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Boise State Wide Receivers: Will There Be Strength in Numbers?

The Broncos are led by Thomas Sperbeck at wide receiver but who else is in the lineup?

Boise State v UNLV Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Boise State has a plethora of depth at wide receiver. Lead by All-American receiver Thomas Sperbeck, the Broncos will be fielding an offense that arguably only comes second to the 2010 offense lead by the winningest quarterback in program history in Kellen Moore, former first round pick in running back Doug Martin and record-breaking receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis.

With sophomore phenom Brett Rypien looking to improve off of his Mountain West Freshman of the year season, all receivers not named Sperbeck are going to be fighting for catches amongst each other along with tight end Jake Roh and running back Jeremy McNichols.

Starter: Thomas Sperbeck

NCAA Football: Air Force at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

The All-American receiver has blossomed into one of the greatest receivers in program history. In his senior season, expect a safety over the top to negate his career average of 16.0 yards per catch. Teams might even throw a linebacker his way on crossing routes. It didn’t help much last season but teams will still find a way to not let Sperbeck be the reason they lose.

The senior is on pace to rewrite the Bronco receiving records no matter what defenses do. With an experienced sophomore quarterback in play Sperbeck should improve off his 88 catches, 1,412-yard, eight touchdowns last season. He isn’t winning any track meets, doesn't have elite size hands or height, but he makes plays all game long.

NCAA Football: Poinsettia Bowl- Boise State vs Northern Illinois Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Starter: Chaz Anderson

Anderson is only in his third full year removed from being a cornerback. As a redshirt sophomore he averaged 21.7 yards per catch with 456 yards as a legitimate deep threat. Last season he averaged 13.8 yards per catch on 578 yards as a the second receiver behind Sperbeck.

The redshirt senior must get back to consistently blowing the lid off defenses and keeping safeties and linebackers honest. Hes a threat from the slot and may even return some kicks if need be but his role in the offense pending injury or suspension is a starter and Robin to Sperbeck's Batman. He might even be the beneficiary of an end around or two.

NCAA Football: Poinsettia Bowl- Boise State vs Northern Illinois Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Richardson

Richardson had 10 catches for 113 yards in 13 games last season, the most for any offensive player not named Sperbeck, Anderson, Roh or McNichols. Richardson has had hype surrounding him since he delayed his enrollment to spring 2014 after signing his letter of intent in 2013.

At six feet tall, Richardson is the same height as Sperbeck an almost 25lbs heavier than Sperbeck an Anderson. He can add some much needed speed and versatility to the third receiver spot as well as the return game. His route running an ability to create separation will be vital on third downs or when everyone is covered.

Richardson enter the season with the ability to make defenses pay in any situation where he has a one-on-one match up to take away teams coverage and blitz packages anytime its in nickel or dime packages.

With his talent, beating linebackers, safeties and third string corners should be a consistent staple in the Bronco offense to ensure Rypien's progression continues and to give defensive backs a cushion to respect his prescence on the field.

Boise State spring game Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Sean Modster

Modster had three catches for 39 yards in eight games an adds quality depth as a fourth receiver or punt returner at worst. He's the type of player that will produce when given the chance and can save a drive or two with a tough catch or a missed tackle.

NCAA Football: Hawaii at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Akilian Butler

Butler has tremendous upside as a receiver an excelled as a runner last season on his 10-yard score on an end around against Hawaii.

He should definitely finish this season with more than the two catches for 21 yards he had last season. Butler was rated the 25th best receiver in the state of Texas by so his versatility may be enough to beat out Modster. He might even take on the role vacated by the graduation of former receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes.

New Mexico v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Austin Cottrell

Cottrell is somewhat of a long shot. His one credited catch was a lateral he received after a 37-yard completion that he advanced another 40 yards. Having a 77-yard catch on your stat sheet is pretty impressive.

The 6-foot-2-inch junior can continue to be in the right place at the right time for the Broncos and maybe make some plays as a red zone threat since he’s one of the tallest receivers on the team.


Boise State spring game Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Cedrick Wilson Jr.

Wilson is the biggest X-factor coming in as a transfer. At 6 foot 3 inches tall, the son of former NFL receiver Cedrick Wilson Sr. was a dominate player at Coffeyville Community College. He was a state championship winning quarterback in high school and went on to Coffeyville to score 10 receiving touchdowns his first year and 17 this past season.

After committing to the Broncos despite an offer from Virginia Tech, Wilson brings a dominant, physical threat to a pretty small receiving group. He might be the most mature of the receivers because of being a NJCAA All-American receiver and his bloodlines. His size and catch radius will help tremendously in the red zone and chances are that Wilson will be the third receiver in this offense. That will allow for Rypien to stretch the field and open up the offense in a quick strike, vertical attack. If Wilson can be that vertical threat then this offense will be dangerous.

Walk-On’s, Back up’s, etc.

Taylor Pope

Pope is a redshirt senior whose career is defined by being a special teams ace. Unless the coaches throw him a touchdown pass on senior night or sometime during the season, catch the receiver making tackles on kickoffs and punt returns.

David McKinzie

A redshirt junior, McKenzie will probably get some play time in blowout games or on special teams due to the fact that he only had one appearance last season against Idaho State.

Bryan Jefferson

Another three-star recruit, Jefferson redshirted last year after coming out of high school as the 48th rated athlete nationally in 2014. The 5-foot-11-inch receiver could get a shot at returning kickoffs, punts or play time during blowouts.

Brock Barr

Barr transferred from Shasta Community College two years ago. the 6-foot-3-inch receiver got no playing time last year and that will most definitely be the case this year. If he’s lucky, he can make some plays as a gunner on special teams.

Garrett Collingham

The 6-foot-4-inch redshirt freshman was a high school quarterback and since he is still getting used to the receiver position, don’t expect him to play this year either, pending amazing progression.

Freshman class

Bubba Ogbebor Julian Carter

Carter and Ogbebor are almost certainly going to redshirt. For these two to contribute right out of high school is not the norm so just like the receivers that came before them, they’ll have to sit out a year and be ready to produce in a year or two. Every receiver on the roster not named Sperbeck or Anderson had to do the same thing.