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2020 Recruiting Breakdown: Boise State

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A solid blend of star power and a strong supporting cast.

NCAA Football: Boise State at UNLV Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Kicking off our 2020 Recruiting Breakdown series is the number one team in our MWC rankings, Boise State.

Once again, Boise State comes in at number one in our rankings. Some readers may claim bias, but the Broncos have recruited at a P5 level for years and do so again, basically bringing in a PAC-12 caliber secondary in this class. Though they take a step back from their historic class of 2019, their 2020 class has some star power balanced by many complementary pieces that filled their needs. The Bronco class checks in at #65 in the 247 composite rankings, which is better than the likes of Virginia Tech, Illinois, Memphis, Houston, and UCF. Read more about their class below.

The Skinny:

  • 20 recruits signed
  • 9 offensive, 11 defensive
  • 2 were listed as 4-stars by at least one recruiting site.
  • 19 others listed at 3-stars by the 247 composite rankings.
  • Breakdown by state: 9 California, 3 Texas, 2 Hawaii, 2 Washington, 1 Idaho, 1 Minnesota, 1 North Carolina, 1 Florida
  • 65 in the 247 Composite Rankings

The Players:

QB Cade Fennegan

Cade is coming off a mission, but he enjoyed an extremely productive high school career. He appears very comfortable on smooth on film, with a natural throwing motion and a powerful arm. Fennegan is pretty mobile and throws on the run well, but can rely on it a bit much at times. He appears to have command of the offense and makes good decisions. Cade still has some development to do and will need to shake off the rust, but it’s clear he can play at the college level.

WR LaTrell Caples

Caples is one of the best offensive recruits among all the MWC signees this season. He is a very well-rounded receiver, making plays in both the short and long passing game. In his quick play routes, Latrell uses quickness and shiftiness to move well in space and make defenders miss with ease. On longer routes, he displays good hands and advanced route-running skills. Caples has the talent to play right away.

WR Cole Wright

Cole was a late find in this recruiting class, but still a talented one. He tape shows a very polished wide receiver who gets yards after the catch and is capable of busting a big play at any moment. Wright combines efficient route-running with his agility to create separation and make defenders miss. He is at his best in the slot coming over the middle of the field, where he can turn a short catch into a big play. Cole will likely redshirt but will find a role in a receiver room shortly after that.

TE Russell Corrigan

Russell is a nice tight end recruit who specializes in blocking but still appears to be able to develop into a pass-catcher as well. As his tape shows, he was the focal point of his offense in high school, lining up as a wild-cat QB. Corrigan has the size and strength to match his vision and quick burst as he shoots through an opening. His strength, vision, and ability to get into a low position will serve him quite well as a blocker at the next level. If Russell can continue to develop his route-running and knowledge of a college offense, he should have no issues at the next level.

TE Austin Bolt

Austin is an exceptional athlete, which he displayed by playing multiple positions on both sides of the ball in high school. His film shows breakaway speed, the ability to break tackles or slip defenders with ease, and playmaking ability in the open field. Defensively, Bolt tracks the ball well and stays in position well to tackle with a low center of gravity. He will be playing a tight-end/H-back role in college and will need to work on his blocking, something he was not asked to do in high school. Austin can be used in a variety of ways at the next level and will be a major weapon on offense.

OL Brandon Hernandez

Brandon is a tremendous offensive line recruit. He’s a mauler as a tackle, repeatedly pancaking opponents on his blocks. Hernandez does a good job getting power from the lower half of his body and moves his feet well. He has good vision to pick up blockers when on offense and was athletic enough to be a disrupter on the defensive line as well. Brandon has the potential to be a college left tackle and has enough talent to anchor an offensive line in the future.

OL Nathan Cardona

Nathan appears to excel in run-blocking. Viewing his tape, he consistently finds multiple defenders to block every play and gets to the second level to turn good runs into big runs. Cardona stays extremely low and has a quick burst off the snap to catch defenders off balance and gain the upper hand. He is athletic enough and has a high enough football IQ to be utilized as a pulling guard and can handle man or zone blocking schemes. Nathan is a really nice find and can solidify a line during his college career to make that position a real strength.

OL Kyle Juergens

Kyle is an offensive lineman with great size and length. He looks very technical on film, keeping a low center of gravity and exploding out of his stance to immediately get a block on a defender. Juergens is skilled at moving laterally as well as backward, which bodes well for pass protection. He should be able to stay at tackle and can add weight to his frame. That means Kyle will likely redshirt next year, but he is a recruit with a lot of upside if he fulfills his potential.

JUCO OL Riden Leong

Riden comes from the junior college ranks, so his first prominent trait is experience at a higher level than some other recruits. He brings huge size to the line but still moves well, shuffling his feet laterally in pass protection. One thing that stands out on film for Leong is how he sticks to blocks and finishes each play. He isn’t afraid to get involved in the run game and can overpower defenders pretty easily. Riden can improve his vision at the D1 level but has the talent to step into a role by next fall.

DL Robert Cooper

The first thing that jumps out watching Cooper’s tape is he has absolutely no issue getting into the backfield. He is quick off the snap and, at times, simply overpowers would-be blockers. Robert also displays a nice burst of speed once he is free in space and wraps up well. He appears to project well as a three-technique tackle and could develop into a pretty good interior pass-rusher. Cooper will likely redshirt next fall but would it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him in a game or two to see how his skills are translating to the college level.

DL Herbert Gums

Herbert is downright menacing as a defensive lineman. He has a great combination of power and speed, displaying athleticism with nice awareness on the field. Gums appears to be a natural pass rusher, getting into the backfield with ease and chasing down quarterbacks. As a rusher, he isn’t just pure strength, and he shows a variety of moves on his highlight film. Herbert is talented enough to see the field right away in some kind of role, and he just may do that next fall.

