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Record 2023: 9-4 (6-2 Big Sky)
Returning Starters: 14 (5 out, 9 defense)
Offensive Rank (YPP) 2023: No. 14
Defensive Rank 2023 (YPP allowed): No. 27

Returning All-Conference Players: Ayden Knapik (Honorable Mention; OL), Keyshawn James-Newby (Honorable Mention; DL), Dallas Afalava (Honorable Mention; DL), Tommy McCormick (Honorable Mention; DB), Abraham Williams (1st Team; KR)

Notable incoming transfers: Abraham Williams (Weber State; CB/KR), Corry Thomas (Northern Iowa; CB), KJ Trujillo (North Alabama; DB), Nate Thomas (South Dakota; RB), Orion Peters (Washington State; WR)

While the 2023 season ended on a disappointing note for the Vandals with a 30-22 loss in the quarterfinals to UAlbany, a broader view has Idaho fans optimistic about the direction of this program under head coach Jason Eck. In both seasons under Eck, the Vandals have made great strides and expect that trend to continue next season.

The biggest challenge awaiting Idaho in 2024 is replacing the talent that entered the transfer portal this offseason. Idaho lost All-American wide receiver Hayden Hatten and All-Big Sky wide receiver Jermaine Jackson to the NFL. The Vandals also lost seven starters to the transfer portal. They include quarterback Gevani McCoy to Oregon State, running back Anthony Woods to Utah, cornerback Marcus Harris to Cal and cornerback Ormanie Arnold to Cincinnati.

The biggest testament to Idaho State’s program is that despite all the losses, the Vandals can expect to be one of the top teams in the conference next season. The defense can potentially be one of the best in the nation. The defensive line returns eight players with at least 100 snaps of experience, including Freshman All-American Dallas Afalava. The Vandals are deep in the secondary school, with Tommy McCormick (2X All-Big Sky selection), Kyrin BeachemAnd Dwayne McDougle all return next season. The Vandals were successful in the portal and added three starting cornerbacks, including Corry Thomaswho started eleven games for Northern Iowa last season.

The quarterback will be one of the biggest question marks for Idaho’s offense in 2024. The keys to the offense will be handed over to Jack Layne. Layne started a game against Idaho State last season and completed 20 of 26 passes for 275 yards and six touchdowns. He showed a ton of potential and could pick up where Gevani McCoy left off with the Vandals.

The next big question is how Idaho will replace Hayden Hatten. The No. 1 option on the outside is expected to be wide receiver Jordan Dwyer who scored 328 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Tight Ends Alex Moore And Maurer Mini are additional pass receivers in an offense that could use two tight ends more often. Idaho has also re-staffed the running back room after signing the former running back from South Dakota Nate Thomas And Elisa Cummings returns after totaling 708 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns in 2022.

The development of the offensive line could be the deciding factor in Idaho’s ability to compete in the Big Sky next season. The offensive line struggled last season, as the Vandals ranked near the bottom of the FCS in terms of pressures allowed. The unit is led by Ayden Knapik, who is honorable mention on the All-Big Sky list.

Idaho Football Schedule 2024

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