While it is true that you generally have to wait until the end of football
careers to evaluate a recruiting class in any given year, one has a pretty good
idea about it after two years. By that time, you will know, for instance,
if there is an impact player in the class that started right away without
redshirting or became a starter by his sophomore year. No Broncos from the
2006 recruiting class started right out of high school but it is apparent that
safety Jeron Johnson (5-11, 191) fits the definition of an impact player.
Many Bronco fans felt safety Johnson should have been first
team All-WAC last year instead of relegated to the second team. Johnson
recorded a team-high 98 tackles and three fumble recoveries. He also had three
interceptions, seven pass breakups and 4.5 tackles for loss.
Johnson is a huge-hitter that has the opposition always wary of his place
on the field. He is a hard-worker
and has ignited the entire Bronco defense to play more physical.
In addition, four other members from this class (offensive linemen Matt Slater, Kevin Sapien and Nate Potter and linebacker Derrell Acrey) started as
sophomores, meaning that this class more than any other will dictate how
Slater (6-4, 281), is expected to start at left tackle after playing in all
13 games last year. His quick feet
are his biggest asset and if he can gain about 20 more pounds, he's going to
be a good one. Slater turned down an
That's three of the five offensive line positions filled by the 2006
Recruiting Class. Junior Will Lawrence (6-2, 288) should compete for playing time at left tackle, having seen
limited action last season as a backup.
Quarterback Michael Coughlin (6-5, 213) saw action in six games last year,
completing 3-of-5 passes with one touchdown and no interceptions.
He has shown great progress learning the Bronco offense and great running
ability throughout his career. Should
the unthinkable happen to starter Kellen Moore, Coughlin is ready to step in.
Super tight ends Kyle Efaw (6-4, 228) and Tommy Gallarda are poised for
breakout seasons. They are the guys this fall at that position.
Efaw caught 17 passes in 2008, tallying 262 receiving yards. He
averaged 15.4 yards per catch and 20.2 receiving yards per game. The
Jason Robinson (5-11, 200), who recorded 22 tackles in 13 games last year, is
a player the Broncos need to step forward. In
one of the nation's best secondaries, Robinson can be a factor with his
athletic play. Jason studies hard
and seems to always be in the right place. Robinson,
interestingly enough, chose the Broncos following a visit to Utah.
Jarvis Hodge (5-9, 199) is in the middle of a deep and talented running back
corps but needs to assert himself and make his presence felt. Hodge
appeared n eight games last year, carrying the ball 12 times for 46 yards.
Cedric Febis (6-3, 192) has great size and is expected to make a contribution
to the Bronco secondary this season. Febis played in seven games for
Sione Tavake and Garrett Tuggle were JC transfers in the 2006 class and
provided depth but did not see much action--Tuggle was limited due to a broken
leg suffered his senior season while
Tavake finished with 17 tackles, 2.5 for loss, with a sack and a pass breakup.
Another indicator of the success of a recruiting class is to watch how many
of them see it through to completion. Certainly coaches would want to see
at least half of them graduate and that is a good number to judge a class by.
So far 14 of the 19 commits in the 2006 class are still on the roster or have
completed their eligibility. That is outstanding at this point in time.
In comparison, seven of the 13 members of the 2005 class left early, two
(Jadon Daily and Dennis Ellis) were junior college transfers, and two
others, cornerback Orlando Scandrick and wide receiver Jeremy Childs, left the
team prior to the end of their four-year careers to pursue professional
interests. That's 11 out of 13 that did not play four years for
To be sure, Ellis and Daily contributed a great deal to the Fiesta
Bowl success and were great junior college pickups. Scandrick and Childs
also were major factors in the success of the team but
Wide receiver Xavier Lucas, cornerback Keith McGowan, kicker David Lowery,
defensive end Kapono Rawlins-Crivello and linebacker Ben Chandler are the only
five members of this class to leave the program early.