Welcome to the first piece of our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. The aim of these articles is to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured, in order of where they fall in their current MWCConnection ranking. Today looks at Boise State.
1st in the MWConnection Recruiting Rankings
With the 2018 football season over, we have officially entered recruiting season. Boise State has another class filled with Power Five level recruits and will likely finish with the top recruiting class in the Mountain West. Boise State has shifted its recruiting focus in recent years. I expect a much different offensive approach next year and that has been apparent with the last two classes. Let’s take a look at each side of the ball and determine the needs and what to expect.
I expect a major shift in offensive philosophy with the departure of Brett Rypien. Rypien is a traditional pocket passer, who avoids running the ball. Other quarterbacks on the roster (Chase Cord, Jaylon Henderson, Riley Smith) are mobile. Cord’s injury adds an element of mystery to the quarterback position. Current commits Hank Bachmeier and Kaiden Bennett will have a chance to compete for playing time right away.
The Broncos have also shifted their focus at wide receiver. The have been focusing less on size and more on speed and versatility. Tight ends were rarely used this past season. For this reason, I would not be shocked if the Broncos try to run a faster, more spread based offense next year. It will be interesting to watch. It is also worth keeping an eye on the running back position. The Broncos have traditionally relied on one guy, but there will be a ton of talent in the backfield next year. Will the Broncos return to more of a running back committee, or will they continue to rely on one guy?
The Broncos don’t have a specific defensive technique like most schools, they evolve to fit their best players. They do a lot of subbing and shifting depending on the down and distance. For example, their best two players (Curtis Weaver and Jabril Frazier) played the same position on defense (STUD). So, the Broncos essentially eliminated the defensive end position the second half of the season and went with two STUDs. The Broncos also have the nickel, which is a hybrid linebacker/safety position. Kekaula Kaniho is a junior this year and split time at that position, they may be looking for their replacements in this class. The secondary is also a major area of concern, as all four starters will likely be upperclassmen next year.
The Road So Far:
Looking at the list of Bronco commits, it is impressive to the say the least. There are five four-star recruits (per the various recruiting sites), which is unheard of in the Group of 5 recruiting world, and two recruits will be two of the highest ever to commit to play at Boise State. They have 15 confirmed verbal commits in their 2019 class. 9 players will be on offense while the other 6 are slated to play defense.
California, Texas, and Arizona are traditionally their top three recruiting states. Eight in this signing come from Cali, and two from Arizona. Surprisingly, only two of their current commits are from Texas, which is low in recent years. They did well on the in-state from again, securing the top Idaho commit (and usually get walk-ons with some others), added a commit from Canada, and another from Nevada.
A look at the 9 offensive players shows the Broncos were able to hit at every position. The headliner on offense is clearly QB Hank Bachmeier, who is one of the top quarterbacks in the 2019 class and one of the top players to ever commit to BSU. But he is far from the only star talent coming in on this side of the ball. The other QB, Bennett, is very mobile and could end up playing a few roles in the offense. Then, a pair of 4-star running backs, Duncan and Holani, that both have the talent to earn snaps right away. Holani is a well-rounded back and Duncan could make an impact in multiple positions on either side of the ball before all is said and done. The other 4-star is big junior college TE Austin Griffin, the top ranked JUCO TE in the nation. He should immediately step into a big role. At the wide-receiver spot, Waleed and Whiting project as players who will be ready to play sooner rather than later. Throw in some huge lineman who have ideal frames in Golden and Dooley and the talent level is very apparent.
The defensive commits also have a clear headliner, 4-star Casey Kline. Though the position is well-stocked, Kline is another one of the top recruits to commit to the Broncos and is clearly talented enough to play right away, and could make an impact at STUD or OLB. He is joined by two other players at the STUD spot, lengthy athlete Dylan Hall, and top Canadian player Bagnah, which is a country BSU has recruited well in the past. Filling out the line is the versatile Callahan, who can play inside or outside, and. The Broncos needed some big talent in the secondary in this class and they sure hit on it. They got one-time Texas Tech commit Markel Reed, as well as JL Skinner, one of the top DBs in the west. Both tall, long, and very talented. The future looks bright in the secondary.
Number who signed in December: 15
Number who will enroll early: 3
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: Coach Harsin said they have 3 spots left in this class and one will go to a kicker. Speculation past that, but the other two spots could go to a LB, S, or OL player.
Boise State is in a good position here. They secured the core of their class in December and now can just focus on putting the finishing touches on arguably the best Group of 5 class in the country, let alone the Mountain West.
Not much is left for Boise State to do between now and February. Improving the kicking game, or just special teams in general, is needed. Would imagine they look at both the high school and JUCO ranks for a kicker. Their major needs are met and now they can focus on looking at targeting top players who ended up not signing. I would think they could add another offensive lineman if possible. It would also not be surprising to see them take a flier or two on an under recruited player or a player who may be considered a “project” with a higher ceiling who can develop over the years.
It is really an ideal position to be in with the way signing works now. Get all of your needs and core players signed in December and use February to look for guys who didn’t sign and diamonds in the rough.
Coming tomorrow: Nevada