We Salute The 2007 Bronco Senior Class!

The 18 members of the Boise State football senior class have made Bronco fans so proud. The way they have carried themselves on and off the field with dignity has set the bar high for future classes. This group has not only helped Boise State rank in the top 15 in three of the past four seasons, but has excelled in the classroom. The 2007 Bronco Class--what a great group it is!

Blue Collar.  Work Ethic.  Teamwork.


The 2007 Bronco football senior class will be known for at least one thing—perseverance and tenacity.  Many of them never started a game for the Broncos prior to this season, watching from the sideline as upperclassmen started the Broncos on the way to elite status.  It must be said that when they got their chance this year, they took full advantage and the Boise State program has not missed a beat.  And here's the thing that should make Bronco fans the proudest—all 18 members of the class have either graduated already or are on time to graduate either in December of next May. 


Ten players from last year were either drafted by National Football League teams or signed as free agents, names like Zabransky, Naanee, James, Rabb, Schouman, Alexander, and Hall.  How does a team lose guys like that and go 9-1 to this point of the season?  Answer:  18 seniors that make every Bronco fan proud. 



Taylor Tharp


Discussion of the Bronco seniors has to begin with the fifth-year senior who took over for three-year starting quarterback Jared Zabransky.  Zabransky owned the best record of any starter in Bronco history, and Taylor Tharp saw little playing time behind him. 


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketTharp has sizzled at quarterback for the Broncos this season, especially the last two weeks when he has completed 54-of-64 passes.  Overall this year, he is 215-312 for an incredible 68.9% completion percentage.  He has topped the 2500-yard mark with 2,557 with 23 touchdown passes against only eight interceptions.  Tharp has a 157 pass efficiency rating.  Taylor is second in the Western Athletic Conference to Hawai'i's Colt Brennan and ninth in the nation. 


Tharp already has the 10th highest passing total in Boise State history and can both Zabransky's 2005 and 2006 totals with 30 yards passing today.  Taylor has a realistic chance at reaching third all-time in that category.  He is 172 yards away from Jared Zabransky's 2006 total for 10th place in the Bronco record book for total offense in his season. 


To give you an idea of the season Tharp is having, he is not even in the top 10 in passing attempts, yet he already ranks second in Bronco history with his 215 completions (he passed Bart Hendricks last week.)  Tharp is now 61 completions away from record holder Ryan Dinwiddie.  Taylor's surgeon-like passing is a major reason Boise State has had the kind of season it has.  He fired 26-of-29 last week against Utah State to pass Dinwiddie's amazing 2002 Fresno State performance for the second-best single game in Bronco history.  His season percentage of 68.9% would blitz the Bronco record book by over 2.5%.  Tharp is also on target to eclipse Joe Aliotti's all-time career pass percentage record of 63.6%.  He tied Zabransky's career best of 23 touchdown passes against USU last week as well to rank sixth.  Tharp's ability to see the field is evidenced by the fact that no less than 17 players have caught passes for the Broncos this season.


In 2006, Tharp was 11-13 for 88 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  Taylor was 21-37 in 2005 for 271 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.  He helped rally Boise State to a 70-35 win over Idaho that year, going 4-8 for 75 yards and a touchdown in relief of Zabransky.  He also was highly efficient against Georgia, hitting 5-7 passes for 53 yards.    



Marty Tadman


If Tharp has been a pleasant surprise this season on offense, Marty Tadman has been Mr. Dependable on defense for the last four.  From the moment he set foot on the blue turf, Bronco fans knew #20 was something special—a sure tackler with incredible natural instincts and a nose for the football.  His intelligence—he excels in the classroom—has helped the Broncos on many a play.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWho will ever forget the San Jose State game this year when the Spartans lined up for a punt and all of a sudden Tadman came racing up to the line of scrimmage.  Marty was the only one in the stadium who saw that San Jose had a player just inbounds and were about to attempt a pass to him on the fake punt.  Or the amazing punt return in the waning moments to put Boise State in position to beat San Jose in 2006 and keep the perfect season alive.  There's the 98-yard interception return against Louisiana Tech.  And of course the two huge interceptions in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, one to keep Oklahoma from scoring and the other a pick six off of a Korey Hall tipped pass that put Boise State up 28-10.


