It may only be a few months since 2013's national signing day, but that doesn’t mean it's too early for college football teams to start thinking about who they should pursue for the class of 2014. For teams such as Boise State, which has improved in Rivals.com’s team recruiting rankings over the past few years but is still in the middle of the pack nationally, this is a particularly difficult process.
Almost every blue-chip recruit considers the big boys like Alabama, Oklahoma and Southern California. But the pool of players is considerably smaller for the Boise State Broncos, who may be fishing primarily in Idaho and other states where Chris Petersen has a recruiting pipeline.
In other words, the Broncos are not yet to the point where the school name and tradition speaks for itself. The coaching staff still has to do the majority of the work.
Boise State has done a remarkable job at getting the best out of its players. One could argue that it isn’t worth speculating about the Broncos’ recruits, because Coach Petersen will get the best out of almost anyone he brings to the program.
However, there are still several targets that the Broncos should pursue for the class of 2014. The following list will take a look at those players.
The criterion for this list was pretty broad. Some things, such as a player’s proximity to the school and the team’s need at a position in coming years, played a huge part in the selection process. Other things, such as rating and a player’s physical tools, had a lesser impact.
Let’s take a look at five players that the Broncos must pursue for the class of 2014.
To say that Kaleb McGary is head and shoulders above his high school competition would be an understatement, as well as just a bad pun.
The offensive tackle from Fife High School in Tacoma, Washington stands at a monstrous 6’9” and is a respectable 270 pounds.
When you talk about a 6’9” recruit, you’re usually doing it for a different sport. But McGary has a bright future on the gridiron wherever he ends up going.
The Broncos would be smart to pursue McGary for a number of reasons. The obvious one is his size; he would have the ability to put on more weight in college, and the Broncos aren’t usually in the running for the tallest linemen. But McGary listed Boise State as one of the schools that he’d like to play for.
Another reason McGary is a good recruit to focus on is the fact that the Broncos will be looking to replace several holes in the offensive line over the next couple of years. Four of Boise State’s probable starters on that unit for 2013 are upperclassmen.
Lastly, McGary has kept quiet on any favorites he may have, so it appears as though he is fair game for any school in the country. As a Washington native, Boise State seems to have as good a chance as any school pursuing the 4-star tackle.
According to Rivals.com, the Broncos have offered McGary a scholarship.
Hopefully, they continue to pursue him.
Brown isn’t necessarily a hot commodity. The 6’2”, 170-pound wide receiver is just an average 3-star recruit according to Rivals.com.
But what is particularly attractive about the junior from Fontana, California is that he will come as a package deal to whatever school he decides to attend.
Brown’s cousin Devon Blackmon, a class of 2011 recruit who went to Oregon before transferring, will also attend whatever school that Erik chooses.
Blackmon transferred to Riverside Community College following the 2012 season but would like to continue his playing career at a Division I school.
Luckily for the Broncos, the coaching staff has a bit of a connection to Riverside. Class of 2013 recruit Tyler Rausa attended the school during his freshman year before transferring to Boise State to compete for the starting kicking job this season.
Brown is by no means a bad player, but the attractiveness of heavily recruiting him is that even if he doesn’t pan out as the Broncos would hope, getting Blackmon is a potential saving grace for the work done to secure Brown. Blackmon was fairly highly recruited coming out of high school and is a very versatile player.
The Broncos may have trouble competing for the cousins if USC ends up offering Brown a scholarship, but until then, Boise State should pursue him.
Alex Weber may not be planning on playing major Division I college football. As proof, here is a list of some of the schools that he is currently considering according to Rivals.com: Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Holy Cross, Penn and Yale.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Broncos shouldn't try to pursue the Chiawana High School prospect out of Pasco, Washington.
Weber is an outside linebacker, which means that his smarts could be a valuable weapon for the Broncos’ defense. One day he could end up being a leader for the defense if his football mind is as sharp as his academic mind.
In addition, his physical specs are that of a major Division I football player. At 6’2” and 226 pounds with a 4.6-second 40-yard dash, it is a wonder that more schools aren’t pursuing Weber.
This might be the case of a kid who really is more interested in pursuing a top-notch education than trying to make a name for himself on the gridiron. In that case, the big boys of college football should wish him the best and move on.
But until that sentiment has been spoken by Weber himself, Boise State should continue to let him know that it's interested in his services.
Bigger schools haven’t shown much interest in the tight end from Coeur d’Alene High School up to this point, but it is time that Boise State shows some love to a top recruit from its own state.
Blakley is the No. 8 tight end in the class of 2014 according to Rivals.com, but he has only received offers from Eastern Washington, Idaho, Idaho State and Washington.
This is a bit of a surprise, although it is common for bigger schools to wait awhile before actively pursuing a recruit, especially if he isn’t one of the top five at his position.
Time may be running out for the Broncos to sit around and wait, however, because at the end of April, Oklahoma reportedly took steps to strengthen the relationship with Blakley.
Once the bigger schools start to come around, Boise State may have trouble getting its foot in the door with recruits such as Blakley. That would be a shame, since a top-10 recruit at a position is basically in the Broncos’ back yard.
One of the keys to improving the recruiting efforts of a school is to lock down the home state. Getting Blakley interested in the Broncos is one of the ways Boise State can work on doing just that.
Of the five players included in this list, Jalen Greene is the only one that has verbally committed to play for the Broncos.
But as college football fans that follow the recruiting process know all too well, a verbal commitment isn’t worth all that much these days.
Greene, who is the definition of a dual-threat quarterback (he passed for over 2,400 yards and ran for over 1,000 during his junior season), is kind of like a Joe Southwick on steroids. He has the speed to be a talent like Colin Kaepernick, yet he insists that he's a pass-first quarterback.
Greene’s words are consistent with the type of quarterback that Coach Petersen normally recruits.
However, because of his ability to escape trouble with his feet, Greene might have the most upside of any quarterback that Boise State has ever recruited.
Green will definitely have a lot of competition at Boise State once he sets foot on campus next January, as Nick Patti will be an upperclassman in 2014 and class of 2013 recruit Ryan Finley will probably be in the mix. Like Greene, both were highly regarded recruits coming out of high school and could be in good position to take over the starting role once Southwick is gone.
But even though Greene appears to be a sure thing as a class of 2014 signee for the Broncos, measures still need to be taken to make sure he doesn’t find another offer more attractive. (Currently, Boise State is the only team to make him an offer.)
This is one recruit Boise State does not want to lose.