Boise State junior cornerback Quaylon Ewing-Burton was dismissed from the team this week for not living “up to the standards of the program.” The junior-to-be was pressed into starting duty this past season after injuries hit the starting cornerbacks and he performed well early on before seeing his role reduced later in the year.
It is unclear at this point whether there was a specific violation or a multitude of reasons for the dismissal although Ewing-Burton has had some behavioral issues in the past. He was suspended during his junior year of high school and has dealt with some maturity issues at Boise State.
Ewing-Burton looked poised to have a big season after taking over for Jerrell Gavins after the senior tore his ACL in practices following the team’s home opener against Tulsa. Ewing-Burton responded with solid games against Nevada and Fresno State, in particular, before getting moved back out of the starting lineup in favor of classmate Ebo Makinde.
True freshman Lee Hightower moved to cornerback and came out of his redshirt year to help with depth and eventually took the starting job across from Jamar Taylor. When Taylor went down with a variety of injuries, the coaches turned to senior safety George Iloka, a high school teammate of Ewing-Burton, to take over the other cornerback spot. Ewing-Burton played sparingly and did not record a tackle over the final four games of the season.
Despite the apparent setbacks, Ewing-Burton was thought to be in the mix as the 3rd cornerback next fall behind the two returning starters (Gavins was given a medical redshirt and Taylor also returns for his senior season). With the top three safeties graduating, it is speculated that Hightower may move back to his original position and challenge for Iloka’s former job.
The team still has solid depth at the position with Makinde and sophomore Bryan Douglas returning as well as Eric Agbaroji, a true freshman who redshirted this fall. The team also has commitments from a pair of cornerback prospects in this recruiting class, Donte Deayon and Chaz Anderson. Previously, Boise State had the commitment of Marcus Rios but the school and the player parted ways this fall with Rios ending up at UCLA.
Boise State is still actively recruiting at cornerback with a pair of official visitors coming in to Boise this week, the final weekend before National Signing Day, next Wednesday. They hosted former Oregon State commit Cleveland Wallace last week but he firmed up his commitment to the Beavers following his visit.
Anthony Standifer is a big cornerback prospect from Illinois who has offers from Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and nearly a dozen other BCS programs. He has the Broncos in his final three along with the Irish and Panthers. Arizona prospect Marcus Brantley is an under-the-radar prospect that fits the mold of many other under-recruited prospects at Boise State.
The Broncos hope to add at least one more corner to this class, and potentially two with the loss of Ewing-Burton. It should be a deep, diverse collection of talent and the incoming freshmen absolutely have a chance to play their way into the rotation in the fall.
Boise State’s quintet of representatives at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama has impressed scouts this week. Kellen Moore started slow on day one as he struggled to find a rhythm with his brand-new receiving corps but progressed throughout the week and has drawn rave reviews from NFL coaches and scouts for his preparedness, vision and accuracy. Moore measured in just a shade under six feet tall and while he doesn’t possess the arm strength that a lot of NFL personnel like to see, he makes up for it with innate decision-making ability and pin-point accuracy.
Doug Martin is blowing everyone away with his performance in the Senior Bowl practices and figures to test well at the NFL Combine in February. He has put himself into the conversation as one of the top running back prospects in the draft and his versatility has his stock soaring. He may ultimately end up as a first round pick if he continues this offseason momentum.
Shea McClellin has seen action all over the front seven on defense but has settled in nicely at inside linebacker. Coaches see a lot of potential and they have praised how well coached and prepared the Boise State players have been.
George Iloka has also been hot this week and is playing with the confidence that Boise State fans remember. He is proving that he belongs among the elite safety prospects in the draft and should go somewhere in the first three rounds.
Billy Winn is struggling a bit more than was expected. Prior to the Senior Bowl practices, many expected Winn to be the top Boise State player drafted but that almost certainly appears to be Martin at this point. Winn still has a chance to impress the scouts and his four years of performance at Boise State will overshadow anything he does this week in Mobile.
Nate Potter was shockingly not invited to one of the post-season games but he was one of an unbelievable 24 Broncos that were named to the Mountain West All-Academic team. Eligibility requires an athlete to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA while playing in at least half of the games. Colorado State was second in the conference with 14 players. Another testament to the athletes and coaches at Boise State and their commitment to be true student-athletes.
With National Signing Day only five days away, Boise State hopes to put the finishing touches on their recruiting class. They have 21 committed prospects, including six that are already on campus. In addition to the cornerbacks mentioned above, Boise State still holds out hope to add to their defensive line with offers out to a pair of defensive end prospects, Dylan Cozens and Michael Mann. Linebacker prospect and athlete Courtney Arnick received an offer last week and will likely decide between the Broncos and Kansas, whom he visits this weekend.
The Bronco recruiting class is nearly full and there is some question of how many scholarships will be available but Boise State also successfully navigates the grayshirt and preferred walk-on landscapes to add as much talent as possible. It will not be clear until some time after signing day whether the Broncos have held back any scholarships for current walk-ons but their NCAA penalty which reduced their scholarships by three this year may hurt that effort.