Welcome to a fun off-season series that Michael, Hunter (both of FKWG), 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 2023 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 2019 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, the four of us 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 FKWG 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 2019 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 2019 recruiting class was arguably the best in Boise State history and one of the best classes by a Group of 5 school ever. It was flooded with four-stars and other highly-rated players and seemed poised to make a big impact on the field for the Broncos. It definitely raised the ceiling for what the coaching staff could do on the recruiting trail. Perhaps more importantly, this class raised the floor for BSU recruiting as well, as not many players would be labeled as projects or under-the-radar types. But how has it translated on the field? To hear our thoughts on specific players from the class, read below.
Part 6: Defensive Line
Looking at the other side of the trenches, the defensive line mixed two exterior players with one interior player. One of them was highly rated, a second came from a high school the Broncos have recruited heavily in recent years, and the third came from the our neighbors to the north.
Expectations when he signed: Medium. He didn’t have eye-popping stats in high school, but he had the build and the athleticism to be molded into something. He came to Boise State as a three-star recruit.
2019 Season: Redshirt year
2020 Season: Transfer portal
2021 Season: N/A
2022 Season: N/A
Overall Impact: I can’t even say “Swing and miss!” because it wasn’t a huge swing. More like “Half-hearted bunt and a miss!”. Despite going to a JC and then getting to Arizona State–seemingly failing up a bit–his time at Boise State can’t possibly be described as a success. Much less, meeting expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Moderate. There certainly weren’t star expectations placed on him, but he had a nice offer sheet and was (and I assume still is) 6’5, so there was room for hope too.
2019 Season: Redshirt season.
2020 Season: Hit the portal before the season, went the JUCO route, and eventually ended up at Arizona State.
Overall Impact: Obviously none here. Glad he’s got a good new spot for him, but failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Hall looked like the next great pass rusher. I had very high hopes considering his size and skill set. I expected Hall to be an immediate contributor and have an excellent career.
2019 Season: Redshirted
2020 Season: Entered the transfer portal after fall camp.
2021 Season: Played at Antelope Valley College.
2022 Season: Saw limited action at Arizona State.
Overall Impact: This one was an epic miss. Hall had lofty expectations that he has not lived up to. For that reason, he has failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Dylan looked like a great piece in this class. He possessed fantastic size to match his ability on tape. I thought he would develop into a very good pass-rusher during his time with the Broncos, although I didn’t expect much meaningful production until around his third season.
2019 Season: Hall redshirted, which wasn’t too big of a surprise.
2020 Season: In September of 2020, he announced that he would be transferring.
2021 Season: N/A
2022 Season: N/A
Overall Impact: Dylan went to junior college and then ended up at Arizona State. He saw the field last year, but didn’t do much in terms of stats. With Boise State, he failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Low-Medium. He seemed like a productive high school defensive tackle that was large and capable of becoming larger in a college program. He came in with three stars next to his name.
2019 Season: Redshirt year.
2020 Season: He got into every game, but didn’t record any stats.
2021 Season: He played in nine games, starting one. He had 12 total tackles. The most he had in a single game was when he had five vs Air Force.
2022 Season: Increased his games played to 11, but still only had one start. In those 11 games played, he had six tackles and one QB hurry.
Overall Impact: He’s honestly pretty much right on schedule in my eyes. He’s a defensive tackle, so stats aren’t as easy to accumulate, but it’s clear he’s a valued member of the defense and the team. He’s gathered a lot of experience in his time here so far and could make a push to get more consistent playing time in the void left by Scott Matlock. Time will tell. In the interim: Met expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Probably moderate. I’ve always been mystified about where I see Ivy League offers, (it seems like they offer half our guys), but Michael chose us over them and a couple conference foes.
2019 Season: Redshirt season, but got his first playing time against BYU.
2020 Season: Make appearances in the carousel of defensive line rotation for all 7 games.
2021 Season: 12 tackles in 9 appearances, and one start! Nearly half of his tackles came in that one start against Air Force, which I applaud him for because it’s much better than if a safety gets a tackle. (Those are usually 20 yards downfield.)
2022 Season: He did appear in a career-high 11 games, although saw a dip in his actual numbers. I don’t know if that really means too much, but he finished with 6 tackles and a QB hurry.
Overall Impact: The goal is for guys to get on the field. Michael didn’t have huge expectations on his shoulders, but he’s been there when we needed him. That’s a “met expectations” for me. I should also mention the Ivy League offers make sense now, as Michael has been cleaning up in the academic awards category.
Expectations when he signed: Callahan was one of the more under-the-radar recruits in this class. After watching tape, I thought he seemed like a rotational player who could carve out a role on special teams.
2019 Season: Redshirted
2020 Season: Saw a surprising amount of playing time thanks to COVID and a multitude of injuries on the defensive line.
2021 Season: Played in nine of twelve games and seemed to carve out a role as a reserve tackle.
2022 Season: Saw action in eleven of twelve games. He was once again relegated to a reserve role behind some talented defensive lineman.
Overall Impact: As I stated earlier, I expected Callahan to carve out a role as a reserve. He has done that and made an impact in a handful of games. For that reason, he has met expectations.
Expectations when he signed: This signing didn’t exactly blow me away, likely compared to the higher-profile recruits in this class. I liked how he continued the pipeline from Yorba Linda and figured he’d be a contributor at some point in his career.
