Catching Everything In Sight

We're just getting started. In this article, BroncoCountry continues its annual fall football preview series with a look at the bevy of talented wideouts and tight ends.

Fresh from being named as the first freshman to ever start at quarterback on opening day for Boise State, Kellen Moore will have one of the deepest stables of talented receivers the school has produced.  The top seven receivers from last season return for the Broncos this fall. 

Leading receiver Jeremy Childs returns as a junior after being suspended since the last game of the regular season last year.  Childs grabbed 82 receptions for 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns last season but will miss at least the season opener, a carryover from the suspension.  He possesses excellent speed, great hands and runs precise routes.

 If Childs can avoid missing any more games, he has a chance to break nearly every school receiving record in the books.  He already set the school record for receptions in a year and ranks fifth with his 1,045 yards and seventh with the nine TD receptions.  Jeremy is 30 receptions from the all-time Bronco top ten and from there; he would only need 63 to break the 35-year old career record set by legendary Don Hutt.  Childs is 810 yards short of the top ten, about half of what he needs (2,751) to break that career mark set by Ryan Ikebe in 1996. 

Senior Vinny Perretta is perhaps looking forward to the fall more than anyone.  Perretta went down in game four last season with a shoulder injury and did not return.  He would love to give fans more to remember besides a certain two-point conversion pass in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma.  Perretta is quick, with great play-making ability and is a good complement to Childs. 

Titus Young is a star in the making.  He showed flashes of brilliance last season and had a spectacular spring.  Young grabbed 44 passes for 639 yards and five TD's—he is the Broncos' deep threat.  Young has to be steady and not try to showboat; he could have scored more touchdowns last fall had he not fumbled near the goal line.  He has the speed and ability to beat his man deep on nearly every play.  Plus, he developed a good relationship with Moore in the offseason.

Austin Pettis gives Boise State a big target from the outside, as he rose to the task of filling in for Perretta with 46 catches and six touchdowns.  He is a sure-handed possession receiver that will be valuable in short-yardage situations. 

Junior Julian Hawkins is rapidly improving to the point of being a weapon for quarterback Moore.  A converted tight end, Hawkins presents major matchup problems for defenses.  He hauled in 23 passes last year for 206 yards in ‘07.  Plus, as a tight end in the first two years of his Bronco career, Hawkins is used to being between the hashes instead of the outside.

 

How will Toshi Franklin go out as a Bronco?  He has shown big-play ability but has not been consistent.  He'll have to be steady to work his way up in the rotation.

Tanyon Bissell can make contributions in a multitude of ways and is reminiscent of past Bronco great T.J. Acree.  In addition to his primary task as wideout, Bissell can run as well as throw and has already come up big for Boise State in his career.

Redshirt freshmen Tyler Shoemaker and grayshirt Mitch Burroughs will push the veterans. Burroughs could redshirt, as will February recruit Chris Potter.

Chris O'Neill moves into the lineup at tight end—he caught 11 passes for 123 yards and a TD.  O'Neill will be more of a factor in the passing attack this fall.  The Broncos are chomping at the bit to utilize immensely talented sophomore Tommy Gallarda and redshirt freshman Kyle Efaw.  Both bring high-quality receiving talent to the position and have been perfecting their blocking skills to become more complete receivers.

Beginning with the Swillie-Fanucchi-Wingfield group in the early part of this decade, Boise State coaches have been building the receivers into a deep, talented group highly qualified to carry out the high-octane offense that they want to run.  This building process has reached a fever pitch with the collection of wideouts and tight ends on this year's Bronco team. 

We previewed the offensive line and pointed out that the success of this entire team depends on them.  If that unit comes through as expected, everything else falls into place.  The great running backs that we showcased Saturday can hit the holes and chew up big chunks of yardage.  Kellen Moore can begin to accomplish the same kind of things at Boise State that he did in high school.  Pass blocking by the line will need to be there for this special group of receivers to shine.

The slogan at Boise State is "Reload".  We've seen evidence of it time and time again.  I mentioned the trio of Swillie-Fanucchi-Wingfield.  The Fiesta Bowl featured Rabb-James-Naanee.  Now, just two years later, there's Childs-Young-Pettis.  Think about what it takes to accomplish that.  It is no accident that the Bronco coaches continually find new and better talent with each succeeding year.

 There is a movement afoot right here in Boise, and the top high school recruits recognize that.  Childs has the opportunity to be the top receiver in the history of the school; that's a given.  What is unique about the Broncos of the 21st century is that there isn't just one "go-to" guy; there are several on the field at the same time.  This deep group of receivers is like a gigantic Fourth of July fireworks show.  They may start slow given a new quarterback and a young line.  By the end of the season, they should be giving fans plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Up next, our BroncoCountry preview of the Boise State quarterbacks! 


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