Welcome to a fun off-season series that Casey (of OBNUG) and Mike (of MWCConnection) are rolling out for your viewing enjoyment (hopefully). Back in February, excitement was at an all time high for fans and coaches alike as the 2018 class was officially signed. Quite often around that time it is not uncommon to hear fans say things like “On paper, this is the best recruiting class ever for ____.” And on paper, that may even be true or arguably true. However, once players get on campus and actually on the field, the true story begins to reveal itself. It can often take years for a class to truly be judged as the impact of many players won’t be seen for a few seasons. That being said, this series will aim to revisit and evaluate Boise State’s 2014 class. There has now been enough time that many members of the class have either left or are entering their final seasons, which means players are able to be looked at for their production (or lack thereof) rather than projection and hype. Also, this was the first recruiting class in the Bryan Harsin era for the Broncos. Although it was basically only put together over a period of a few weeks, there was quite a bit of hype surrounding the class back in February of 2014.
Anyway, each week, Casey and Mike will look at a different position group from the class. Both of us will contribute each week, but the location of the post will change (one week on one site, the next week on the other) so followers of both sites can follow along. Each post will have both of us weighing in on the same talking points for each season: our expectations of the player from when they signed, the production they gave each season on the team, and their overall impact, which we will fit into one of 3 categories (exceeded expectations, met expectations, or below expectations). We will each keep a running tally of our totals and then at the end we can each determine the over impact the 2014 class had. It should be a fun and interesting study as the 2014 Boise State class had a little bit of everything over the past 4 years.
Up first is the quarterbacks. Boise State signed two in this class. With Joe Southwick graduating and Nick Patti deciding to go back to his home state of Florida, they were only returning two scholarship QBs. Therefore, they picked up Tommy “Football” Stuart off the JUCO circuit and after pursuing a few big name high school QBs (#KaayaToBoise for those who still have it etched in their minds), they dipped back into Florida to get Alex Ogle.
Expectations When He Signed - I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when he signed. As a JC guy, I assumed he could potentially have an instant impact and provide some relief to Hedrick. BUT, we also had Finley available. What was intriguing was what he was able to do as a true freshman as the JC level at Butte.
2014 Season - Tommy ended up red-shirting this season. This was neither surprising or expected. With Finley already having used his red shirt, it made sense.
2015 Season - With Rypien coming on and Finley being in the position to potentially take the reins from Hedrick, QB seemed up in the air. Finley had spent a few years in the program so he had some context. Stuart, while a bit undersized, had competed at a high level in the JC realm, so there was potential for him there too. Tommy didn’t contribute a ton, but it was the most of his tenure at BSU (12-18 for 114 yards, 1 TD). Once Finley went down and Ryp took over, it all seemed clarified and set in stone that this was Ryp’s team now. I appreciated Tommy owning the role of back-up without complaint.
2016 Season - Tommy was 3-5 for 50 yards in his final season with the Broncos. As far as QBs go, that’s not great. Now, that just means that Ryp did a solid job and it wasn’t necessary to put Tommy in. When he did play, he was efficient. Tommy transferred to Duquesne for his last season of eligibility. I didn’t necessarily see that coming, but I didn’t fault him for it at all. He knew he wasn’t going to start, and by transferring, allowed himself the opportunity to do so.
Overall Impact - This depends on perspective. “Tommy Football” built a bit of a following for being scrappy and shifty, and while he didn’t blow us out of the water with eye-popping stats, fans loved his attitude and willingness to do what was best for his team. He exemplified what it means to be a Bronco. It’s kind of weird, but I think he exceeded expectations, not necessarily from a stats standpoint, but, as I stated earlier, he played his role and did it well. I don’t know that anyone expected him to come in and start, but he did what he needed to when he needed to, and he did it with style.
Expectations When He Signed: Boise State was in desperate need of a JUCO QB and Stuart filled that need. He came in with a high pedigree as he lead his JUCO team to a title, and already had the nickname of “Tommy Football”. Even before stepping on a practice field, he had won the hearts of the Bronco fans as a beloved underdog. I expected him to become a prominent back up QB. If nothing else, I figured he would be on the field in certain packages to utilize his running abilities.
