Boise State will enter fall camp with a roster saturated in freshmen. In total, there will be 22 true freshmen and 21 redshirt freshmen when the Broncos begin the quest for another special season.
Of those 43 true and redshirt freshmen, there is quite a bit of exceptional talent. However, only a select few will be able to make a huge impact throughout fall practice.
Let's look at the list of contenders and those who just might raise eyebrows, drop jaws and cause all of Bronco Nation to stand up and cheer in anticipation.
Among the list of 43 freshmen contenders, there are a very large number of players capable of impacting fall camp in some way.
True freshman quarterback Ryan Finley will no doubt turn some heads this fall. However, with Joe Southwick set at starter and two talented backups on the roster, Finley probably won't impact fall practice in a big way.
True freshman running back Aaron Baltazar is another head turner. If he hits camp healthy, he is going to do some impressive things. But Baltazar is sitting in the same kind of position Finley is. There is a good starter at running back with Jay Ajayi, and from the look given at the spring game, there are also a couple of decent backups.
One of those backups at running back is redshirt freshman Charles Bertoli, who looked very impressive in a limited role during the spring game.
Baltazar could find himself in a position to burn a redshirt later in the season if injuries take hold, but that probably won't happen. He would have to do some unbelievable things in fall practice to find the field early in 2013.
Redshirt freshmen Travis Averill, Mario Yakoo and Steven Baggett are three big offensive linemen who could see a fair amount of playing time. However, as far as making a huge impact this fall, they probably won't do that. Still, they should bring a much-needed dose of consistency and depth to the O-line.
Sam McCaskill is a redshirt freshman defensive end who will be fighting for playing time among a seemingly thin defensive line after the departure of freshman All-American Sam Ukwuachu.
However, there are a number of players who could step up this fall, and the talent could be much thicker than some might think.
Another player who will be fighting for defensive playing time is a true freshman named Gabe Perez. Perez is similar in size to Ukwuachu at 6'5" and 210 pounds, but no one is claiming he is going to be as good. He is talented, however, so it should be interesting to see what he does in camp.
True freshman defensive end Kamalei Correa out of Honolulu, Hawaii looks impressive on film. How that translates is anyone's guess. But he could make some noise this fall.
True freshmen Dionza Blue, Jonathan Moxey and Cameron Hartsfield are going to be battling it out for playing time at cornerback. These three should add some excitement to an already competitive cornerback competition.
Other redshirt freshmen like running back Devan Demas, safety Chanceller James, linebacker Andrew Pint and nickel Christopher Santini will all be playing hard to impress. Any or all of them are capable, but with so much talent ahead of them, it is hard to believe any of them will see significant playing time.
It would take something out of the ordinary in camp to make them stand out.
Overall, the Broncos are loaded with freshman talent, but there are three that seem to stand out.
Chaz Anderson is a very good redshirt freshman cornerback. He showed that in the spring, and that should only continue into the fall.
As previously mentioned, the battle for cornerback should be a good one this fall for the Broncos. It will be highly competitive, and redshirt freshman Anderson should be right in the middle of it all.
Anderson has the potential to win a starting spot. To do so he will have to outplay a number of talented players. That pool gets even deeper when JUCO transfer Mercy Maston comes to town.
Some might think Maston will be the talk of the cornerback conversation this fall at Boise State. Don't count on it.
You just might just be hearing the name Anderson quite a bit.
Mat Boesen was a very talented tight end in high school. However, the Broncos have different plans for the true freshman out of West High School in Torrance, Calif.
They plan to utilize him at nickel.
Boesen was overlooked by recruiters for quite some time. But then again, Boise State has a way of finding those guys.
Just 15 months ago Boesen was unknown to many. In fact, 247Sports.com mentioned that very thing in an article written by Barton Simmons. In the article, Simmons listed Boesen as one of the best of the L.A. IMG seven-on-seven camp.
Simmons ranked Boesen eighth on a list of 10 outstanding performers, and he went on to say some very flattering things about the player. Simmons described Boesen as "another true sleeper." He would go on to say:
Boesen doesn't yet have a scholarship offer. In fact, the 6-4, 210-pound two-way player has almost no interest at all to date. That fact is shocking. He’s a big, athletic prospect at tight end that shows great strength, strong hands and good movement skills. With the ability to project to defensive end as well, Boesen is well overdue for his first offer. In fact, he may be overdue for his tenth offer.
Boise State found a hidden gem in Boesen. He is extremely athletic and strong. He was also a very good high school wrestler. Those skills should serve him well at nickel.
Boesen has all the ingredients to be a very special player for the Broncos. Look for him to turn some heads and drop some jaws this fall.
Many Boise State fans are excited to see Joe Martarano this fall. The true freshman linebacker is a local prospect out of Fruitland High School in Fruitland, Idaho
He has good size for a true freshman at 6'3" and 228 pounds. He is also very athletic, tough and a true leader on the field. Anyone who has seen him play at the high school level knows that.
Martarano was drafted in the 13th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. However, he chose the gridiron over the diamond, and he is set to compete for playing time this fall.
Look for Martarano to make a huge impact in practice this fall. Expect him to help elevate other linebackers on the roster, and don't be surprised if he finds the field early in the 2013 season.
He is a true competitor, and with his size and athletic ability, he has the recipe for a true freshman standout.