Boise State Football: Rating the Wide Receivers
Kellen Moore was renowned for his accuracy and the way he spread the ball around. Of course, to do that, there has to be a good pair of hands on the other end of the pass and receivers that run tight patterns and break at the right moment so when they turn the ball is there. Boise State has had numerous wide receivers that garnered the national spotlight. Two from the 2010 team are plying their skills in the NFL: Titus Young with Detroit and Austin Pettis with St. Louis.
In the 2011 season, 17 receivers played in eight or more games and caught passes. Ten of those receivers caught more than 10 passes from Chris Potter’s 11 receptions to Tyler Shoemaker’s 62 catches. Nine different receivers caught touchdown passes. Shoemaker is gone, as are Kyle Efaw and Doug Martin, but there are some solid receivers coming back to 2012.
While there is still a battle for the starting quarterback spot, it might be a good time to look at the receiving corps and who may be the favorite targets of Boise State’s aerial attack.
1. Matt Miller: Red-Shirt Sophomore WR
Matt Miller had a terrific 2011 season with 62 catches for 679 yards and nine touchdowns. He garnered postseason accolades as well, being named to the FWAA Freshman All-American first team and the Yahoo Sports Freshman All-American Second Team. He set BSU single-season freshman records in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
So what do you do for an encore? Simple: post bigger numbers in 2012. Miller has the size to be a powerful force in the offensive scheme. His freshman season, though, will make him a marked target for defenses in the upcoming season, so Miller will have to find a way to take it to another level.
2. Gabe Linehan: Red-Shirt Junior TE
Gabe Linehan was a key ingredient in 2011 and was one of the Broncos' primary tight ends. He caught 23 passes for 252 yards and five touchdowns last season and will be the leader of the tight-end brigade in 2012. Linehan could well be one of the mainstays of the Bronco offensive line as well but will have his work cut out for him in the season opener against Michigan State.
3. Mitch Burroughs: Red-Shirt Senior WR
Mitch Burroughs is a bit undersized for a wide receiver, but what he lacks in stature he makes up for in tenaciousness. In 2011, Burroughs was third on the team with 49 receptions and 500 yards receiving, though he only had one touchdown catch. Burroughs was also the Broncos’ top punt returner in 2011 and was ranked nationally at No. 8, averaging 13.3 yards per return.
His added value is carrying the football on end-arounds, and in the previous campaign, he had 17 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Burroughs is the all-purpose kind of guy and could figure into the Bronco offensive scheme in a big way.
4. D.J. Harper: 6th-Year Senior RB
As a sixth-year senior, D.J. Harper is carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders. He has played backup to both Ian Johnson and Doug Martin, so Harper knows what is demanded from the running back position. Certainly, that means carrying the pigskin and blocking, but it also means receiving.
In the past season, Harper had 19 catches out of the backfield for 140 yards and a touchdown. If the Bronco offense is not totally revamped to play off the strengths of the new starting quarterback (whoever that may be), then Harper will certainly find himself on the back end of passes.
5. Kirby Moore: Red-Shirt Junior WR
Though overshadowed by his older brother, Kirby Moore saw action in all 13 games in 2011, hauling in 22 catches for 247 yards and a touchdown. On several occasions, Moore showed great hands and body positioning to haul in passes and could be a great possession receiver for the Broncos. With Kellen gone, Moore will have to step it up a notch to distinguish himself from the pack of wideouts if he wants more touches on the pigskin in the 2012.
6. Geraldo Boldewijn: Red-Shirt Junior WR
Geraldo Boldewijn hauls in a pass in the Idaho Press-Tribune photo.
Going into the 2011 campaign, Geraldo Boldewijn was supposed to be the Broncos' fast deep threat in the wide receivers. Some controversy about eligibility had him sidelined for the first three games of 2011, and he didn't seem to get to that place where he was that threat the rest of the way. He ended up with 11 catches for 160 yards, and only found the end-zone twice. If the Bronco coaching staff perceived him as the deep threat, then he certainly must have the skills to be just that; now all he has to do is prove that he can do it.