Tadman came into this season a first-team Preseason All-America of Sports Illustrated.  He was named to the preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik and Jim Thorpe Awards.  He came into 2007 as the national leader in career interceptions with 12, interception returns for touchdowns with three and second in career interception yards with 269.  Tadman has two more picks this season to bring his career total to 14 heading into his final three games.  Marty is tied with Ken Johnson for sixth on the all-time list and can tie Darrin Lyle and Joe Larkin with one more INT.  He ranks third all-time with 269 interception yards.


Tadman leads the Broncos with 70 tackles this season, including 2.5 for loss, and also has six pass breakups.  He is far and away the solo tackles leader with 41.  Marty has been the man for Boise State retuning punts this season, with 28 for an 11.2 average. 


Tadman, bizarre enough, has never been named to the All-WAC team; he was just a second-team member last season.  He was named defensive Most Valuable Player of that Fiesta Bowl and finished the season third in the WAC in interceptions with six and 29th in tackles with 67.  Marty was named as the 10th-best free safety in the country by The Sporting News.  He also returned 16 punts for an 8.9 yards-per-return average.   


In 2005, Marty had a stellar year in his first full season as a starter with 101 tackles including 48 solo.  He led the Broncos with five interceptions and also had 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and seven pass breakups.  He also returned seven punts for 53 yards.  All that and just a second team WAC player. 


Tadman played as a true freshman due to injuries in the secondary and finished with 14 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and an interception.


Tadman has 252 career tackles and is just 33 tackles from 15th place on the all-time list.



The hogs up front may not get the press of the playmakers, but it's the offensive line that has built Boise State into a national power and specifically Tad Miller and Jeff and Pete Cavender.  Teaming with Daryn Colledge, M.J. Ansel in their early years, Andrew Woodruff and Ryan Clady beginning last year, and now adding Dan Gore this season, this cohesive unit has been the foundation for Boise State.


This season, this immensely talented group has Boise State positioned just outside the nation's top 10 in total offense at #11 with 482 yards per game.  Once again, the Broncos are among the nation's top scoring teams at 42.8 points per game.  The line has led Boise State to 20th in the nation in rushing (205.40) and 22nd in passing (276.60).  Boise State also ranks 22nd by allowing just 13 sacks thus far this year.  With this incredible line paced by seniors Miller, Cavender, Cavender and Gore, it is no accident that Boise State is third in the nation in third-down conversions, clicking on 81 of 153 opportunities (52.9%). 



Jeff Cavender

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketYet another highly intelligent Bronco, Cavender has had the privilege of being a Bronco starter on the offensive line the past four years on some of the greatest lines in Boise State history.  He helped Boise State finish second in the nation in scoring last year (39.69 ppg), second in rushing touchdowns (39), sixth in the country in rushing (214.15 ypg) and 10th in total offense (420.62 ypg).

Jeff was named a preseason All-WAC by both The Sporting News and CollegeFootballNews.com.  In 2006, he was named to the WAC's second team after starting all 13 games at right guard.  Cavender also started every game as a freshman at right tackle and the entire season at center as a sophomore.  His consecutive games as a starter will reach 48 in today's game. 


In 2005, Cavender helped pave the way for the Broncos to finish ninth in scoring (36.08), 19th in rushing (202.46) and fifth in rushing touchdowns (36).  In his freshman year, Cavender and the Broncos were ranked second in the nation in scoring (48.9 ppg), fourth in total offense (492.7), 14th in rushing (229.8) and 20th in passing (262.8).  Boise State set a school record in '04 with 49 rushing touchdowns.



