Boise State Football: Ranking the 10 Best Offensive Weapons for the Broncos
In 2012, Boise State entered the college football season with an uncertain rebuilt offense that struggled early. Strides were made, however, and even with the loss of a few starters, the Broncos are in great shape on offense as the 2013 season approaches.
This year's squad is loaded with talent, and that starts with a quarterback who has much more confidence and who finished last season strong. The 2013 campaign will also see the return of sophomore running back sensation Jay Ajayi.
Ajayi averaged 6.7 yards per carry in 2012 as D.J. Harper's backup and gave Boise fans something to cheer about and look forward to. But he won't be the only weapon the Broncos carry in their arsenal.
Let's look at 10 such weapons and see how they rank among a talent-heavy Boise State offense in 2013.
No. 10: Holden Huff
Some might think if a tight end was going to make this list it would have to be Gabe Linehan. However, as unfortunate as it is for the talented player out of Banks, Ore., he has fought an injury bug since his sophomore season.
Holden Huff, on the other hand, did an outstanding job last year in what was his redshirt freshman season. He stayed healthy and proved to be a decent weapon in all 13 of the Broncos' games.
On the season, Huff caught 17 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns. He finished the season with a good game against the Washington Huskies in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The Boise State offense is one that requires a lot from a tight end, and as a freshman, Huff appeared to have a good grasp on it all. That bodes well for his sophomore follow-up.
In saying all of that, however, if Gabe Linehan is healthy, Huff may be fighting for playing time. Either way, the Broncos should be solid at tight end in 2013.
No. 9: Dallas Burroughs
It is no secret that Dallas Burroughs is fast. But with the lack of an accurate deep ball in 2012, Burroughs wasn't adequately utilized.
Expect that to change in 2013.
Burroughs should be a deep threat when the Broncos take the field this fall. Last season, he had just four receptions, and that was down from his freshman season when he grabbed nine catches during the season.
With his speed, ability to get open and quarterback Joe Southwick's increased accuracy, you can expect Dallas Burrough's numbers to multiply in 2013.
No. 8: Grant Hedrick
Grant Hedrick is the backup quarterback for the Broncos, but that doesn't keep him off of this list.
Hedrick doesn't just stand on the sidelines with his hat on backward carrying a clipboard and making strange gestures that are supposedly "sideline signals." No, instead, Hedrick does find his way into the game on occasion to run an option or Wildcat.
When he does play, Hedrick can make some incredible plays. Last season, he threw the ball 17 times for 12 completions for a total of 116 yards. He also scrambled and rushed for an addition 32 yards, and three of those were touchdowns.
The one drawback for Hedrick is that on occasion he seems to try too hard, and that can lead to turnovers.
Hedrick looked very good in the spring game this year, but again, he did make a key mistake when he threw right at a defensive player who quickly intercepted the ball.
If Hedrick does what he can do and doesn't try to do too much, he is going to be in a good place to add depth to the Broncos offense.
No. 7: Aaron Burks
In 2012, Aaron Burks stepped up his game. That should only continue in 2013 as he steps out onto The Blue for his senior season.
Last year, Burks played in every game and started twice. He caught 17 passes for 319 yards but only a single touchdown.
Look for every one of those totals to go up as he is poised to elevate his game.
No. 6: Geraldo Boldewijn
Wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn must be excited about 2013 for a couple of reasons. First, it is his senior season, and he no doubt wants to finish strong.
The second reason he might be excited is because he seems to be on track to be able to play in the first games of the season in 2013. That hasn't happened the last two seasons due to some issues with his high school host family and improper benefits.
Boldewijn is a very talented wide receiver. He has good hands, decent speed and knows how to slither through traffic to get open. He looked good in spring camp, and he may be poised for a breakout season.
In 2013, fans and foes alike should get used to hearing Boldewijn's name being announced quite a bit.
No. 5: Kirby Moore
Senior wide receiver Kirby Moore makes the top five on this list. He has decent size and playmaking ability.
Last season, Moore was second on the team in receptions and receiving yards with 36 grabs for 368 yards but only a single touchdown.
In his senior season, you can expect much more from Moore. Not only should his catches and yards go up, but you can expect him to find the end zone on several occasions.
No. 4: Shane Williams-Rhodes
Is he a running back who can play receiver? Is he a receiver who is an exceptional return guy? Is he a return guy who can play running back?
The answer is yes.
Shane Williams-Rhodes is listed officially as wide receiver on the Broncos' roster. But no matter what position they put him at, Williams-Rhodes is possibly the most exciting player to watch on this list.
His ability to cut on a dime and make defenders look downright silly has made Williams-Rhodes a fan favorite. SWR, Shake-n-Bake, the Tasmanian Devil, no matter what nickname you give him, he is lightning in a very small package.
At just 5'6" and 158 pounds, this undersized sophomore from Spring, Texas has sprung onto The Blue in a giant way.
Look for SWR to do big things in 2013.
No. 3: Matt Miller
Wide receiver Matt Miller proved in 2012 that his 2011 freshman campaign was no fluke.
In 2012, Miller led the Broncos with 66 receptions and 769 yards. He also had five touchdowns.
Still, it had to be frustrating for Miller, who probably could have done even more had the offense been clicking earlier in the season.
Miller should once again lead the Broncos receivers in 2013, but he will probably have even more competition from a very good veteran receiving corps.
No. 2: Jay Ajayi
Jay Ajayi is a powerful running back. So much so, he should probably change his name to Juggernaut.
Ajayi's overwhelming ability to advance through a wall of defenders is truly impressive.
Proof of this is the fact that in 2012 as the backup to D.J. Harper, Ajayi carried the ball 82 times for 548 yards. That's an average of 6.7 yards per carry.
That is an incredible statistic when you think about it. Every time Ajayi touched the ball, the Broncos moved the line of scrimmage an average of 6.7 yards.
Too bad he doesn't have a twin brother.
The Broncos did go out and recruit a junior college transfer that is similar to Ajayi in size and ability.
JUCO transfer Derrick Thomas is an inch shorter than Ajayi and eight pounds lighter. He looked good in the spring game, and if he pans out, the Broncos are going to have a great rushing attack.
Even with just Ajayi, however, Boise State will be in good hands. It's too early for Derrick Thomas to make this list, but Jay Ajayi certainly belongs.
Some might even argue he belongs at No. 1.
No. 1: Joe Southwick
The Joe Southwick story is well documented and well known throughout Bronco Nation. Some fans are still skeptical of him, while others have embraced his role fully as the Broncos quarterback.
He started 2012 a bit rough but finished in fine fashion.
In the final four games of last season, Joe Southwick completed just over 71 percent of his passes for 888 yards. In that same span, he threw nine touchdowns, no interceptions and scrambled for 73 additional yards.
It was a much more confident and mobile Southwick compared to the one who had started the season.
The Broncos beat Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl to finish the year, and Joe Southwick was a big reason why they won that game.
Southwick looked even more confident this spring, and his role as leader seems to have been embraced by him and his entire team.
The 2013 college football season is pregnant with potential for Boise State.
With Joe Southwick leading the way and a quiver full of offensive weapons at his disposal, the Broncos offense is in position to put up some big numbers.
It could be a special season for all of Bronco Nation.