JUCO DT Divine Obichere

Obichere comes from the junior college realms, so he brings experience to this d-line class. He is quick off the line of scrimmage and finds an extra gear once he is free of blockers. Divine also displays a strong ability to stop the run, as he uses his lower body to push blockers back and reset the line of scrimmage. He is consistently putting himself in a position to be around the ball and make a play. Obichere is capable of playing either inside or outside on the line, but figures to find a home at an interior position next fall.

JUCO DE Shane Irwin

The first thing that jumps out on Shane’s tape is he is relentless off the line of scrimmage. He gets into the backfield with little issue using plus speed for a defensive end. Irwin also gets off blocks well to factor in as a helper in the shutting down the run game. His build and ability make him a natural fit for a defensive end or STUD; either way, he should become a primary pass rusher. Shane is someone who could come to Boise State and start right away next season, given his combination of talent and experience at the JC level.

Grad Transfer LB Brock Miller

Brock comes to Boise State after being a starter at NC State the past few years. He is a mature and well-rounded linebacker who should fit in well thanks to his keen ability to tackle as well as being able to play in multiple spots on the defense. Miller can read plays well, hold his own in coverage, and blitz when called upon. This is all in addition to his best skill, stopping the run. Brock will get immediate playing time and likely have a productive final season.

DB Donovan Clark

First of all, Donovan has incredible size and length for a cornerback, which is where he is projected to play in college. He sees the field well and tracks the ball in the air skillfully to make a play. Clark also brings a physical presence to the position, using his size to bump receivers off of their routes and closes the gap to tackle with force. He is athletic and fast enough to make an impact in the return game as well. Donovan has the talent to see the field right away but is also recovering from an injury, so a redshirt is likely.

DB Kaonohi Kaniho

Kaonohi is one of the top recruits to come out of Hawaii this year. He is an athletic ballhawk at corner, high-pointing the ball well in the air. Kaniho sees the field with great vision, puts himself in position as the play develops to make a stop, and tackles with exceptional form. His football IQ is evident, and it makes up for any physical shortcomings. Kaonohi will join his brother at Boise State and should develop into a solid starter down the line.

DB Isaiah Bradford

Isaiah was the first commit in this 2020 class for Boise State. The first thing that stands out on his tape is how well he flies to the ball, using great closing speed paired with great tackling form. Bradford is just as capable of defending the passing game, where he gets good inside position to block receivers from the ball. His ability to diagnose plays allows him to play fast on the field. Isaiah is also recovering from an injury, and there is a chance he may even gray-shirt but should contribute whenever he is healthy enough to see the field.

DB Semaj Verner

Semaj was an excellent get for the Broncos in this class. He is long and athletic for the safety position, allowing them to add another potential impact player at that spot for the second year in a row. Verner played both corner and safety in high school, and at both spots, he covers a lot of ground and sticks to defenders well. He tackles with physicality in the run game, and his athleticism and football intelligence should allow him to be a versatile weapon in future defensive schemes. Semaj has the talent to play from day one and should develop into a multi-year starter at some point.

DB Rodney Robinson

Rodney was a signing day surprise back in December, but make no mistake, the talent is there. He gets the most out of his smaller stature, using his quickness and athletic ability to be in position to make plays on the ball in the secondary. Robinson tracks the ball well as a high safety and makes quick cuts to evade blockers in order to still help out in the run game. He is also physical in coverage and doesn’t back down from bigger receivers. Rodney could slot into the nickel type position in the Boise State defense or else become a smaller safety similar to Deandre Pierce.

JUCO DB Jonathan Earl

Jonathan is an older recruit, being delayed even getting to JUCO ball, and after time there finally getting to the D1 level. He is extremely versatile, capable of playing offense as well as any position in the secondary. Earl covers a lot of ground thanks to his long strides and great closing speed. He also plays tight in coverage while maintaining a play on the ball. Jonathan still has a redshirt year available, so the Broncos may take advantage of that, but they brought him in to make an impact on the field.

Team Writer Thoughts:

Zach: There were two major areas of need in this class: offensive line and defensive line. The Broncos addressed both of those needs in a big way. Leong will have a chance to start on the offensive line, and Obichere will have the same opportunity on the defensive line. Gums might be the best prospect in this class, but the interior line is loaded for the Broncos heading into the 2020 season. Verner should be able to crack the two-deep at safety and be a key contributor on special teams. It is really hard to play as a true freshman at tight end. The Broncos run some complicated schemes, but Bolt is a different kind of player and should see the field immediately.

Quick Hits:

Headliner(s):

Mike: Caples, Gums, Clark, Verner

Zach: Caples, Gums, Hernandez, Verner

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Caples, Gums, Clark, Verner, Bolt

Zach: Caples, Gums, Verner, Bolt, Leong

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Kaniho

Zach: Clark (Injury will likely keep him out next year)

Best units:

Mike: Defensive backs, defensive line.

Zach: Defensive backs, defensive line, offensive line

Summary:

As seen above, the Broncos found the right blend of top talent who will push for playing time right away to go along with many solid players who can develop behind their current starters. They added more junior college and transfer talent in this class than they have in most other years under Coach Harsin, which isn’t ideal but appears to be a one time deal. Still, they met all their biggest needs in this class, which were offensive and defensive line along with the secondary. Their current depth allowed them not to feel pressured to add much at running back or linebacker this cycle. 2020 was more of the same for Boise State recruiting, which is to say above the rest of the conference.

Coming tomorrow: UNLV