Bronco Recruiting: 2004 Predictions

In college athletics, you're only as good as your next recruiting class. The scholarship limit of 85 players means that teams must carefully manage their recruiting focus.<br><br>This is a speculative look at what is coming back next season, (as of right now), for the Broncos, and what the departures will mean we can expect come February of 2004.

Assuming that the current speculation on # of scholarships to shop is accurate, the Broncos have in the neighborhood of 21 to shop.  Given that number, and looking at the current status of the returning team, along with the focus that we have been able to piece together from the recruits we've heard of, this is a 'best guess' of where the Broncos are focusing their recruiting as of November 29, 2003.  

Key:   Incumbent Starter
           Key Contributor
           Squad Member 
           Redshirted Last Season
           Injured, (Missed most or all of season)

Position Number/Name 04-05 Class Experience/Expectation
Quarterback #2 Michael Sanford RS-Senior Sanford should push for the starting spot with Zabransky.
  #5 Jared Zabransky RS-Soph This years #2.  The early favorite to replace RD.
  #4 Legedu Naanee RS-Soph Hasn't seen much time at QB.  Could move to another position by Spring Ball.
  #19 Taylor Tharp RS-Fresh Wildcard.  Has looked very impressive.  Needs to bulk up.  Could sneak into #2 spot.
Recruiting Needs It is always necessary to take at least 1 QB with each class.  It is a given that the Broncos will get at least 1 signal caller.
Likely # of recruits: 1
Running Back #24 Donny Heck RS-Senior This years #2.  Will start the year at #1.  Question is, will he finish as #1?
  #17 Lee Marks RS-Junior Former CB who switched sides of the ball.  Great speed and good vision.  Very small, but good instincts, very shifty.  Has suddenly become a factor in the Bronco backfield.
  #22 Jeff Carpenter RS-Junior Mop up duty last 2 years.  Has looked very good when he gets his chance.  Will get serious consideration for #2
  #8 Antwaun Carter RS-Junior JC-RS.  Interesting mix of speed and power.  What that means on the field..??
  #23 Quinton Jones RS-Soph. Looks to be moved back to RB.  Could be anything from #1 RB to a WR.  Too talented/fast to not be on the field somewhere.
  #35 Brett Denton Soph. Squad.  Most likely will not see the field much.
  #33 Jon Helmandollar RS-Fresh Greyshirted.  Strongest of the RB's.  Could push for immediate playing time as #2 or #3.
  #25 Calvin McCarty RS-Fresh Fast, stout RB who tore up Canadian HS ranks.  Got serious recruiting looks before walking on here.  Will push Helmandollar for early rotation.
Recruiting Needs Most likely scenario has us taking at least 1 RB.  RB's are a dime a dozen in recruiting because often HS's will put their best athletes at RB.  Look for the Broncos to sign 2 or more HS-RB's who project out on the defensive side of the ball.
Likely # of recruits: 1
Fullback #40 Brian Decker RS-Junior Redshirted.  Honorable mention FB at JC.  Likely a backup.
  #34 Brad Lau RS-Soph The heir apparent.  Good size, incredible strength (team best 420lb Bench Press), good speed.  Will own this position for the next 3 years.
  #31 Michael Lose RS-Fresh Walk-on with good credentials.  Stout and strong.  Almost a carbon copy of Lau.  Likely #2.
Recruiting Needs Lose looks like a good backup to Lau, but Decker is doubtful to see the field much except for special teams.  Look for the Broncos to bring in another FB from the HS ranks, and possibly from a JC for instant depth.
Likely # of recruits: 1
Wide Receiver #89 TJ Acree RS-Senior Likely Starter.  Good but not blazing speed.  Smart player.
  #88 Tony McPherson RS-Senior Likely Starter. Best blocking WR.  Will see the field much more.
  #9 Lawrence Bady Senior Likely starter.  Has the speed to be deep threat.  Great hands as well.
  #15 Mark Onibokun Senior All the talent but hasn't put it together yet.  Should get more playing time in 04.
  #20 Brett Ralph Junior Same as Onibokun.  Injuries hampered him as a Soph.  Should see much more field time.
