BOISE — No matter what he does at Boise State, or possibly some day in the NFL, safety Jeremy Ioane will never be the most famous graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. That honor belongs to President Barack Obama.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t continue to make a name for himself with the Broncos.
Ioane figures to be a key component of the young Boise State secondary after starting all 13 games last season as a sophomore and earning honorable mention all-conference honors.
And as the elder member of the group, despite only being a junior, the Broncos are counting on him to be even better this year.
“Jeremy is coming off obviously an all-conference year and had a heck of an offseason,” Boise State secondary coach Jimmy Lake said. “He’s coming into a leadership role, started a number of games around here and has made some big-time plays. In fact our last play from last season was an interception from Jeremy. He’s had a productive camp so far.
The 5-10, 190-pound Ioane had the final highlight of the 2012 season, an interception late in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas that sealed Boise State’s 28-26 win over Washington. He also provided one of the first highlights of the year, a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown in the season opener at Michigan State.
His best game came against San Diego State, when he had 10 tackles, an interception and forced a fumble. He finished with three picks on the season and was second on the team with 70 tackles, including a career-high 11 against Nevada on Dec. 1.
With two new starters at corner and a safety in Darian Thompson that didn’t get into the lineup until midway through last season, the experience Ioane gained could play big dividends for the Broncos’ defense as he looks to lead the young group.
“Compared to last year, starting off the season I definitely feel a lot more comfortable, knowing the defense a lot more and being comfortable with the people I’m with on the field,” Ioane said. “I feel like its our job as the older guys to come in and help out as much as we can with the younger guys and let them know what’s going through our head and what’s going on with each situation that comes across the field.”
The Boise State defense finished eighth in the nation in fewest points allowed and 12th in total yards allowed in 2012. But they lost second-round draft pick Jamar Taylor and corner Jerrell Gavins, who earned a tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the season.
And as they look to try and repeat last year’s success, the undoubted leader of the secondary will be the safety Ioane — both on and off the field.
“No question,” Lake said. “Any type of playmaker that does everything the right way — the way coach Pete wants our players to conduct themselves — and you’re a playmaker, then you’re a leader.
“Some guys are vocal and also make plays. Jeremy is on the side where he does his talking with his pads and his playmaking ability, so we’re excited to have him back.”