Who Will Be the Go-to Guys for the Broncos?

BOISE ID - NOVEMBER 19: Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos passes against the Fresno State Bulldogs at Bronco Stadium on November 19 2010 in Boise Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)


The Bronco offensive line is rebuilding.  And no where is that more apparent than at receiver.  Senior quarterback Kellen Moore's dynamic duo, Austin Pettis and Titus Young are gone, heading for careers in the NFL and leaving the Bronco's receiving field wide open for anyone who thinks they can be the next "go-to guys" and make the big plays.

And there are some impressive players in the Bronco stable who think they can be one of those guys.  Like senior Tyler Shoemaker, juniors Chris Potter and Mitch Burroughs, and sophomore Geraldo Hiwat.  They proved last year that they have what it takes in both skill and speed to get a starting job.   First year receiver's coach Robert Prince has been watching each of them all through spring ball, and he has also been keeping a close eye on Moore, who might be able to fill the bill as well.

I'm not talking about Kellen Moore, Boise State's Heisman-calibre quarterback.  I'm talking about the other one, #34 Kirby Moore, Kellen's younger brother. 

Kirby Moore (6'2" 205 lbs) was a top prospective WR out of Prosser, Washington who had just finished a record breaking career in High School when he showed up at BSU in the summer of 2009.  A foot injury at the end of that first season has plagued him every since.  The 2010 season was a healing time that had him quietly sitting in the shadows and warming the bench as a redshirt, watching while Titus Young and Austin Pettis stole the show.  That is not to say Moore comes into the 2011 season with a lack experience on the Bronco O-team, however.   He played slot receiver as a freshman in 2009 and threw up a few numbers of note when he tied for 5th on the team with 21 receptions for 242 yards and a couple of TDs.  One of those catches was a 61-yard bomb when he connected with his brother for a TD during the San Jose State game.  He has been sharp in spring ball and he has continued to develop on the playing field.  Expect him to get the start as slot receiver.  

Geraldo Hiwat #82 is penciled in as Young's replacement.  The 6'4" 200 lb sophmore from Amsterdam, Netherlands is one of the faster receivers on the team.  He had 11 receptions in limited play last year that accounted for 160 yards with an average of 14.5 yards a catch.  One of those was a 48 yarder against Hawaii.  Kellen Moore will be needing him for the deep threat down field.   

Fan favorite Tyler Shoemaker #89, a 6"1" 207 lb senior, is looking to be the man to replace Austin Pettis.  Last year "Shoe" was in the slot position where he proved time and again he was a major threat on the O-team.  His sure hands accounted for 32 catches for 582 yards---that's an amazing average of 18.2 yards per reception.  He also burned opposing teams for 5 TDs.  Those hands and Shoe's ability to handle pressure in a tight situation proves he is one of the best clutch-players on the blue, and the best choice for third down plays that Pettis was often used for.   

Chris Potter #3, is only a 5'9" 165 lb junior, but in the 10 games he was in last year he had 8 receptions which accounted for 125 yards.  That's an average of 15.6 yards catch and included a TD.  He also demonstrated last year that he can run, rushing on 6 plays for 33 yeards and averaging 5.5 yards a carry.  That well-rounded, duel-threat quality has continued to improve so far this spring.  He has had some big plays on the practice field, proving once again that size is not always so important---you also need to play with heart.

Another playmaker, but who has been out this spring is #20 Mitch Burroughs (5'9" 188 lbs).  If he is healthy, this junior will be getting significant playing time this fall.  He was a solid performer last season on the gridiron and has proved he can be dependable and make the catch in a tight situation.  In the 4 games he was in, his 6 catches were good for 59 yards and averaged 9.8 yards each.  He's a tough, gritty WR who can handle the pressure when its third and long.

Aaron Burks #18, is a wide receiver who could show up downfield and who can't be ruled out as a go-to guy.  A 6'2" 186 lb junior, Aaron can be shifty with the ball.  And fast.  He played in 5 games last season and caught 6 passes for 58 yards with an average of 9.7 yards.  Don't be surprised if this turns out to be a breakout year for the young receiver.

Not so clear yet is the spring perfomance of #10 Anthony Clarke, 5'9" 177 lbs, and  Alexander Miles #84, 5"9" 180 lbs.  Both were redshirt freshmen last year and it is too early to tell yet if they could see significant action this fall. 

Last years highly touted freshman Matt Miller is also back in the mix after tearing an Achilles’ tendon.  Then there is Troy Ware, a new recruit who arrived in January this year and who might see some downfield time.  But not likely.  There is talk that Ware might end up as a redshirt this year.  Another freshman recruit is Dallas Burroughs, 5'9" 175 lb, and who is Mitch Burroughs younger brother.  He is known as a fast slot receiver who can take it outside.  But look for him to also redshirt and bulk up for next year.  Still, if the receiving corps needs him, he could be highly productive.

To be one of those guys based on the 2010 standards could be a very tall order.  Austin Pettis had 71 catches for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, and averaged 13.4 yards a catch.  Titus Young, the deep threat, also had 71 catches for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns.  His average was a staggering 17.1 yards per catch. 

So there is today's field of Bronco receivers all wanting to be one of QB Kellen Moore's go-to guys.  That field should narrow a little beginning with the spring game today.  The Blue and Orange game gets underway at 5 pm down on the Blue at Bronco Stadium.

And the thing that will be on everyone's mind this afternoon is who will emerge this season as Moore's favorite target down field.  And the thought will also be there that if last season's receivers set a new Bronco standard, being a go-to guy on this years Boise State team is not going to be easy.

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