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.
This week is Part 3 of the series and will examine the wide receivers as well as the tight ends. Unlike the two last weeks, there was just one WR commit in the 2014 class. Also unlike the last two articles, this player will finish his career at Boise State. As for the TEs, it’s a mixed bag with one still on the team and one who was asked to leave.
Expectations When He Signed: You know I didn’t think much about Modster when we signed him, no disrespect to Mod. He seemed like a pretty middle-of-the-road receiver out of high school and would work out fine for the Broncos. With the likes of Matt Miller, Thomas Sperbeck and Chaz Anderson still on the team, I didn’t think he would come in and win any playing time.
2014: I expected him to red shirt and that is exactly what he did.
2015: With Sperbeck showing his worth last season, I fully expected Modster to operate as a back-up, or 3rd string even, and that’s exactly what he did. 3 receptions for 39 yards is good enough for a red shirt freshman receiver considering the depth and experience we had at receiver.
2016: With SWR graduated and basically an open starting role, Modster’s potential was kind of up in the air. It didn’t seem like any receiver wanted to be part of the Sperbeck/Anderson group to headline the receiving corps. It was this season that I felt Modster would/should have stepped up. With 8 receptions for 135 yards, he took a big step forward from his previous season. Richardson was the only other reasonably reliable target, but he too seemed to be a bit hesitant to step up. I expected more of a step forward than he took. It was the newcomer, Wilson, who took those reigns, though.
2017: Wilson was the start of the show in 2017, and everyone knew it. It took a little while, but Modster finally woke up halfway through the season, compiling 29 receptions for 272 yards and 3 touchdowns. Would I liked him to have been more aggressive? Sure, but more than once, Mod came up clutch and pulled out some big catches for us.
Overall Impact: His senior season has yet to happen, but I anticipate that Mod will step into his senior role and at least double his production. I would say he met my expectations, with a very slight lean to failed to meet simply because of that 2016 season. His 2017 season kept him in the met expectations realm.
Expectations When He Signed: One of the things I remember most about Modster is he was originally recruited and committed to the Coach Pete staff. When he was “re-offered” and “re-committed”, I saw it as a good move for the Broncos as any recruit was a good recruit. I vaguely remember him being billed as a speedy potential deep threat and basically thought he could be the WR to fill the Chris Potter/Mitch Burroughs type of role.
2014: The inevitable redshirt, which I thought was right on target for him.
2015: Going into this year, I thought he would see the field a bit and possibly haul in a few catches and maybe even see the endzone once. As Casey pointed out above, that’s pretty much what he did, minus the TD. Again, par for the course.
2016: Though Wilson and Sperbeck would dominate the field and account for the most catches, I thought this would be the year Modster fulfilled his Potter/Mitch role of being a jack of all trades role-player type of WR. However, from what I remember he seemed to frustrate more than excite. Though his numbers took a step forward, he didn’t quite match up to expectations.
2017: Modster earned a starting role, but it was still met with inconsistency. The second half of the year proved to be his best games as a Broncos. To me, he finally fulfilled his expectations of being a solid, if not spectacular, WR for Boise State. He won’t wow anyone but he proved he could catch a pass and be a fairly consistent possession type of WR who also could be featured in bubble screens and the like.
Overall Impact: Though his career in many ways has been marred by inconsistency, so was Mitch’s and that’s been my expectation level for him all along. I think he is primed for a senior campaign that matches the end of his junior year. WIth a bunch of young talent behind him, he won’t really have to be asked to do much more than that. So I’ll say he has met my expectations of him.
Expectations When He Signed: I didn’t have high expectations for Lucero as Blakley was the TE prize in this class. He had solid height, but did need to put on some weight in order to be an effective target at TE for the Broncos. With 2 TEs seemingly poised to graduate, Lucero seemed to eventually be in a good position to see some playing time.
2014: Definitely anticipated David to red shirt his first season considering the depth we had at the position as well as his need to put on some weight.
2015: 4 receptions for 63 yards wasn’t too bad for a backup, considering the rest of the talent we had on the field. He put on a bit of weight his red shirt season, but could have stood to add some more.