2019 Season: He redshirted but played in one game.
2020 Season: Michael got in seven games, which counted as a full season in he covid year. But it did not seem like he recorded any stats.
2021 Season: In a full season, Callahan played in nine games, including one start against Air Force. He seemed up to the challenge, picking up 12 tackles, with five coming in his start.
2022 Season: He once again played in the majority of the games (11) and made one start for the second year in a row. This time around, his production dipped a bit, totalling six tackles.
Overall Impact: While Michael has mostly been a reserve in his time so far, he may step into a bigger role in 2023 with the attrition they have had on the defensive line. He has done well when called upon and I’m comfortable saying he has met expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Oh, man. Do I have to?? *sigh*...fiiiiine! High expectations. He was expected to be a sleeper in the class, but I expected even more from him. I thought he had the chance to be the next great sack-master EDGE from Boise State. Let’s see how that went…
2019 Season: Redshirt
2020 Season: Humble beginnings. He played in 6 (of 7) games, had 12 tackles (4.5 for loss), and three sacks. It was definitely a promising start to his career.
2021 Season: In 11 games, he had 36 tackles (seven for loss), six sacks, and even a forced fumble! Essentially doubled his stats from the previous year. A very promising trajectory.
2022 Season: Then, things got weird. Initially, he moved to linebacker in camp to try and utilize his athleticism at spot that was uncertain. However, he was unable to win a starting job at that spot either, so he moved back to EDGE for the actual season and didn’t have as much success there to start as in previous seasons. He played in six games where he had ten tackles, one sack, and one tackle for a loss. And then…he announced on Twitter that he was entering the transfer portal, along with a bunch his highlights,just a few hours before kickoff vs Colorado State. It was kind of bizarre. Where things got straight up disappointing, however, was when he ended up following Kelly Poppinga to *shudder*...BYU .
Overall Impact: All the sacks in the world wouldn’t have assuaged the disappointment of him going to that place, but Bagnah only had ten. Massively failed to meet expectations…but did succeed in breaking my heart a little bit.
Expectations when he signed: Pretty high. It’s probably because I had Michael in my ear, but the Alberta native had great tape and was thought to be the sleeper of the class.
2019 Season: Redshirt season.
2020 Season: 6 appearances and 2 starts against Hawaii and USU. Started to heat up.
2021 Season: Appeared in all 12 games, making 6 starts. Had multi-sack games against UCF and Nevada and forced a fumble in that glorious win at BYU. The latter detail is funny because I checked the BYU page while researching his stats, and they actually single out that detail, which I appreciate.
2022 Season: George Tarlas beat him out for the starting edge spot, and that lowered his minutes some. I want to say he was hurt a bit as well? He plays D-line so probably. Worse, he hit the portal right before George got hurt, putting us in a bit of a sticky situation at EDGE. He then followed sleeper agent Kelly Poppinga to BYU.
Overall Impact: He was and is extremely talented. He wasn’t always consistent, but had big impacts in quite a few games. If I average it all out, “met expectations” is fair I think.
Expectations when he signed: I knew little to nothing about Bagnah before he stepped foot on campus. It was clear that he would need some time in the weight room before he would be ready to make an impact on the field.
2019 Season: Redshirted
2020 Season: Bagnah had an eye-opening campaign. He played a significant role and even tallie three sacks.
2021 Season: Bagnah emerged as arguably the best pass rusher on a team that struggled to get to the quarterback. He finished with six sacks and seemed poised for a huge year in 2022.
2022 Season: Bagnah failed to win the starting job after being moved to linebacker. He did not see a ton of action early in the season and decided to enter the transfer portal.
Overall Impact: It was a disappointing ending to what could have been a special career. It stings a little more considering that Bagnah transferred to BYU of all places. However, Bagnah did not have huge expectations so I am going to with met expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Bagnah came to Boise State out of Canada. The Broncos have done really well with Canadian players over the years and although I figured they found another under-the-radar steal, I saw Isaiah as a project who might make an impact in the second half of his football career.
2019 Season: He redshirted, so right on schedule.
2020 Season: Isaiah surprised me by appearing in six game, including two starts. He got in on the action too, putting up 12 tackles and 3 sacks. It seemed like the Broncos got a steal with this player.
2021 Season: Bagnah continued to impress, playing in every game and starting half of them. His production increased with the extra playing time, tallying 36 tackles, 7 for loss, and 6 sacks. He was one of, if not the, best pass-rusher on the team.
2022 Season: This past season represented a change of course for Isaiah. Maybe he was hurt, maybe he got passed over. But in his six games, he only managed 10 tackles and 1 sack. He then decided to leave the team in November with the intent to enter the transfer portal.
Overall Impact: Bagnah will play next season at BYU. All in all, it seemed like Boise State got a lot of value from him in his seasons in the program. Although he transferred before finishing his career, I think he actually exceeded my expectations.
Michael: 2 exceeded expectations, 2 met expectations, 10 failed to meet expectations
Hunter: 0 exceeded expectations, 4 met expectations, 10 failed to meet expectations
Zach: 0 exceeded expectations, 4 met expectations, 10 failed to meet expectations.
Mike: 1 exceeded expectations, 4 met expectations, 9 failed to meet expectations.