  #84 Chrisean Christopher RS-Junior Rumored to be the most outstanding WR during summer of 03.  Redshirted due to depth.  Likely to see a lot of playing time.
  #41 Jarret Horn Senior Squad.  Most likely won't get into the playing rotation.
  #36 Jason Murray RS-Junior Squad  Not likely to see much field with all the depth in front of him
  #11 Drisan James RS-Soph Played the most of the Underclassmen, but still was inconsistent.  Tons of talent, now needs to learn how to play at collegiate level.
  #45 Jovan Hutchinson RS-Soph Squad.  Injured during spring ball 03, likely lost all momentum he had gained for playing.  Not likely to see the field much, but was named the "player to watch" by the graduating class, so look for Jovan to be the surprise break out player in 04.
  #1 Tyler Matheson RS-Fresh Tall WR at 6'4.  Said to have soft hands.  Good possession receiver who could see the field.
Recruiting Needs The Broncos are way top heavy with WR's.  We need a class of 2-3 WR's to make up for the all the losses coming with 4 Seniors and 4 Juniors.  Broncos went the JC route heavy to make up for losses at WR.  Look for them to build at the HS level for the future.
Likely # of recruits: 3
Tight End #80 Andy Weldon RS-Senior Played sparingly in 03.  Has good size.  Should complement Schouman well.  Probable #2.
  #91 Derek Schouman Soph Started as a True Freshman.  Likely has starting position sewn up for next 3 years.  Great hands, good size, incredibly fast for a TE.  A true weapon.
  #86 Sherm Blaser Soph Played sparingly in 03.  Likely to remain a Receiving Specialist
  #38 Cory Larsen RS-Soph Lost a year of eligibility transferring to Boise State from Oregon.  A big TE with lots of upside.  Could push for playing time immediately
  #39 Ryan Putnam RS-Fresh Greyshirt.  Blocking TE.  Combines good size and strength.
Recruiting Needs The Broncos are loaded with young TE's.  However, having 3 in 1 class is a little troubling.  That is a lot of depth to lose at one time.  Look for the Broncos to take a TE this class and to possibly try to get another to Greyshirt ala Putnam.
Likely # of Recruits: 1
Oline - Tackle # 61Rusty Colburn RS-Senior Returning starter.  Big, agile, strong, and a nasty streak.  Plays hurt and likes to hit.  Great motor.  Sometimes lacks focus. 
  #73 Daryn Colledge RS-Junior Returning starter.  NFL material.  Was the #13 ranked NFL Tackle Prospect, (Now #32) and only the 2nd listed as a Soph.  (I confirmed that it is Daryn and not Rusty they meant in this ranking.)  Very fast, very strong, very big, (Gets docked in scouts eyes because he's listed as 6'5 278lbs which they equate to 6'4 270lbs, I spoke with his Mom, and she puts him now at 6'6) with lots of room on frame to add size.  Played only 1 year of football at his HS in North Pole AK.  Has NFL agents salivating... but is committed to staying all 4 years for the Broncos.  Will be a Boise State Hall of Famer before he's done.  
  #72 Tony Volponi RS-Soph Squad.  Not much experience, but said to be very talented, good size and strength.
OLine - Guard #70 Michael Ansel RS-Senior Returning starter. 
  #59 Kellen Wright RS-Soph Injured this year.  Was also injured last.  Seems snakebit.  Was #1 backup before injury
  #71 Ryan Keating RS-Soph Big player with great resume'.  Should compete for starting spot.
OLine - Center #65 Klayton Adams Senior Backup C this season.  Should battle for starting spot.
  #50 Joe Wiegand RS-Soph Rumored to be frontrunner for starting spot in 03 before car accident over summer.  Rehabbed most of summer and fall.  Came back to be on practice squad.  Should be fully healed and battle for starting spot.
OLine - Others #64 Drew Kishpaugh RS-Senior Squad.  Smallish career backup who has a shot at seeing the field in last season.
  #63 Derek Kishpaugh RS-Senior Squad.  Has jumped around from OL to TE and back.  Smallish but could see some time.
  #77 Kevin Worack RS-Soph Probable Tackle.  Outstanding HS Tackle, still adjusting to speed of D1 ball.  Behemoth at 6'7 300+lbs.
