The Key Class At Boise State

Boise State's 2006 recruiting class is key to success this year and until they graduate, and members of the class have already begun to contribute.

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 Boise State will fare in the next two years. 

Boise State will look to junior MIKE linebacker Derrell Acrey (6-1, 233) to help lead the Broncos as they replace two starters from the 2008 linebacker unit. Acrey was the team's fifth leading tackler (59) last season. He recorded one sack, one pass breakup and forced one fumble.

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 offer from Indiana to come to Boise State and in addition to his success on the field, also earned All-Western Athletic Conference All-Academic honors.  Fellow junior Sapien (6-4, 274) and sophomore Potter (6-6, 272) are also expected to start on the right side of the line. Sapien played in 12 games last season, starting most of the year at right guard. However, he was injured all spring and he will need to bounce back.  Potter also played in 12 games, starting at tackle part-time, after missing the season opener with an injury.  Coaches have high hopes for the fast and athletic Potter who chose the Broncos over Utah .  Potter too was injured in the spring. 

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 Capital High School star has gained 38 pounds since coming to Boise State .  His athleticism is evident in the fact that he was named All-Idaho at defensive back and punter as well as tight end.  Gallarda (6-5, 249) himself has gained 29 pounds since being recruited and should enjoy his best Bronco season.  Gallarda finished the year with six receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns.  His longest reception of the season was a 16-yard touchdown catch against Fresno State .

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 Boise State last season, registering four tackles. 

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 Boise State .

  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 Boise State didn't get four years from them.  In fact, just two players from the 2005 class, Kyle Wilson and Richie Brockel, will graduate with four years in the Bronco program. 

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.

The 2006 class has already made an impact. Given the Bronco coaches' history of rewarding people who pay their dues, each of the '06 recruits will get their moment in the sun if they continue to work hard. They can have a profound influence on their teammates this year and next. It will be interesting to say the least how they finish up their Bronco careers!

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