I might not be Mike Wittman, but for the next two weeks I will look at the 2020 recruiting classes of each Mountain West school. I will break down their strengths, weaknesses, and look at some players that could make an immediate impact. With that being said, let’s take a look at the good, bad, and ugly recruiting classes of the Mountain Division.
While the Broncos did not have the recruiting class that they had in 2019, they were still clearly the top class in the Mountain West. This class was heavy in the trenches with Herbert Gums the star on the defensive line and Brandon Hernandez the star on the offensive line. It was clear from the start that this class would not have the “star power” of previous classes. Recruiting services generally have higher rankings for skill position players, and Boise State did not have a major need in this area. For the second straight year, the Broncos landed a four star safety in Semaji Verner who should be a candidate to play immediately. Also, keep an eye on local recruit Austin Bolt who has the size and skill set to make an immediate impact.
Perhaps the easiest way to put Boise State’s recruiting dominance into perspective is to look at points on 247 Sports. Boise State finished 27 points ahead of Colorado State who had the second highest recruiting class in the Mountain Division. Only eight points separated Colorado State at #2 and Utah State at #6.
For a program that is traditionally in the recruiting cellar, this class has the potential to change the reputation of a football program that needs a new identity. Danny Gonzales was the perfect hire for the Lobos: tough, defensive-minded coach with a track record of recruiting success. New Mexico was able to capitalize on some recruits that fell through the cracks or didn’t have great senior seasons. Running back Nathaniel Jones is the perfect example of that. He was a recruit with great offers after his junior year, but his recruitment cooled off during his senior season. Jones should see carries immediately and has the potential to be their feature back. Leke Asenuga will also make an immediate impact on the offensive line. Asenuga looked like he was going to Boise State or Memphis, but he waited to commit which opened the door for the Lobos. Asenuga could prove to be the steal of this class.
Air Force is never going to have a top recruiting class, and to be honest, their recruits are really hard to evaluate. With that being said, they have some studs in this class and were able to put together one of their best classes. Air Force prioritizes brains and toughness, and there is no shortage of that in this class. Blake Burris is easily the stud of this class; he has a chance to play right away at linebacker (which rarely happens at Air Force). Wesley Ndago brings size to an offensive line that is usually lacking in that department.
I was on the fence about this recruiting class, but then I remembered that you need to take a different approach when evaluating Wyoming’s recruiting classes. The fact that the Cowboys were able to out-recruit schools like Nevada, Utah State, and Fresno State is a testament to what Craig Bohl has done. The Cowboys were able to land a potential shutdown corner in Xavier Carter and a quarterback in Gavin Beerup that fits the Craig Bohl mold. Wyoming was able to put together a respectable class, despite the fact that Bohl is replacing the majority of his defensive staff.
I know this isn’t going to be a popular pick, but the one thing that Mike Bobo did well was recruit. This class was not as strong as past classes for the Rams. With that being said, I would give Addazio a bit of a pass this year. It is always hard for a new coach to put together a strong class, but this was definitely a step back over the past few years. On the surface, the Rams should be able to give the Broncos a run for their money in terms of recruiting. They have the nicest stadium in the conference and have excellent facilities.
Defensive tackle James Mitchell should be able to make an immediate impact. He has the size and speed to be a run stopping force. I’d expect him to crack the two-deep and make an immediate impact. I really like athlete Kyjuan Herndon as well. He’s small, but very explosive in space.
For a program that returned its head coach and has the reputation of having an electric offense, I expected better. Maybe it was the late departure of offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, or maybe it was a down year in 2019. But, the fact that the Aggies have the lowest rated class in the Mountain Division should be concerning. With that being said, the Aggies did land some offensive talent that should be able to make an immediate impact. John Gentry is a running back that had offers from Utah and Arkansas and could play as a true freshman. Junior college transfer Justin McGriff could step in and be the number one receiver right away. He has elite size and fills a major area of need for the Aggies.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Stay tuned for next week’s edition that will review the recruiting classes in the West Division.