Welcome to the final post, number twelve of our twelve-part series to kick off the recruiting season. The aim of these articles are to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, what to expect come tomorrow on December 20th, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February.
Boise State: 1st in the MWConnection Recruiting Rankings
The Broncos finished off a very successful season over the weekend, but it didn’t appear that way back in September. They had a successful debut against Troy but they lost a triple-overtime heartbreaker to Washington State, blowing a lead late in the game. After bouncing back against New Mexico, they suffered their worse home loss in years to Virginia, falling to 2-2 and having many on social media thinking their season was over. Following their soul-searching and regrouping over the bye-week, Boise State reeled off 7 straight wins, including beating a great SDSU team, getting revenge against Wyoming, and beating Colorado State in a back-and-forth OT game. They had a hiccup against Fresno State to close the regular season, but came back to beat them the very next week in the MWC championship game. That earned them a trip to the Vegas Bowl, where they topped Oregon to finish the season 11-3.
Offensively, their base is like most teams which have been covered so far: 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 RB as their base set. However, their offense is perhaps best described as multiple This means they use a variety of sets and formations throughout the game. This season they used as many as 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 5 TEs, and 5 WRs at one time or another. QB they prefer a pocket-passer but like him to be able to be mobile enough to extend players. Along the OL they like athleticism and versatility, often valuing that over size. Their RBs tend to be power runners who run between the tackles primarily. The TE position especially is unique because with all their shifts and motions pre-snap, often the TEs have to be some of the smartest and most disciplined players on the field. Plus they have to be able to block and catch passes.
Yesterday, it was written that CSU runs basically a 4-3, with a DE who at times drops back into coverage. Boise State’s defense is very similar but they lean slightly more to the look of a 3-4 in recent seasons. Their 3 traditional DL players still have more 4-3 DL responsibilities and looks (a NT, a 3 technique DT, and a DE), but the hybrid position they refer to as STUD (Stand Up End) plays more like a rush OLB these days. Primarily they pass-rush but have had increasing coverage responsibilities and although they do put their hand down and play on the line, stopping the run doesn’t seem to a main task. Their other LBs have basic 4-3 LB responsibilities (although they look for athletic, mobile backers), but the SLB is also a bit of a hybrid. That position could (and used to) double as a 5th DB, but one that has run stopping duties as well. They basically use it like most teams do: put one of your best play-makers there and have them blitz, help in the run game and cover slot WRs or TEs. The rest of the secondary doesn’t differ from other defenses too much.
The Road So Far:
Boise State has 16 confirmed verbal commits in their 2018 class. 8 players will be on offense while the other 8 are slated to play defense. They do most of their recruiting in California and Texas, with this cycle bringing in 9 from Cali and 3 from the state of Texas. They also secured two of the top four players from in-state Idaho.
A look at the 8 offensive players shows the Broncos are deep in this class at the skill positions. They will bring in Andrew VanBuren at RB, who passed up numerous P5 offers and his style fits perfectly into how the team uses their backs. WR was a focal point of this class, as is evident by the 4 verbals they have at the position. John Hightower, one of the top JUCO pass-cathers, is being brought in to play right away and with his size and experience, the coaches are hopeful he can help replace Cedric Wilson. Khalil Shakir is one of the top talents in MWC and will probably be expected to play right away They will be complimented by Stefan Cobbs and Billy Bowens, and although they may be under the radar compared to the other two, they aren’t lacking in talent and bring nice speed to the program. Local TE Cole Ramseyer is a good sleeper bet after spending his prep career tucked away in Idaho but is skilled enough to handle the complicated TE position. On the line, Kekaniokoa Gonzalez anchored a talented line for top HS program Mater Dei, while Garrett Curran has a projectable frame and skill set.
An argument could be made that there is more talent coming in on the defensive side of the ball. In opposite fashion of the offense, the d-line is loaded. Two gigantic nose tackles are coming in, 327 lb Scale Igiehon is athletic and mobile despite his size, and 297 lb Keeghan Freeborn is making the transition from OL but plays nasty and tenacious. A pair of pass-rushing DEs also join the mix in Demitri Washington and Kukea Emmsley. The 3 linebackers in this class continue the trend of reloading at this position every year. Longtime commits and leaders of the class Phillip Mills and Brandon Hawkins are slated to be the SLB and WLB and are talented enough to play early. Adding in MLB DJ Schramm who has a great knack for plugging up the run game, and the position is set for the future. The newest commit in this class is CB Chris Mitchell, who brings great size to the position in addition to a natural ability to make plays on the ball.
Number Expected to Sign in December: There have been 15 players who have confirmed they will sign next week. (the 16th commit did not respond)
Number Expected to Enroll Early: At this time, 2 of the recruits who responded stated they will enroll early.
Top Targets Remaining:
OL Jake Parks, CB Desmond Talley, CB Tyric LeBeauf, DT Moro Ojomo, RB Danny Smith, DB Michael Washington, QB Brock Purdy, QB Trey Lance
The Road Ahead:
The Broncos have secured numerous players with PAC-12 caliber talent in this class. In fact, 10 players hold at least 1 P5 offer. Perhaps the main difference between past class and this ones for BSU is there isn’t as wide of a talent gap between the top and bottom of their commits. They have hit on almost all of their top targets this season, although a few decommits have left them with a few holes to fill going forward.
First and foremost, the Broncos need a quarterback. At this stage in the game, and with many QBs expected to sign tomorrow, there most likely won’t be many left over that were the same caliber as Wilson, who decommitted at the end of last week. Brock Purdy was one of the top QBs in AZ this year and would be a nice option at this stage in the process. Danny Smith would be a nice compliment to VanBuren and help ease the loss of Zidane Thomas. OL Jake Parks took a recent visit to Boise State and appears to be the top target here. Likewise with Ojomo at DT, although some in-state offers may make him hard to lure away from Texas. The pair of CBs, Talley and LeBeauf, are actually both from the same school. Both are great talents who have flown under the recruiting radar, and one of them should end up a Bronco by February.
Looking at their recent offers the past few weeks, along with their decommits, it is evident they are still targeting a QB, OL, RB, CB, and DT. That leads to the assumption that there are still quite a few spots left in this class, so they will probably end up in the low 20s (16 commits plus at least 5 more spots being targeted). The priority should be probably be in that order as well. QB is the only position they don't currently have. The other four spots they have commits already and adding to them would benefit them and complete the class nicely, but if they miss on a player, it wouldn’t take away from the class at all. To summarize, most of the heavy-lifting in this class is finished (minus quarterback) and anything else will be a bonus to further distance themselves from the rest of the conference when it comes to recruiting.
There it is. Hope this was an enjoyable series to read as it was to write. Enjoy seeing all the official signing announcements tomorrow (there will be some kind of article to recap everything) and keep following through the dead period and into the busy world of January recruiting. There will be a more in depth post on each time after all classes are official starting in February.