Each week leading up to Spring ball, I will be previewing various positions for the Boise State football team heading into the 2019 season. This week, I will be focusing on the battle everyone will have their eyes on: quarterback. The Broncos are as deep as they have ever been at the position and have some intriguing options heading into the season.
Jaylon Henderson, Redshirt Senior
Henderson is an intriguing option if Chase Cord is not healthy enough to go (see below). Henderson is an above average runner. However, his accuracy and arm strength are uncertain. Henderson hardly saw the field last season, attempting only one pass. He started his career at UTSA, before going the Junior College route.
I think Henderson has always been viewed as a third string quarterback who is there to provide depth. That will likely continue to be the case next season, but who knows? Maybe Henderson will shock Bronco Nation.
Odds of starting: Less than 5%
Chase Cord, Redshirt Sophomore
Chase was a consensus, three star recruit coming out of Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Arizona. I can say with complete confidence that he likely would have been a four star quarterback if he played in Texas or California. Chase had offers from nearly every Mountain West school and a handful of Power Five programs like Baylor, Utah, Illinois, Iowa State, Colorado, Indiana, and Oregon State. In his 2015 high school season, Cord had over 3000 yards passing and 1000 yards rushing.
Cord saw limited action before tearing his ACL in practice. A full recovery is expected, but his injury has certainly opened the race more than most expected. However, in that limited action, Cord showed his dynamic running ability and arm strength. The major questions Cord will face will be his accuracy and explosiveness following the surgery. I think Chase is still the favorite to start week one against Florida State. He has the perfect mixture of speed and arm strength that fits a Zak Hill offense. The question is, will that speed be the same after the surgery? This also isn’t Cord’s first ACL injury.
Odds of starting: 50%
Riley Smith, Redshirt Freshman
Smith might be the biggest unknown in this race, which is interesting considering he has been in the program for a year now. Smith was never a starting quarterback in high school, as he shared the job with a top 50 prospect that ended up at Auburn. Smith certainly has the size and speed to be a division one quarterback, but his arm strength and accuracy are uncertain. Smith was also a late add to the 2018 class; he signed with the Broncos in February after longtime Bronco commit and current BYU starter, Zach Wilson, ended up at BYU.
While Smith has not had the chance to prove himself in a game yet, I did have the chance to watch him in the fall scrimmage. I was impressed with his touch on the ball. It appeared as if he had adequate arm strength, but it was hard to take much away from a few drives in a scrimmage.
Odds of starting: 10%
Hank Bachmeier, True Freshman
Bachmeier arrived in Boise last week and is entering the program with sky high expectations. Hank is the highest rated quarterback to ever sign with the Broncos and is expected to compete for the spot day one. He had an epic career at Murrieta Valley High School in Southern California where he set the state record for touchdown passes. Breaking any California record is impressive, considering the quality of high school football in the state. Hank had a prolific high school career where he consistently threw for over 3000 yards and ran for over 500 yards.
Bachmeier had offers from the who’s who of college football programs. He turned down offers from Georgia, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington State, among many others. He also had offers from nearly every Ivy League program which is a testament to his maturity and intelligence. Hank will have a chance to prove himself this spring when he will likely receive plenty of first team snaps.
Odds of starting: 30%
Kaiden Bennett, True Freshman
Like most people who follow the Broncos, I was shocked when Bennett committed. Kaiden is a legitimate, division one prospect who played at one of the best high school football programs in the United States, Folsom High School. Bennett’s high school stats are nothing short of astounding; he accounted for more than 5,000 yards of total offense and won plenty of awards along the way. Bennett’s recruitment was interesting to say the least; most people thought he would end up in Utah, even after he committed to the Broncos.
Bennett, like Bachmeier is enrolling early and will look to compete for the starting job as a true freshman. Unlike Bachmeier, Bennett played with plenty of other division one talent at Folsom High. Kaiden has plenty of Kyler Murray in him, and I expect him to give Cord and Bachmeier a run for their money.
Odds of starting: 10%
Part of this race feels eerily similar to 2015 when Brett Rypien lost the job to Ryan Finley. But this year is even more intriguing, in my opinion. Boise State has four quarterbacks in the program right now that would start for most Mountain West teams. It is a good problem to have, but it also could create a bigger problem in the long run as we learned with Rypien. If a freshman wins the job, will it lead to a mass exodus of transfers? I believe that the coaches will give the job to the most deserving guy, and I think that guy will likely be Chase Cord. However, I do think Bachmeier will throw a wrench in this, and the coaches will have a hard time redshirting him. It would not surprise me at all if the Broncos play two quarterbacks this year like we saw in Georgia this season.
It will be a fun race to watch. Next week I will feature a deep, yet unproven, unit in the running backs.