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The Idaho Press is counting down the 25 most important players to the 2021 Boise State football team. Next up is No. 22: Safety Tyreque Jones.

Boise State will be breaking in a pair of new starting cornerbacks this fall, which means more pressure on the two returners at safety in JL Skinner and Tyreque Jones.

We’ll get to Skinner in a future entry in this series, but the focus today will be on Jones. The redshirt senior started five of the seven games last season and has 14 career starts the past three seasons.

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Jones is a big, athletic safety that has plenty of potential — but he’s yet to really show it in terms of stats and production. He had just 10 tackles and one pass break-up in six games last season and has just one interception and five passes defended in 32 career games.

The stats haven’t totally equaled his play on the field — coaches have continuously praised him — but the Broncos would surely like to see more in terms of interceptions, pass break-ups and tackles in 2021.

The San Bernardino, California, native was a team captain and a three-star recruit coming out of San Gorgonio High School in 2017. He redshirted that year but has started at least four games in each of the past three seasons.

He’s been a solid contributor for the Broncos on the back end and has the desirable combination of size and athleticism for a safety. But he’s yet to put together the big, complete, breakout season that many have been waiting for.

The Broncos figure to rely on the experience of Jones in the secondary with a pair of new, inexperienced cornerbacks on the outside. Jones has been around the longest and played the most of anybody in the secondary — and Boise State’s defense would love for him to have a big year.

B.J. Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013 and is a three-time winner of the NSMA Idaho Sportswriter of the Year Award. He appears on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket every Friday at 4 p.m. for the Blue Turf Sports report.

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