As National Signing Day nears, schools across the country are hoping that enough was done throughout the recruiting process to persuade members of the Class of 2013 to sign a letter of intent.
Some schools, such as Oregon, may have a more difficult time than previously thought with the coaching carousel still spinning, albeit slowly. Others, such as Alabama, appear to have their ducks in a row, and February 6th is a day that can’t come soon enough.
For a school such as Boise State, 2013 is a year to continue building upon the success that the school has experienced since Chris Petersen took over as head coach. The Broncos will have to replace quite a bit on both sides of the ball heading into next season, and while it is unlikely that many true freshmen will start right away for Petersen, it is unwise to completely count anything out.
Regardless of what roles the members of the Class of 2013 hold this coming season, here are the four biggest priorities for the Broncos heading into National Signing Day.
Tercek, a three-star center as rated by Scout.com, is perhaps the most coveted recruit in the Class of 2013 for Boise State. The highest-rated at his position of any Boise State recruit that has verbally committed, Tercek could very well play as early as his sophomore year since both Matt Paradis and Spencer Gerke will graduate after the 2013 season.
Tercek hasn’t made any moves to suggest that he may go against his verbal commitment, but anyone who follows recruiting closely knows that those types of things happen quite frequently. Considering the importance that Tercek may be to the team in a couple of years, it is imperative that the Broncos can call him a signed member of the Class of 2013 as early as possible before he has a chance to second-guess his decision.
Offensive linemen aren’t the most glamorous presents that a school can receive on National Signing Day, but they are an integral part to building a consistent winner. Boise State understands this, and it is unlikely that the Broncos will have much of an issue locking down Tercek.
In recent years, Boise State has been fortunate enough to have very talented running backs gaining huge chunks of yards for the Broncos, making things much easier on the quarterbacks. Although Jay Ajayi and Jack Fields are the likely candidates to replace D.J. Harper in 2013, a Class of 2013 commit could be the face of the future in Boise.
At 5’11’’, 198 pounds, Aaron Baltazar isn’t big but fits the mold as a quick back that should be able to find weak spots once he hits the secondary against Mountain West defenses. The son of a former Marine, Baltazar was once a Washington commit but decided to de-commit and instead verbally commit to the Broncos after being treated “like a rock star” when visiting the campus.
If Baltazar was treated so nicely during his visit, clearly this is a young man whom the coaching staff thinks has potential. In fact, some suggest that if Baltazar signs with the Broncos, there is the chance that he could push Ajayi and Fields for playing time this coming season.
Unless something changes between now and National Signing Day, Baltazar would be Boise State’s best offensive skill position signee.
The Broncos already have verbal commitments from several defensive players with junior college experience, including defensive tackles Justin Taimatuia and Tutulepeata Mataele as well as cornerbacks Mercy Maston and Cleshawn Page. But it would be nice if Boise State could get signatures from a couple more junior college standouts that have not already verbally committed.
One player in particular that would be a nice addition to the Class of 2013 is nose tackle Demetrius Campbell, a 6’3", 290-pound sophomore. According to Scout.com, the Broncos are one of eight schools on the list that Campbell has an interest in attending. Campbell’s size alone makes him an attractive recruit for the Broncos.
The junior college signees could prove to be very important to Boise State as early as this coming season because the Broncos have to replace so many pieces on defense. Particularly at the cornerback position, the junior college players that sign could see significant playing time in 2013. Thus, these players are a priority for the now rather than the future.
Getting Fruitland High outside linebacker Joe Martarano won’t be the hard part for Boise State. Getting him to choose college football over a potentially lucrative MLB contract will.
Martarano is a talented three-sport athlete who has the chance to play at a high level in both football and baseball. Although the high school senior verbally committed to play football at Boise State in the summer of 2011, there is some concern that Martarano may choose baseball. He is considered a potential first-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft.
According to an article from the Idaho Statesman, Martarano simply wants to play whatever sport he chooses at the highest level. An athlete of his caliber definitely could develop into a pro football prospect at Boise State, and recent draft picks from the school likely make that easier to envision. But the money could speak volumes if Martarano indeed gets drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft.
The goal for the Broncos is to find the balance between persuasion and the common good of the young man. Obviously, Boise State fans would love to have Martarano for the next four years, and he would likely be a great addition to the team. But if his heart is with baseball, it could be an extremely tough sell and perhaps a mistake to push him in the wrong direction.