BOISE - Former Boise State players Marcel Yates and Mike Sanford Jr. will reportedly be returning to Boise as the defensive and offensive coordinators on new coach Bryan Harsin’s staff.
Several outlets including CBSSports.com reported Wednesday that Yates, who also coached at Boise State, is leaving his position as co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Texas A&M to return as Boise State's defensive coordinator.
Later Wednesday FootballScoop.com and others reported that Sanford, the wide receivers and quarterbacks coach at Stanford, will return to Boise State as the offensive coordinator.
The hirings likely won’t be made official until after Texas A&M plays in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 and Stanford plays in the Rose Bowl on Jan 1.
Yates played defensive back for Boise State from 1996-99 before returning as an assistant coach in 2003. He coached the Broncos’ cornerbacks from 2003-05 and the entire defensive secondary from 2006-11. He was also Boise State’s defensive pass game coordinator in 2011.
The 36-year-old Yates has spent the past two seasons at Texas A&M since departing Boise State following the 2011 season. He’s regarded as an excellent recruiter, especially in his hometown of Los Angeles, Calif.
Sanford is also seen as a stellar recruiter and was Stanford's recruiting coordinator the past two seasons. He was a backup quarterback at Boise State from 2001-04 and has coached at Yale, Western Kentucky and Stanford.
The Broncos had five defensive backs taken in the NFL Draft in Yates' final six seasons at Boise State including Gerald Alexander (2nd round, Detroit Lions, 2007), Orlando Scandrick (5th round, Dallas Cowboys, 2008), Kyle Wilson (1st round, New York Jets, 2010), Brandyn Thompson (7th round, Washington Redskins, 2011) and George Iloka (5th round, Cincinnati Bengals, 2012).
Sanford's bio on the Stanford website calls him "one of the brightest young minds in the game."
Boise State announced Tuesday that assistant coaches Scott Huff and Andy Avalos would be remaining in 2014 as a part of Harsin’s staff. They are the first official hires.
The Idaho Press-Tribune reported Monday that former Boise State assistant coach Kent Riddle, the special teams coach at Arkansas State, will return to coach the same position under Harsin in Boise.
More hires are expected to be announced in the coming days.
SOUTHWICK, HEDRICK WILL BOTH PLAY IN HAWAII
Interim coach Bob Gregory said Wednesday that senior Joe Southwick and junior Grant Hedrick will both see time at quarterback in the Hawaii Bowl.
“Both guys are going to play,” Gregory said. “We’re working packages for both guys at this point.”
Southwick had started 20 consecutive games dating back to the start of last season before suffering a broken ankle on Oct. 19 vs. Nevada. He returned to play the opening series on Senior Day vs. New Mexico on Nov. 30 and went 2-for-2 for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Hedrick started four games while Southwick was out but has been the primary quarterback the past six games.
Southwick is apparently at or near full strength.
“He’s getting better and better all the time,” Gregory said. “We feel good about Joe. We just feel like both guys are going to play.”
AJAYI NOT CONSIDERING NFL JUMP
Redshirt sophomore running back Jay Ajayi said Wednesday he is not planning to get an evaluation on his NFL Draft stock and expects to return to Boise State for at least one more season.
Ajayi is eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft since he is three years removed from high school. He’s rushed for 1,328 yards and 17 touchdowns this season.
“Not at this time, no,” Ajayi said. “I’m just enjoying my college experience and just trying to make big plays for my team and just enjoy my family here at Boise State.”
Asked if that meant he would be back for at least his junior season in 2014, Ajayi said, “Definitely.”
GREGORY’S FUTURE UNCERTAIN
If Gregory has a job waiting for him with coach Chris Petersen at Washington, he’s not saying.
While several Boise State assistants are expected to follow Petersen to Washington after the Hawaii Bowl ends, Gregory said Wednesday he doesn’t have anything lined up.
“I don’t,” Gregory said. “I’m sure all of that will happen after the bowl game.”
Gregory said he has not spoken with Harsin about the possibility of remaining on staff at Boise State.
PLAYERS TO GET FREE TIME IN HAWAII
The Broncos will depart Thursday afternoon for Honolulu in preparation for the Dec. 24 matchup with Oregon State. And they figure to get plenty of time to relax under the sun.
“There is a fair amount of free time for them, which there should be,” Gregory said of the schedule. “They deserve the break. We’ll practice in the morning like we always do, but they will have enough time to explore and have some fun.”
The team is slated to attend at least one of the Boise State men’s basketball team’s games in the Diamond Head Classic.
Running back Derrick Thomas won’t travel to Hawaii with the team due to a violation of team rules. … Gregory said it was a mutual decision for running back Aaron Baltazar to leave the program. He expects him to transfer. … Shane Williams-Rhodes will be a game-time decision due to an ankle injury. He wore a boot Wednesday and did not participate in practice.