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Revisiting the Boise State 2017 Class Part 8: Final Thoughts

NCAA Football: Boise State at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to a fun off-season series that Drew (of OBNUG), Zach, and Mike (both 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 2021 class was officially signed. Like every year, fans often tout a class as potentially one of the best on paper. 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 2017 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.

Anyway, each week, Drew, Zach, and Mike will look at a different position group from the class. While we will contribute two posts each week over the next month, the location of the posts will change. The start of the week will feature a post on OBNUG while the end of the week will see a post up on MWCConnection, that way readers of both sites can follow along. Each post will have all 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. The impact 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 2017 class had. It should be a fun and interesting study to see what kind of careers each player had and revisit some names that may have been forgotten.

The 2017 recruiting class is in some ways a bridge between the two stages of recruiting during the Harsin era. The first few classes (which we have reviewed the past few years) were somewhat top-heavy, meaning some talented headliners and then more unheralded prospects filling out the rest of the ranks. The final three classes were a noticeable step up, possessing star-power and the back half of the class could be categorized as a high-floor. The 2017 class is right in the middle of that progression, taking a step forward in both overall talent as well as top to bottom depth. In fact, it was a strong class on paper at the time, even if it was immediately overshadowed by the 2018 class. To hear our thoughts on specific players from the class, read below.

Welcome to Part Eight and the conclusion of our series revisiting the 2017 Recruiting class for Boise State. It’s been a fun ride, as always, remembering the thoughts of the class four years ago and looking back at names that had been forgotten the past few years. There are no more players to highlight, but today will look at the overall impressions and final thoughts of the 2017 class.

Running Totals:

Drew: 3 exceeded expectations, 4 met expectations, 13 failed to meet expectations

Zach: 2 exceeded expectations, 4 met expectations, 14 failed to meet expectations.

Mike: 2 exceeded expectations, 5 met expectations, 13 failed to meet expectations.

Drew Final Thoughts: Yowza. I FELT like this was a better class than it was. I mean, it wasn’t the “lost” 2011 class, but more hits than misses. And some of the guys are still here for their swan song, so perhaps they can take their “bonus year” and flip the script. That’d be a nice turn of events...but frankly, the ship may have sailed on a few as the depth chart gets more daunting to scale with each passing year. Hey, there was a time when we didn’t annually have the best class in the conference on paper but curb-stomped our conference foes...maybe high expectations are just something that more often than not lead to disappointment. Did I just discover some universal human truth?

Zach Final Thoughts: Outside of wide receiver and safety, this class was a massive let down. One of the most under recruited players (Kaniho) turned out to be the best player in the class. While the most sought after recruits failed to meet expectations. If this class would have lived up to its initial hype, the Broncos would be running away with Mountain West titles. But as I have learned since following recruiting, there always seems to be a recruiting cycle where there are more misses than hits. This class definitely had more misses.

Mike Final Thoughts: As I said in the intro, the 2017 looked like a step forward in recruiting for Boise State. They were able to secure more high profile recruits, at least on paper, and seemed to resort to less filler, at least on paper. That being said, it is also true that this class did not blossom much at all as the years went on. Looking back, many of the “sure things” were misses, and there weren’t as many moderate or surprise contributors to balance things out. A question that kept coming to mind while filling these out, what would the team have looked like if they had gotten any kind of meaning contributions from the group of: Chase Cord, Drake Beasley, Octavious Evans, Isaiah Moore, Aisa Kelemete, Breydon Boyd, or Jermani Brown? Of course the opposite is true, where would the program have been without meaningful contributions from CT Thomas, John Ojukwu, Ezekiel Noa, Kakula Kaniho, and Ty Jones. Even if some of these players didn’t become stars or even starters, would they have provided solid depth over the years? Enough to make a difference against SDSU and Fresno State in 2018? Enough to beat BYU and earn a NY6 bowl in 2019? Enough to weather injuries and covid outbreaks in 2020? Knowing what was to come in the next two recruiting classes, the 2017 class really needed to be a complimentary class and while some did, it is easy to see they could’ve used more at running back, offensive line, and linebacker.