All-Time Top Receivers

This is the third feature article in which we delve into the past to study Boise State football history. Last year, we looked at quarterbacks and running backs. In this article, we look at the top Bronco wide receivers of the last 35 years. Read the article and then vote for your choices for the all-time top receivers on the Blue Turf board. HUGE thanks to Tom Scott, long-time media favorite and Bronco statistician, for compiling the numbers and keeping track of the record book.

(A history of wide receivers at Boise State )   

Bronco fans have seen our share of leaps, jumps and dives.  Lots of posts, comeback patterns, screens and bombs.  Plenty of aerial acrobatics, one-handed catches, clutch grabs and flat-out wide open receptions.  There have been catches for first downs, touchdowns, come-from-behind wins, conference championships and even one national championship catch. In this article, we look at the standouts at wide receiver throughout the years at Boise State .  Read the article, then go back to the Blue Turf Board to vote for your choices for Best Wide Receiver!

      Don Hutt (1970-1973) is one of the all-time great Bronco receivers—he ranks #1 in Career Receptions with 189 (27 more than anyone else), #1 in Career Touchdowns with 30 and #2 in Career Receiving with 2,728 yards.  Hutt had three of the top receiving seasons in Bronco history—66 catches for 928 yards and 8 TD's in 1971, 58 catches for 824 yards and 9 touchdowns in 1972 and 63 catches for 964 yards and 13 scores in 1973.  Hutt had 11 games of 100 or more receiving yards, including an incredible effort of 15 catches for 227 yards in a thrilling come from behind win over UC Davis in 1973.  He also grabbed another 14 the next season in a Division 2 semi-final playoff game against Louisiana Tech.  Hutt helped the Broncos to Big Sky championships in 1971 and 1973 and a Camelia Bowl win over Chico State in '71—the Broncos were 27-9 during the years he started at wide receiver. 

Hutt was not only named to the All-Big Sky team three straight years (one of only a handful to be so awarded) but also was named an Honorable Mention Associated Press Division II All-American in both 1971 and '72 and made the first team on the AP, United Press International and Kodak lists in 1973.  Hutt played in the East-West Shrine game after his senior season, and was credited with an outstanding catch near the goal line to set up his team's score.  Hutt didn't have great speed, but he excelled in his cuts which allowed him to nearly always get open and his sure hands usually meant a catch.  Don was drafted in the 8th round of the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams, and played in the World Football League.      

     Al Marshall (1969-1972) teamed with Hutt to give the Broncos a formidable 1-2 punch at wideout.  Al's 2007 yards places him 8th on the all-time Career Receiving Yards list.  He gathered in 55 passes in 1972 and 116 for his career to rank 11th and 12th in Season and Career Receptions, respectively.  If Hutt was Mr. Dependability, then Marshall was the deep threat--his high total was 204 receiving yards against Portland State in 1972 and it was his 90-yard touchdown catch in that game that held the Bronco record until Lou Fanucchi broke it in 2002.  Al had a nice 17.3 yards per catch average for his career (116-2007).  Marshall earned All-Big Sky in 1972 and was recognized by both UPI and Kodak as 1st team receiver for Division II. 

     Speedy Mike Holton (nicknamed "Motormouse") was the next standout at receiver from 1972-1976.  Holton's 139 career catches places him 5th, while he is tied for 3rd with 2,354 Career Receiving Yards and 4th in Career Touchdowns with 21.  He tied Hutt for the season touchdown record with 13 in 1974, when he also recorded 1,080 yards (good for 2nd all-time) and 64 receptions (tied for 4th).  All told, Holton broke the 100-yard barrier 11 times in his fabulous career.  Holton's best games were 14 catches for 252 yards (2nd best ever) against UNLV and 11 receptions against Idaho in 1974.  Holton joined Hutt as a three-time All-Big Sky selection, getting all-conference kudos 1974-1976 and made the Honorable Mention Division II All-America list in both '74 and ‘75.

     Don Hutt's younger brother Terry Hutt, (1973-1977) played opposite both Hutt and Holton at different times of his Bronco career.  He joins Don in the career lists for Receptions (132 for 6th place), Yards (2,354 for 3rd) and Touchdowns (14 for 9th).  His best season was 1977 when he hauled in 56 passes for 1,032 yards (3rd all-time).  Hutt netted over 100 receiving yards in 8 games during his career.  Terry's best individual game came that year when he was credited with 176 yards against UNLV.  For his efforts that season, Terry was named to the AP All-America team as well as the All-Big Sky team.

     Capital High School 's Kipp Bedard (1979-1981) transferred to Boise State after a year at Notre Dame, and his excellence at getting open and sure-handedness was a major reason the Broncos captured the National I-AA Championship in 1980.  With the pressure on late in the game and the Broncos behind 29-24, Bedard made three heart-stopping catches to move Boise State down the field and into position to win.  Bedard had 11 catches in that national championship game for 212 yards (the 4th highest single-game total in Bronco history).  Kipp followed that up the next season by recording the most receiving yards ever by a Bronco—1,101 on 60 catches.  For his career, Bedard grabbed 122 receptions (9th) for 1,971 yards (11th) and 13 touchdowns (10th).  Bedard, a Division I-AA Honorable Mention selection in 1980, earned 2nd team All-America honors by AP in 1981.  He was an All-Big Sky 1st teamer all three years at Boise State .

     Kim Metcalf (1980-1984) finished 10th in Career Receptions with 126 and 11th in Career Receiving Yards with 1,990 and joined the ever-growing list of receivers to earn post-season recognition when he was given Honorable Mention in I-AA by AP in 1982.    