  #62 Tad Miller RS-Fresh Probable Tackle.  Outstanding prospect.  Very strong and quick.  Could compete for serious time immediately.
  #76 Pete Cavender RS-Fresh Probable Guard.  Very strong, very smart.  The better of the twins, but just barely.  Rumored to be a lock for splitting time, and could see lots of quality time.
  #79 Jeff Cavender RS-Fresh Probable Guard.  Very strong, very smart.  will push brother for quality time.  Could also see time as long snapper.
Recruiting Needs Linemen are like money, you can never have enough.  Every year you lose a Lineman to injury, (Kellen Wright this year, Rusty Colburn last).  And, even though the Broncos took 7 OLinemen 2 seasons ago, and 3 last year, look for the Broncos to take at least 3 OLinemen again..
Likely # of Recruits: 3  (With 1 current Verbal; Andrew Woodruff)
DLine - DT's #99 Alex Guerrero Junior The Lone truly experienced returning scholarship DT.  Can also line up at DE.  Great pass rusher, and good strength. 
  #57 Andrew Browning RS-Soph Walk-on who probably deserves a scholarship.  Undersized, but gets great leverage.  Surprisingly effective as a pass-rusher.
  # 93 Jeff Beiderman Soph Lone true freshman recruit to play.  Injured leg caused him to miss many games.  Good strength and size.
  #75 Dan Gore RS-Fresh The lone scholarship recruit to come from the regular signing period.  Great size and strength.  Will push for playing time.
  #53 Russell Wiersma RS-Fresh Idaho boy walk-on.  Great size and strength.  State champ wrestler.  Could play right away.
  #58 Ian Smart RS-Fresh Late recruit.  Coming off injury to elbow.  Before injury was VERY good.  If injury doesn't hamper, should be in playing rotation early.
  #98 Erik Brunken RS-Fresh A little undersized, if he can bulk up could play right away, otherwise will need another year to bulk and lift.
DLine - DE's #92 Julius Roberts RS-Senior Finally reached potential as a Jr.  2 year starter.  Very fast off the corner.  Should have a big year.
  #97 Maurice Sapp RS-Senior Career backup.  Could see more playing time.
  #96 Mike Williams RS-Soph Started entire RSFR season.  Big and strong, very good against rush.  Needs to work on pass-rushing technique.  Will be VERY good before he graduates.
  #74 Mike Dominguez RS-Soph Broken wrist kept him from playing as much as coaches wanted.  Will factor into rotation heavily and should see almost as much field time as the starters.  Also is likely starter at long-snapper.
  #72 Dustin Crea RS-Fresh Idaho boy walk-on.  Good size and speed.  Was a scout team POTW.  Could factor into rotation.
  #?? Kyle Peterson RS-Fresh Idaho boy walk-on.  Good size and speed.  Was a scout team POTW.  Could factor into rotation.
Recruiting Needs The Bronco Dline has been an area of concern for a couple years.  There has been a lot of losses from players leaving or being kicked off.  Rather than go JC's, (mostly because there weren't any), the Broncos brought in Freshmen and will build on them.  The DT position is pretty deep and young, but the Broncos need DE's.  They tried to bring in 1 last season late, but his grades didn't work.  Look for 2 HS'rs at least, and a possible JC. 
Likely # of Recruits: 3 (With 1 current verbal; Nick Schlekeway)
Linebacker #40 Andy Avalos RS-Senior Incumbent Starter.  Led team in tackles 02-03.  Big-time hitter
  #95 Tim Hefty RS-Senior Has played quality minutes for 2nd team.  Looks very good, should become more of a factor with loss of Travis Burgher and injury to Jared Hunter.
  #55 Chris Barrios RS-Junior Is the backup MLB behind Hall.  Not much of a drop-off between the 2.  Quality backup who would start most other places.
  #38 Ben Chuckovich RS-Junior Special Teams whiz who has seen some 2nd team duty.  Could push for more playing time.
  #25 Korey Hall RS-Soph Outstanding MLB.  Big time hitter with great wheels and instincts.  Will own the spot for as long as he is at Boise State.  Should be a lock for WAC Freshman of the year.
