”

Boise State midseason review

October, 20, 2009
10/20/09
11:30
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

BOISE STATE BRONCOS (6-0, 1-0 WAC)

Boise State is ranked No. 4 in the BCS standings, the highest ranked nonautomatic-qualifying team in the country. The Broncos don’t have any ranked teams remaining on their schedule and currently they have just one team with a winning schedule -- Idaho -- remaining, which could help them go undefeated this year. However, the weak schedule might cost the Broncos some points in the computer rankings, but the Broncos can’t worry about that. All they need to do to stay in the race for a BCS bowl berth is keep winning.

Offensive MVP

Kellen Moore, QB: There’s been no sophomore slump for Moore, who came into this season with a ton of hype after a stellar freshman campaign. Moore leads the nation in passing efficiency and has been steady in all of the Broncos games so far. He’s already thrown for 1,404 yards and 16 touchdowns and has just two interceptions.

Defensive MVP

Ryan Winterswyk, DE: Winterswyk put up great numbers last year and was off to a slow start this season until last week’s game against Tulsa when he broke out with two sacks and three tackles for loss. Winterswyk has been key in the Broncos defense holding opponents to just 277.33 yards per game.

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