Pete Cavender

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAnother scholar-athlete, Pete started at right guard for part of the 2004 season, helping the Broncos to their first perfect regular season in 46 years.  Boise State was second in the nation in scoring (48.9), fourth in total offense (492.7), 14th in rushing (229.8) and 20th in passing (262.8).  Cavender helped the Broncos set the school record with 49 rushing touchdowns.  In 2005, Pete started nine games at right guard and helped Boise State finish ninth in scoring (36.08), 19th in rushing (202.46) and fifth in rushing touchdowns (36).  An injury suffered during the summer forced Pete to miss the 2006 season. 



Tad Miller

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketOne of the hardest working Broncos, Miller's strength is a fierce competitive spirit that has burned for five years.  He has been a standout on the best Bronco offensive line in history, yet the WAC coaches have never named him to the first team.  The Sporting News recognized his ability when he was named to the Preseason team last season, an honor he won again this summer from Blue Ribbon Magazine.

Miller has now started 48 consecutive games at guard, a fixture in the Bronco line that says to opponents "you're not going to mess things up on my watch."  In 2006, Miller helped Boise State finish the season as the nation's only undefeated team and win the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma.  The Broncos were second in the country in scoring (39.69 ppg), second in rushing touchdowns (39), sixth in rushing (214.15) and 10th in total offense (420.62).

In 2005, Tad was the starter at left guard as the Broncos finished ninth in scoring (36.08), 19th in rushing (202.46) and fifth in rushing touchdowns with 36.  Miller was a starter his entire freshman season, helping Boise State finish second in the nation in scoring (48.9), fourth in total offense (492.7), 14th in rushing (229.8) and 20th in passing (262.8).  The Broncos set a school record with 49 rushing touchdowns.



Dan Gore

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketGore has been a key cog in moving into the starting unit on the offensive line after playing defensive line for most of his Bronco career.  Dan has not only found a home but has starred on the o-line.  He had six tackles while playing spot duty on defense during his career.



Nick Schlekeway

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFour years go by so fast.  Nick was one of two true freshmen to play in 2004 and his leadership as the Defensive Captain has been key for the Broncos.  He came to Boise State from Eagle High School with a 4.0 average and ranked #1 in his graduating class.

Nick has been credited with 26 tackles this season, 3.5 for loss, and two sacks.    

Last season, Schlekeway was named to ESPN the Magazine's Academic All-District 8 team for the second time.  He started all 12 games at left defensive end and finished sixth on the team in tackles with 42.  "Schlek" also had four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass breakup and two fumble recoveries.  Nick started at defensive end and also played tackle, finishing with 33 tackles, two for loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass breakup and a forced fumble.  In his freshman year, Schlekeway had 15 tackles, one for loss, .5 sacks and two pass breakups. 




Austin Smith

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAnother likeable Bronco is the hard-working, intelligent Austin Smith.  Playing primarily in nickel packages, Smith has 24 tackles, an interception that he returned for 27 yards, a pass breakup and a forced fumble.  Austin has also returned four kickoffs for a 29.2 average. 

Last season, Smith played in nickel situations and on special teams and finished with 13 tackles, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.  In 2005, Smith started all 13 games at safety and finished fifth on the team with 51 tackles.  He also had four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, five pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.  His biggest play came when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown against Idaho and the Broncos never looked back after that.  Austin did double duty as a punt returner, taking 13 punts for 62 yards.

In 2004, Smith was a part-time starter and took over punt return duties after Chris Carr was injured.  He finished with 36 tackles (10th on the team) and was credited with three sacks, four tackles for loss and one pass breakup.  He was third in the WAC and 25th in the nation in punt returns with a nice 12.2 yard average.  



Ryan Putnam

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketRyan has become a leader for the Broncos, a solid blocker and a dependable pass catcher from his tight end position.  He holds the weight room record for tight ends with a 575-pound back squat.

Putnam has caught eight passes for 133 yards and three scores this season, all career highs.  Many of those catches have been crucial first down grabs or touchdowns.