  #49 Jared Hunter RS-Soph Was a given to take over for Travis Burgher, but a very nasty injury, (Broken leg) has put that on hold.  If he can rehab and make it back to full strength, the position is most likely his.  
  #51 Colt Brooks RS-Soph Local Walk-on.  Has gotten in on special teams.  Will have to work to get playing time.
  #56 Josh Bean RS-Fresh Redshirt Canadian recruit.  Good size, great speed.  Should push Hefty and Hunter for Burgher's spot.
  #54 Michael Altieri RS-Fresh Former HS option QB.  Undersized but very fast.  With the Altieri name comes a lot of expectations.  Where he fits in hasn't yet been determined, but with his bloodline he will see the field a lot before he is done.
  #59 Brock Drake RS-Fresh Local Walk-on.  Could see the field some on special teams.  Will have to push hard to see LB play.
  #?? Colin Wiest RS-Fresh Walk-on with good size and speed.  Was an honorable mention West Coast Safety prospect.
Recruiting Needs Taking at least 1 linebacker each year is a given.  The Broncos have a good young nucleus with Hall, Bean, Hunter, and Altieri.  But proven depth is a problem.  Once Avalos leaves, the Broncos will need depth.  Look for the Broncos to sign at least 2 linebackers in this class.
Likely # of Recruits: 3  (With 1 current verbal; Dallas Dobbs)
Cornerback #16 Gabe Franklin RS-Senior 4 year starter.  The best CB in the WAC.  Easily pre-season All-WAC.
  #18 Gerald Alexander. RS-Soph Most likely replacement for All-WAC CB Julius Brown.  Has looked very sharp in the rotation.  There is no drop off when Alexander is in, which says a lot!
  #32 Rashaun Scott RS-Fresh Possibly the fastest Bronco, has been clocked at 40 yards with a 4.29.  His skills are an unknown at this point, but his speed makes him an attractive prospect with the ability to make up for mistakes with his speed.
  #37 Austin Smith RS-Fresh Rumored to be a pure cover CB with great instincts.  Skill is unknown at this point.. a little undersized.
Could play either
#48 Robbie Jones Senior JC Transfer DB.  Played CB while at JC.  Undersized, but rumored to be a big hitter.  Probably will see time on special teams.
  #43 Chad McKibben RS-Soph Local walk-on who has looked impressive in limited opportunities.  Could work into playing rotation if RSFR don't cut it.  Undersized, but has that extra 'ooomph' ala Forsey and Brad Allen.
  #29 Ashlei Nyong-Dunham RS-Fresh Most likely a CB, but could play either. Bit smallish for a Safety, but reports say he hits like a Safety.  A Wes Nurse clone with cover ability, and hitting ability.  Was injured his Sr. season in HS and fell into the Broncos lap.  Was big time recruit until injury.  If is 100% could see time.
Safety #1 Chris Carr Senior Incredible athlete.  Has stepped in for the best Bronco Safety in history (Quinton Mikell) and not missed a beat.  Will be looked at to be the defensive QB.
  #28 Deshan Cabaong RS-Senior Good cover Safety.  Has seen spot work but should factor into playing rotation in his final year.  Not the big hitter that the Broncos love to put back there.  More of a Nickelback than an every down Safety.
  #27 Cam Hall RS-Junior The 03-04 Nickel back.  Likely to take over for Wes Nurse as the Starter in 04-05.  Great speed, amongst the 3 fastest on the team.  Big hitter who can also cover WR's, TE's, or RB's equally well.  Prototypical Safety size and strength.
  #31 Brad Allen RS-Junior Chris Carr's backup.  No way he should be a playmaker.. smallish, not outstanding speed.  Embodies everything that makes Boise State successful.  Incredible intelligence on the field.  Will have problems against taller receivers though.  Possibly the best pass-rusher on the defense.
  #47 Duran Cooley RS-Fresh Big time coup for the Broncos to land Cooley.  Great size/speed, prototypical NFL safety.  His HS stats are eerily similar to what QMike did at Boise State.  Chose Boise State over offers from Hawaii and Utah.  He was a skilled WR and return man as well with 5 INT's for TD's, and 5 kick returns for TD's as a Sr. in HS.
