BSU PLAYER TO WATCH
JEREMY IOANE, SAFETY
Today is a homecoming for Ioane, and he’ll be making his return to Oahu as one of Boise State’s top defenders.
The graduate of Honolulu’s Punahou School (which has produced Barack Obama and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, who was Ioane’s high school teammate) is in his first season as a starter, and he has thrived. The sophomore is second on the team with 48 tackles and is tied for second with two interceptions.
“He’s done great, he really has,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said.
Ioane’s highlight tape, with plenty of crushing hits, from his time with the Buffanblu drew interest from schools across the continental U.S., from Stanford to Washington to Notre Dame. But Ioane picked the Broncos, and the physicality he showed when he was recruiting is being known to foes.
“Jeremy’s playing really well right now, and I expect him to continue that in Hawaii,” Boise State defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. “He’s brought a lot of toughness to our defense. We have a lot of defenses where he’s free to come down and put some hits on people, which he’s done.”
Ioane’s excitement to play again at home has been quite noticeable by teammates.
“I can tell — he loves Hawaii … he’s excited to go back and play,” safety Darian Thompson said.
HAWAII PLAYER TO WATCH
MIKE EDWARDS, CORNERBACK
Far away from home, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior has thrived in new surroundings.
Edwards, a native of Cleveland, began his career at Tennessee in 2009, redshirted a junior college in 2010, and went to Hawaii prior to last season. The junior leads the Mountain West with 13 pass breakups and is second with 29.3 yards per kickoff return. He has return touchdowns of 95 and 100 yards.
“That’s a little bit of a scary combination right there for us right now,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “He’s a very dynamic, electric guy.”
Edwards also is tied for the Warriors’ team lead with 26 solo tackles.
“Mike Edwards is terrific,” Hawaii coach Norm Chow said. “… Mike does a tremendous job as a corner and as a kick returner.”
After playing in eight games and registering five tackles with the Volunteers in 2009, Edwards was arrested with two of his teammates for attempted aggravated robbery. He pleaded guilty and was able to get it removed from his record with two years of good behavior —which Chow said he’s more than accomplished.
“Above all that, I really appreciate Mike and his off-the-field behavior,” Chow said. “He’s become a leader — this is his second chance … he’s (shown) tremendous growth and maturity.”