     Eric Andrade (1983-1987) could be counted on to make big plays, and his 140 Career Receptions rank him 4th in that department.  Andrade also ranks 6th in Yards with 2,097 and 7th in touchdowns with 19.  His senior year was his best season, grabbing 63 passes for 922 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Andrade made the Division I-AA 2nd team in 1987 as chosen by The Sports Network and was given Honorable Mention by AP and 1st team All-Big Sky honors. 

      Winky White (116 career catches) and Terry Heffner with 95 were an outstanding duo for Boise State from 1987-1990.  White still holds the Single Game record with 264 yards against Nevada in the 1990 I-AA Semi-Final contest.  He also had 200 against Montana and 185 against Weber State the previous season.  For his career, White totaled 1,977 yards, good for 10th on the Bronco list, and had a 17.04 yards per catch average.

      Mike Wilson (1990-1993), Sheldon Forehand (1989-1992) and Jarrett Hausske (1991-1994) led the Broncos into the 90's.  Wilson set the all-time Bronco record for receptions in 1992 with 76 and his 159 career catches places him in 3rd.  He had 8 games in which he was credited with over 100 yards receiving.  Wilson 's best game was in 1992 against Eastern Washington , when he grabbed 14 catches.  Mike made the All-Big Sky team in 1992.  Forehand is 10th on the all-time list for Career Receptions with 117 (1,586 total receiving yards), while Hausske is 4th in Career Yards Per Catch with 17.57 (86 receptions for 1,511 yards).  Hausske hauled in an 84-yard touchdown catch in 1994 against Cal State Northridge. 

      Ryan Ikebe (1993-1996) was the dominant receiver in the mid-90's—his 162 catches and 27 career touchdowns are 2nd only to Don Hutt, and his 2,751 yards bests Hutt by 23 yards.  Ikebe's dependability helped Boise State defeat North Texas , Appalachian State and Marshall to advance to the I-AA National Championship game in 1994.  Ikebe's 959 yards in 1996 ranks him 6th and his 61 catches that year places him 7th.  He ranks 9th all-time in Yards Per Catch with 1 fine 16.98 average, and his 162 catches are by far the most among the leaders in that category.  In 1995, Ryan averaged 21.82 yards per catch, the 3rd highest season total ever.  Ikebe topped the 100-yard mark 13 times in his career, his best game being a 199-yard effort against Northwestern State in 1996.  Defenses knew he was to "go-to" guy and still often could not stop him.

      Boise State moved up to Division I-A in 1996, and the following two seasons, Rodney Smith (1997-1998) helped the Broncos make the transition to where they are today.  Although he only played two years, Smith is 10th all-time in catches with 117, 13th in Receiving Yards with 1,686 and 5th in Touchdowns with 20 (including 11 in 1997).  His season total of 64 in 1997 is the fourth-highest total and his 4 receiving touchdowns against New Mexico State in 1998 tied the Bronco record. He always seemed to get open in key situations, was a great playmaker and made several circus catches.  Smith was 1st team All-Big West in 1998. 

      Billy Wingfield (1998-2002), Jay Swillie (1999-2002) and Lou Fanucchi (1999-2002) were part of Boise State's march into the 21st century and national recognition, as the Broncos won three bowl games and were ranked as high as #12 in the Coaches' Poll (2002) during that time.  These three great receivers played at the same time and yet are each among the all-time top 15 Broncos in Career Receiving Yards (Fanucchi 3rd at 2,554, Swillie 7th at 2,161 and Wingfield 1,710).    They each were instrumental in helping the Broncos record three of the five highest season passing yardage totals in their history and leading the nation in scoring in both 2000 and 2002. 

Swillie is tied with Andrade for 4th in Career Receptions with 140 and tied for 6th with 19 Career Touchdowns.  Wingfield broke the existing record for Receiving Yards in a Season in 2002 with 1,138, eclipsing the mark set by Bedard in 1981 and his 62 receptions that year places him 8th in that category as well.  His speed and sure hands were a delight to watch.  Swillie was nicknamed "First Down Swillie" for his sure grabs in short yardage situations, while if the Broncos wanted to go deep, Lou was the man.  When he turned in his cleats, Fanucchi had finished his Bronco career with an incredible 19.49 Yards Per Catch (131 for 2,549), shattering the John Smith record of 18.067 that had stood for 27 years.  He averaged 34.8 Yards Per Catch (5 for 174) against Northern Iowa in 2000, the 2nd best single-game total ever, and is in the Bronco record books twice for Season best in that category.  Fanucchi ranks 2nd for his 2001 effort (30 for 626; 20.87 average) and 7th for 2000 (40 for 796; 19.90 average).  Lou had 8 games over 100 yards in his Bronco career.  His great speed allowed him to slip past the Louisiana Tech secondary for a 97-yard scoring play in 2002, setting the all-time Bronco record.  He also grabbed an 87-yarder in the Northern Iowa game and an 80-yarder against Eastern Washington that same year. Fanucchi earned All-Big West honors in 2000 but despite this trio's greatness, none were recognized by the WAC.

     Tim Gilligan had been a return specialist and backup to the three until his senior year last year.  All he did was enjoy one of the greatest seasons ever for a receiver at Boise State .  "Little Buddy" made 67 catches for 1,192 yards (a 17.79 average) in 2003, again breaking the all-time Bronco record for Receiving Yards that Wingfield had set a year earlier.  The 67 catches were the 2nd most ever in a season by a Boise State wideout.  He placed 16th in the nation in Receiving Yards and 17th in Yards Per Game with over 91.  Gilligan earned All-WAC honors last year.

With a new quarterback replacing the record-setting Ryan Dinwiddie this season, Bronco fans are looking to this year's group of wideouts to help that new QB look good.  It's going to be a fun season!

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