Last year, Putnam finished with six catches for 77 yards and one touchdown.  He played a backup role in 2005 and caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. 



Sherm Blaser

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBlaser has been a key ingredient for the Boise State offense this fall, returning after a foot injury in 2006.  Sherm has caught eight passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, all career highs.  He also has three tackles on special teams.

Blaser also caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown in 2005 and had four receptions for 65 yards his sophomore year.  Sherm also had a catch for five yards playing as a true freshman in 2003.



Rashaun Scott

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketScott has been a backup defensive back and sensational kickoff returner this year for the Broncos.  Rashaun has 15 tackles, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery on defense and has returned 22 kickoffs this year for a 24.3 average. 

Last season, he returned six kicks for 117 yards, including a game-changing 42-yard return against Idaho that set up a touchdown.  Scott had seven tackles on defense.  In 2005, Rashaun was a backup cornerback and finished with six tackles and two pass breakups.  In his freshman year, Scott had 14 tackles and a fumble recovery.



Ian Smart

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSmart has been part of a four-man rotation at defensive tackle this fall and has helped solidify the line with his steady play.  Smart has 21 tackles, three for loss, with two sacks and a blocked kick.


 In 2006, Ian had three tackles and forced a quarterback hurry against Utah that resulted in a pick six for Colt Brooks.  Smart had two tackles in 2005 and one in 2004.



Sione Tavake

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketTavake has blossomed of late in the Broncos' four-man defensive tackle rotation.  He came to Boise State from Mt. San Antonio Junior College.  Sione has sparkled with 15 stops on the season, 2.5 for loss, and one sack.



Josh Bean

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe hard-hitting Bean has served as a backup defensive end this season after playing as a backup linebacker and special teams star the last few seasons.  He is the only Bronco with a certain professional career.  Bean was selected in the second round of the Canadian Football League draft, the 16th overall pick, by the British Columbia Lions.

Bean has 14 tackles this season with 1.5 tackles for loss, half a sack and a pass breakup.

In 2006, Bean finished with 18 tackles and one fumble recovery.  He was named Special Teams Ironman for Boise State in 2005 after finishing the year with 18 tackles and one tackle for loss.  Bean had nine tackles (three solo) in 2004 in his first year with the Broncos.  He had a tackle and forced a fumble in the Liberty Bowl against Louisville and blocked an extra point against SMU.



Ia Falo

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIf you play hard, there's a place for you at Boise State.  Ia Falo has been the special teams' demon for the Broncos and has starred in that role.  Falo is usually one of the first Broncos down on kickoffs and has five tackles this season.

 He was Boise State's special teams player of the year last season, finishing with 12 tackles.  In 2005, Ia was named the Denny Erickson Award winner, finishing with 12 tackles.  In his freshman year, he was named Special Teams Scout Player of the Year and finished with 11 tackles including five solo. 

Falo is yet another example of a player that went from walk-on to star at Boise State.  The former Mountain Home High School product has been a thrill to watch for Bronco fans with his speed, desire and big hits.



Michael Lose

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketLose is another class guy well-liked by all.  The Communications Major gave Bronco fans some of the best quotes on the documentary "Out Of The Blue" as well as the 2006 Bronco Highlights DVD.  He has served as the backup fullback for the Broncos for the past three seasons.  This season, he has become one of the stars on special teams with seven tackles. 



Jeff Biedermann

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBiedermann has been a solid backup offensive guard for the Broncos after moving over from the defensive line.  In 2003, Biedermann played in his first five games before a season-ending injury that also forced him to redshirt in 2004. 



Mike Altieri

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketOne of Boise State's greatest families, the Altieri's sent Mike to Boise State in 2003.  Altieri has two tackles this season. 


He was a special teams player and backup linebacker in his freshman year, finishing with one tackle.  He responded the following season to finish with 11 stops, including seven solo and a tackle for loss.  He suffered a season-ending injury the Boise State's season opener last year.




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