Boise State Football: 5 Key Checkpoints for the Broncos Before the 2013 Season
Boise State football is no longer just a seasonal affair for many fans. As soon as bowl games are done there are a series of events that a growing number of Bronco Nation faithful pay close attention to.
As the fanbase and fervor continue to grow, so does the interest in once-overlooked dates on the calendar. The 2013 calendar is certainly no exception. There are several important, exciting and intriguing events that will keep Bronco Nation entertained until the opening kickoff.
Let's look at five of those such events, what they might look like and what fans of Boise State can expect.
February 6, 2013: Letter of Intent Day
Boise State fans can mark this date down on their calendar as a historic day in Boise State history. On paper, at least, the Broncos are poised to sign their best recruiting class ever.
Both are 4-star recruits, according to ESPN.com, and both could have an immediate impact. However, anyone who knows anything about college football knows it is very hard for a true freshman to move the dial. Still, these two should be interesting.
Quarterback Ryan Finley out of Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Ariz., is another great talent set to sign, and there are several others.
When you look at the overall projected recruiting class for Boise State in 2013, it should be the best the Broncos have ever had on paper. Will they become the best on the field?
Only time will tell, but you have to believe all of Bronco Nation will be fixed on the signatures of future Broncos come February 6.
April: Spring Game 2013
Spring practice is great for Bronco fans, but the spring game is the payoff for the faithful.
Last season another large crowd lined up for their chance at seeing their squad during a serious rebuilding project. Of course, much of the anticipation in 2012 was who would replace Kellen Moore, and many fans were there to see all of the options.
In 2013, however, the question will be who will challenge Joe Southwick for the starting job. The way Southwick finished off 2012, it may be hard for anyone to overcome him, but it should be fun to watch.
Junior college transfer running back Derrick Thomas is one that fans might be keeping their eyes on at the spring contest this year. He has already signed with the Broncos, and he could be a contributor in the fall.
Boise will need additional running backs as D.J. Harper and Drew Wright will not be around. Jay Ajayi should be the starter with Jack Fields or another as his backup. It will be interesting to see if Thomas can be that guy. He definitely has the talent to step up.
April 25, 2013: NFL Draft
Last year Boise State had their biggest year ever in the NFL draft. Overall, in 2012 the Broncos had six draft picks, which included two first-rounders in Shea McClellin (Chicago Bears, No.19) and Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 31).
In 2013, Boise State will not see nearly as much love on draft day, but they should still have a few guys in contention. Actually, there are probably as many as five or more in contention. However, it may be that only one or two make the list.
The highest draft pick in 2013 should probably be cornerback Jamar Taylor. He is projected by NFLDraftscout.com as being a second- or third-round pick. They also see Jerrell Gavins as a possible seventh-round pick.
Other players that might get a chance late or at least as free agents are offensive lineman Joe Kellogg, linebacker J.C. Percy and, even though he suffered a season-ending knee injury, defensive juggernaut Michael Atkinson.
D.J. Harper could also get a look, and Boise State fans would love to see him continue his remarkable story.
There may be a few surprises as well, but it won't be the event it was in 2012. However, it will still be exciting for Bronco fans to see a few of their beloved players make the big time.
July 1, 2013: The Opening of the New Football Complex
Boise State has shown its steadfast commitment to its players, coaches, students, alumni and fans with continued improvement to its facilities and stadium. With the indoor practice facility, stadium expansion and improvements and the Stueckle Sky Center, there has been much work done.
However, the new football complex takes it another notch higher.
Due to open July 1, 2013, the new Boise State Football Complex will be a sight to see. According to BoiseStateFootball.com, the new structure will be 70,000 square feet with coaches' offices, position meeting rooms, an academic and computer lab, a weight room, state-of-the-art locker room, a training facility and player and recruiting lounges.
It will be another shining moment in Boise State history and another proud achievement for a program and a university where the sky seems to be the limit.
August: First Day of Fall Camp 2013
Early August in Boise means hot summer sun and the opening of fall camp for the Broncos. By the time practice starts, many fans are ready for the games to begin. However, coaches certainly want and need the dog days of summer to get their teams together.
In 2013 the Broncos should be bringing in a very good recruiting class along with several key returning players. It will be the job of head coach Chris Petersen to get the team working together and becoming one cohesive unit.
Offensive coordinator Robert Prince will be in his second season, and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with.
In 2012, Prince found more success as his players got better and the season progressed. It culminated with a final game against Washington that proved that he is the man for the job.
In fall camp 2013, look for Prince and Petersen to have far more to work with and continuity to boot. It should be an exciting camp, and all of Bronco Nation is hoping it transfers over to an incredible season.