[Vandal] Vandal Secondary Takes Another Transfer Hit

robiegruss at aol.com robiegruss at aol.com
Tue Jun 9 08:47:57 PDT 2020


>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoTuesday, June 9, 2020
Vandal Secondary Takes Another Transfer Hit
Idaho soph David Eppinger becomes second DB to leave team this offseason
By Colton Clark
Sophomore Idaho defensive back David Eppinger announced his intention to transfer out of the program on Sunday night, becoming the second expected contributor in the 2020 Vandals’ secondary to do so this offseason.
Utah State transfer cornerback Christian Nash left the program in January. Both Eppinger and Nash would certainly have competed for starting roles in a position group that’s been an area of concern for Idaho the past several years.
“This is a move I decided to make myself as a man, for my future and also my family’s,” Eppinger posted on Twitter. “I addressed it to my coaches, teammates and academic advisors. I appreciate you.”
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Eppinger impressed in practices with his high gear, instinctual playmaking abilities and quick-twitch athleticism. He played the second-most defensive reps among Idaho freshmen, and had carved out a rotational role at cornerback early in the year.
Vandals coach Paul Petrino had voiced high hopes for the Chandler, Ariz., product, who appeared in all of Idaho’s games, recording 13 tackles, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery at Penn State.
Eppinger fit Petrino’s DB recruiting mold of positional versatility. Later in the year, because of depth concerns, Eppinger transitioned to safety, earning praise from teammates and some in-game reps at the spot.
“Speed, instincts, athleticism. Played the ball in the air better than almost any prep DB I’ve ever covered,” tweeted Ralph Amsden, a reporter on Arizona high school sports with Arizonavarsity.com. “Would have absolutely been a Power 5 prospect if he wasn’t spending senior year overcoming early prep hurdles. I’d stake my whole (reputation) on this kid having Pac-12 talent.”
Eppinger played three seasons at Gilbert Perry High before transferring to Chandler High, and declaring hardship as his reasoning.
But because he’d played on a summer 7-on-7 team with a future Chandler teammate, he had to sit out much of the year on a prior-contact rule violation. He returned in midseason after winning a court case, and eventually helped the Wolves to a 6A state title. He was ranked as USA Today’s No. 7 prep cornerback in Arizona.
Idaho’s presumed starters at CB are grad transfer Dareon Nash and fourth-year defensive backfield starter Jalen Hoover — a particularly experienced duo. Hoover has started 33 games, and Nash has logged substantial minutes in 36. Behind them, however, it’s a different story. Senior Tevin Duke, junior Wyryor Noil and sophomore Jaxon Woodward have some playing time under their belts, but only in spurts, and very few combined starts.
Idaho will need to develop starter-caliber talent at CB quickly.

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