Early in 2016, though, David was arrested for misdemeanor battery and, after that arrest, was revealed to have been arrested in November 2015 for felony strangulation. He was removed from the team shortly after.
Overall Impact: Honestly, from a stats perspective, I would say he met expectation while he was here, but couple with his behavior, he greatly failed to meet expectations, hence why he was kicked off the team.
Expectations When He Signed: When he committed, it was a “who is this?” moment for me. However, I recall his rating on Scout to be pretty high, I believe he was a top 50 TE or something. He came from Nowhere, AZ and lived on a farm or ranch or something. He seemed to be a classic BSU diamond in the rough and I figured he could end up a pretty good player by the time he left as a senior.
2014: I expected him to redshirt, and guess what? He redshirted.
2015: The TE position was very deep that year, but somehow Lucero carved out a niche for himself midway through the year. Something about he impressed on scout team, so the coaches gave him a small package of plays and targeted him once or twice a game. It carried over to the field and he gave us a glimpse of what we all thought would be a good career… However, the offseason gave us a very dark awful incident and his career as a Bronco ended prematurely.
Overall Impact: If we are going by when he signed, the expectation wasn’t all that high to begin with. But after forcing his way onto the field his redshirt freshmen year only to get into a whole lot of off the field trouble, Lucero played with fans emotions and gave them a huge letdown. Therefore, I will say he failed to meet expectations.
Expectations When He Signed: Super high. He was one of the first, if not THE first, 4* tight end we signed and one of two 4* in this class, which hardly ever happened prior to this season. Coming in at 6’4 and 220lbs, he already had the size to be able to compete right away. Being a former UW commit was big too.
2014: The potential for Chase to play was there, but I didn’t expect him to. He ended up red shirting, which really was no surprise.
2015: This was the year that Chase comes onto the scene. Oh wait, he got injured. A torn achilles? Yikes… Out for the season.
2016: 2 receptions for 31 yards. Not exactly what you expect from a 4* TE, though he was coming off an injury and playing behind Jake Roh. This was also a notoriously light year for tight ends as far as production goes.
2017: The injury bug got him again mid-season. He had season ending surgery in October, finishing his junior season with 1 reception for 13 yards.
Overall Impact: Honestly, I have to say Chase has failed to meet expectations. I don’t want that to be the case, but without a stellar senior season and injury-free year, I don’t see how he can come around. Based on what I thought he would do and what he has done, he has a ways to go. Obviously not all his fault. The injury bug is the worst, and it always seems to get a couple players more than once, which is unfortunate.
Expectations When He Signed: Expectations were sky high. He was the big mystery recruit that was teased to be flipping for weeks. Then story came out. The TE coach at the time (recruiter extraordinaire Eli Drinkwitz) showed up at his house at 12:01 am, the very first minute of the recruiting period. That gesture won Blakley over and he flipped from Washington, in many ways personifying the hype around the team and this class at the time.
2014: I was a bit surprised he redshirted but viewed it as a luxury given the depth of the position and the chance for him to play a big role over the next four years.
2015: Blakley tore his achilles in fall camp and lost a big year of development.
2016: Achilles injuries often take another full year to get somewhat close back to pre-injury status, but reports of him being slow and not having good hands began to dim the once bright future he seemed to be destined for. Compounding the lack of production with a few dumb penalties and his first season on the field was memorable for the wrong reasons.
2017: This was another year mixed with injuries and a believe an unnecessary roughness penalty or two. For the most part, Blakley was a serviceable TE, good as a 3rd string type of guy and alledgley productive in the blocking aspect.
Overall Impact: Although Blakley has one more season (and potentially two if he applies for a medical waiver for an extra year of eligibility) left to make a jump, even if he does he won’t live up to the hype. He was thought to provide numerous years of productive at TE and now the hope is he can provide depth and stay healthy. Needless to say he has failed to meet expectations, both for reasons in and out of his control.
Casey: 2 exceeded expectations, 2 met expectations, 3 failed to meet expectations
Mike: 1 exceeded expectations, 2 met expectations, 4 failed to meet expectations.