Welcome to the first piece of our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim 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 team recruiting rankings. Today looks at Boise State.
1st in the MWCConnection Recruiting Rankings
The 2019 season went about as well as it could have for the Broncos. Well, three points away from as well as it could have anyway. But 12 wins going into the bowl game, starting the year with a win over a Power 5 team on the road, undefeated in the Mountain West for the first time ever, true freshman playing key roles and other players developing on both sides of the ball and there is a lot to be excited about heading into the future. Especially when this was considered a transition year for Boise State.
Boise State is losing all of its defensive line and the majority of its offensive line, along with key members of their secondary and wide receiver groups. While the recruiting class of 2019 focused more on skills players, the 2020 class was thought to do most of its work in the trenches. The Broncos like to take a quarterback each class and will likely need two given all the attrition. Same with running back. Linebacker and safety were also spots that needed to be replenished in this class. To see how they’ve done so far, look below.
The Road So Far:
It was always going to be hard for Boise State to top the 2019 class, which was one of the best Group of 5 classes ever. They didn’t, and to some degree, it was to be expected that they wouldn’t. As stated above, this class was focused less on skill players and more on players on either side of the line. In the Harsin era, those are positions that haven’t produced many four-stars.
Boise State’s primary recruiting states are California and Texas, and this class is no difference (7 and 2 players respectively). They have specifically found quite a few of their wide receivers in Texas over the past few years (and again this year). They secured two from Washington, as they continue to try to establish a Pacific Northwest pipeline. The Broncos have made progress in Hawaii over the years and get another commit from the Islands. Like usual, they secured a top in-state recruit; not like usual, they did find a commit in the midwest (Minnesota).
Offensively, the commits are made up of WR, OL, and TE. Russell Corrigan is the Minnesota recruit who loves to block and has made strides in the receiving game. He is joined at TE by Austin Bolt, who is the do-it-all local athlete with the cool name. They secured some solid OL recruits in interior Nathan Cardona, Brandon Hernandez, who looks like a future fixture on the line, and Riden Leong, who should help out immediately at tackle. The one WR who signed, LaTrell Caples, is an impressive player who is talented and explosive and is potentially one of the best recruits in the conference.
On the defensive side of the ball, four new players join the defensive line, and another five come into the secondary. JUCO DE Shane Irwin will help offset losing all four starters. Herbert Gums could challenge for playing time immediately on the interior, and Robert Cooper should develop into a contributor before too long. The secondary looks filled with playmakers, led by Semaj Verner and Donovan Clark. Isaiah Bradford’s season was cut short due to injury but has talent, and Kaonohi Kaniho will join his brother and carry on the legacy.
Number who signed in December: 15
Number who will enroll early: 1
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: QB, RB, WR, LB
Boise State needed to bring in reinforcements in the trenches, and that’s precisely what they did. It’s a nice blend of immediate depth on each side with the two junior college recruits, impressive talent who can compete for playing time right away (maybe less so on the OL, as it’s tough to play that position as a true freshman), as well as players who project to develop well. The skill players on each side of the ball are all talented, with many passing up Power 5 offers to play for the Broncos. However, Harsin said their class is “about half done,” so they intend to do more work by February.
Now Boise State must turn their attention to figuring out how to fill out their depth at quarterback and linebacker, two spots where their roster is the thinnest. They will likely look for a junior college or grad transfer QB, and they’ve had success the past two times they used that route. A high school QB will probably be taken as well, but an older one should be coming regardless. Also, linebacker could be another spot they dip into the junior college ranks, but it would make sense to see one or two high school players taken too. Wide receiver and running back are spots Boise State tends to add players each year, and although depth is currently good at these spots, they will likely look to add these positions as well.
Offers they hand out over and after the dead period will be something to keep an eye on. There are still some boxes for the Broncos to check off in this 2020 recruiting class, but most of the top priorities have been figured out. Look for Boise State to finish strong coming out of the dead period and put the finishing touches on this class.
Coming tomorrow: Wyoming