Recruiting Needs The Defensive backfield at Boise State is deep, but is a little top heavy.  Our CB's are very good, but our backups next year will be untested.  That's not necessarily a kiss of death since Gerald Alexander could probably start for a number of WAC teams, and he was unproven at the beginning of the year as well.  However, that depth will need help.  Look for at least 2 Cornerback recruits for the Broncos, plus the possibility of a JC recruit.  The Bronco Safeties are very good, but old.  We need a class of Safeties to train to take over for when Hall and Allen graduate.  Look for a class of at least 3 safety recruits.  Overall don't be surprised if the Broncos take at least 6 DB's.
Likely # of Recruits: 6
Special Teams #85 Tyler Jones (K) Senior Big leg kicker who has really improved his accuracy.  Can hit from 50+ with consistency.
  #14 Sean Steichen (P) RS-Junior Was recruited as a QB, but after injury switched to P.  Basically a backup.
  #42 Kyle Stringer (K/P) Soph Punting phenom who come into the picture late and stole the show.  Has incredible distance and hangtime.  Also is rumored to be a lock for the K position once Tyler Jones is done.
  #13 Devin Dascenzo (K/P) RS-Fresh Good punter who could stick around if a scholly comes open.  Came in to compete for the scholly that Stringer wrapped up.
  #?? Jared Connoly (K/P) RS-Fresh Another walk-on kicker/punter who tried for the open scholly.
  #?? Kyle Hawker (K/P) RS-Fresh Local walk-on punter.  Good distance on his punts, but not the hang-time of Stringer.
  #?? Brian Hale (K/P) RS-Fresh Another walk-on kicker/punter who tried for the open scholly.
Returner: (K) #1 Chris Carr Senior Took over for DMike mid season and looked great.  Great instincts with the ball.
  #24 Donny Heck RS-Senior Has returned kicks for a season.  Good upfield runner, not much of a threat to break one though.
  #23 Quinton Jones RS-Soph Has Speed to take it all the way anytime he touches the ball.
Returner: (P) #1 Chris Carr Senior Was very good in backing up Tim Gilligan.  Provides a legit threat for Special Teams on each punt.
  #31 Brad Allen RS-Junior Deceptively fast and elusive.  Not the speed of Carr, but fearless ala Gilligan.
  #17 Lee Marks RS-Junior Another smallish, fast returner.  Great instincts with the ball, great hands.
Long Snapper #74 Mike Dominguez RS-Soph Big DE broke his wrist and couldn't snap after that.  Was the #1 Long Snapper prior to injury, likely will return to that position in 04.
  #79 Jeff Cavender RS-Fresh RSFR who will probably be a guard.  Was a Long Snapper in HS, and has been practicing at that spot for the Broncos.  Good size for LS, (6'2 285lbs)
Recruiting Needs The Broncos have a plethora of quality punters and kickers.  TJones has turned into a great kicker, and Kyle Stringer is simply awesome for a true freshman.  The Broncos invited a few combo kickers/punter recruits to compete for 1 scholarship.  Kyle Stringer blew away the competition.  The Broncos recently got a verbal commitment from local Kicking phenom Jameson Davis, from Eagle, who will go on a mission before going to school.  That would seem to indicate that the Broncos are still trying to upgrade the class of kickers for the future.  Look for a number of the kickers/punters to transfer out as the pecking order is worked out over the course of the season.  Long snapping duties will likely return to Mike Dominguez as he was the #1 option prior to a wrist injury forced Kevin Louwsma into the position on 03.  Returners will be hard hit with the loss of Tim Gilligan, but both Chris Carr and Brad Allen have looked impressive in limited attempts.  Carr especially has the speed and natural ability to make the loss of one of the best Bronco returners ever a little less painful.  Donny Heck will be hard pressed to keep QJones and Lee Marks from taking his spot on the kickoff team, not because of his inability, but because of their big-play potential.  The Broncos are loaded with fast, shifty runners who can be interchanged without much of an impact.
Likely # of Recruits: 1  (With 1 current verbal;  Jameson Davis)

(This list is made from pure speculation, I have absolutely NO inside information, this is merely a first attempt at narrowing down what our recruiting class could look like on February 4th, 2004.)

Bronco Country Top Stories