2014 Season: He red-shirted and this surprised me a bit. I figured he would see a few plays a game in a role similar to former QBs like Mike Coughlin and Grant Hedrick did during the Kellen Moore era. However, red-shirting him was a luxury and gave him a chance to better learn the system and develop his passing.
2015 Season: Stuart did in fact see the field, playing a significant amount in the Idaho State game when Finley became injured and before they decided to bring Rypien in. He served as the primary backup QB to two different starters, and although that didn’t translate into many snaps, he did provide value, as I expected.
2016 Season: Stuart again served as the primary backup and again only saw the field in small spurts. Still, he was fulfilling the role I envisioned for him.
Overall Impact: Stuart ended up transferring out as a grad-transfer before the 2017 season, his last year of college eligibility. It was a bit surprising, as he seemed to buy into his role at Boise State, but he also wanted to see significant playing time. His career was shorter than I expected, but he did fulfill the role I expected him to as a backup and change of pace QB, even if his snap count was a bit lower than I thought it would be. I’d say he pretty much met expectations.
Expectations When He Signed - I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I liked his size (6’3 and 206lbs), but no one knew much about him since we landed him so late. I certainly expected him to red shirt though, with Hedrick leading the way and a JC guy coming in with him.
2014 Season - Red shirt, as expected. As I stated with Tommy, with Finley already on the roster and Grant at the helm, it was a foregone conclusion and made sense.
2015 Season - Alex spent most of the time on the sidelines. He appeared in 3 games for the Broncos total. I think the writing was on the wall for Ogle once Rypien took over.
2016 Season - For whatever reason I was shocked that he transferred, but looking back, I don’t know why. 4* Brett Rypien came in and tore it up as a true freshman once Finley went down. Why would anyone really have the opportunity to play outside of garbage time until he was gone? He transferred to Arizona Western for 2016.
Overall Impact - Ogle really didn’t have an impact for the Broncos, unfortunately. No one knew that Rypien would come in in 2015, but once he committed, I think everyone was all in on him DESPITE Finley still being on the team. None of that was to discount Ogle’s talent, but a player like Rypien doesn’t come along often, at least that was the thought at the time he committed. I would have to say he failed to meet expectations, whatever those expectations were. I did not expect him to transfer as quickly as he did, but honestly can’t blame him. Would I have liked to see him get more playing time? Sure, but you can’t bench the starters just to give someone else playing time, save for blow-out games.
At some point in the future, people will forget that Ogle was here simply because it was so brief. Tommy will be remembered mostly because everyone called him Tommy Football and he was fun to watch.
Expectations When He Signed: I wasn’t as low on Ogle as some on Twitter, but I had some reasonable thoughts for his development, especially with Mike Sanford as the QB coach at the time. I pegged him as someone who quite a few seasons to develop but had a chance to become a quality back-up by his red-shirt junior season, with an outside chance to be talented enough to be a starter his senior year (this did not take into account the QBs in the classes after him but rather his projected talent). I also routinely said that I could see him as a 1-2 year starter type of talent if he were at most other MWC or Go5 schools.
2014 Season: To no one’s surprise, Ogle redshirted. I figured he was right on schedule, as there was no need to play him.
2015 Season: Initially, I figured he’d see some time in mop-up duty, which I believe he did. However, he was “jumped” by Brett Rypien when they burned his redshirt and he became the starting QB. Though Ogle didn’t do anything wrong, he was suddenly and unofficially 4th on the QB depth chart.
2016 Season: Ogle left the team before the season began. As Casey said, once a young QB jumps you, the writing is usually on the wall. Ogle and Rypien were suddenly in the same class year and he knew he wouldn’t have much of a chance to win the starting spot.
Overall Impact: On one hand, Ogle wasn’t expected to be a huge contributor for Boise State in my mind, so his loss was minimal in that regard. On the other hand, I did expect him to become a solid backup, which didn’t happen, and him transferring out began a revolving door at QB over the past four years. In that sense, I would say he failed to meet expectations.
With that, we have a wrap on the quarterbacks. Share your thoughts on Stuart and Ogle in the comment section and head over to OBNUG next Thursday where we will review the Running Backs.
Casey: 1 exceeded expectations, 1 failed to meet expectations
Mike: 1 met expectations, 1 failed to meet expectations.