Utah St Boise St Football

Utah State wide receiver Ron’quavion Tarver (1) battles with Boise State cornerback Jalen Walker (15) in the end zone on Nov. 24, 2018, in Boise.

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The Idaho Press is counting down the 20 most important players for the Boise State football team in 2019. Next up on our list is No. 11, Jalen Walker:

There may be no harder player on Boise State’s defense to replace from last year than corner Tyler Horton, a three-year starter and playmaker that scored three defensive touchdowns last season.

Jalen Walker gets to take the first shot.

The redshirt junior has been Horton’s backup the past two seasons and started both games that Horton missed last year at Oklahoma State and at Wyoming. Walker also started the Las Vegas Bowl against Oregon in 2017 due to an injury to Horton, and has played in 22 games the past two years.

Walker recovered a fumble, broke up a pass and made three tackles against Troy, and recovered a fumble and had four tackles against Wyoming. For the season he had 19 tackles, two pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries.

But he’ll likely take over as the full-time starter in place of Horton, a two-time first-team All-Mountain West selection that started 39 games during his career with the Broncos and scored on a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown last season.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Walker has shown in small doses that he is a quality player capable of a starting spot. But playing a game here or there and having to be the full-time guy in place of one of the more productive cornerbacks the Broncos have had in recent years are two totally different things.

Others, including redshirt freshmen Chris Mitchell, Tyric Lebeauf and graduate transfer Khafari Buffalo of The Citadel, will get a shot to win the spot during fall camp and likely will see playing time at some point this year. But Walker is the favorite to see the majority of action because of his experience.

Horton will be tough to replace. Walker and the Broncos have a big challenge ahead.

Boise State’s 20 Most Important Players in 2019{/span}

No. 20: Chase Hatada

No. 19: DeAndre Pierce

No. 18: Octavius Evans

No. 17: John Bates

No. 16: Kekaula Kaniho

No. 15: Joel Velazquez

No. 14: Riley Whimpey

No. 13: Kekoa Nawahine

No. 12: Eric Quevedo

No. 11: Jalen Walker

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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