Several have already become big stars.
Austin Pettis (6-3, 202, Jr.) has emerged as the go-to guy and is a
dangerous receiver with his leaping ability.
Pettis caught 49 passes for 567 yards and nine touchdowns last season for
One member of this class stands out—sophomore quarterback
Kellen Moore (6-0, 187). What
The thing that tripped up second-year starter Jared
Zabransky in 2005 had nothing to do with the physical but the mental aspect of
the game. If
Center Thomas Byrd (5-11, 282, So.) is on the list for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to
the top lineman in college football. Byrd
was battle-tested in the tough high school ranks of
Brandyn Thompson (5-10, 180) is already making noise as a
lock-down corner and that dependability on an island is one of the final pieces
to the puzzle of building a national championship team.
Thompson had 54 tackles and four interceptions last season for the Bronco
defense. He has shown his work ethic
by gaining 20 pounds since signing on national letter of intent day.
Thompson is from a familiar part of
(5-9, 192, Jr.) is a key member of the Bronco backfield.
The "Texas Tornado" had the fourth-best output as a true freshman in
2007 with 376 yards and six touchdowns and another 278 and four scores last
season. In arguably the most
talented backfield in Bronco history, fans are looking for big things from
Harper this year. Chase Baker (6-1,
280) has been impressive on the defensive front after recording 10 tackles in
his freshman season. Baker is
thought by many to have the inside track on a starting tackle job.
Doug Martin (5-10, 200, So.) has been extremely impressive and now is
pushing for starting time at his converted position of nickel back.
There are many others that are on the verge of becoming stars for
Chuck Hayes (6-2, 260, So.), Jarrell Root, Mitch Burroughs
and J.P. Nisby are just a few of the names expected to make an impact this fall.
Hayes moved over to the offensive line from the defense in spring ball.
Root (6-3, 254, So.) was the Defensive Scout Player of the Year in 2007
when he redshirted and big things are expected from Jarrell.
With the departure of Jeremy Childs and the loss of the
versatile Vinny Perretta, Burroughs (5-9, 190, Fr.) is one of the receivers that
need to step up this fall. The
Shea McClellin (6-3, 255) has worked his way into more playing time this fall. He
has been most impressive in two-a-day's. McClellan
played in 10 games last season, registering 14 tackles and blocking an
Billy Winn (6-4, 282) is another player that Bronco fans
are looking to literally bust out this fall.
The Las Vegas High School Star was thought of as one of the top recruits
in this class. He was named to Phil
Steele's All-Freshman second team after recording 26 tackles, 5.5 for loss,
last season. The sky is the limit
for Winn, who should combine with Baker, Nisby, Ryan Winterswyk, Byron Hout,
Root and Shea McClellin to give
Garrett Pendergast (6-4, 288, So.) still needs work in the
weight room but his emergence as a factor on the offensive line could help this
class truly stand alone in Bronco annals. Pendergast
Hunter White (5-11, 211)—yet another great talent of this
class. He had 25 tackles as a
freshman and had an incredible spring to put him in strong position to start for
the Broncos. White shows great
intensity and sure tackling ability, two qualities necessary at the "Mike"
Aaron Tevis (6-3, 214) with 10-20 more pounds could be a
linebacker in the National Football League.
Tevis is believed to have the inside track at the "Will" position.
He had 27 tackles and four pass breakups last year and coupled with a
great spring as well, is poised to be an impact player for
That's 18 players—18 members of this class that will
either start or see significant playing time.
Not bad for a group of mostly sophomores.
And although Tyler Shoemaker wasn't a scholarship player
in this class, it would be remiss not to talk about the next great Bronco
receiver. He caught seven passes for
110 yards and two touchdowns last season after redshirting in 2007.
"Shoe" will be a big part of Offensive Coordinator Bryan Harsin's
game plan this fall and the
Brad Elkin (6-3, 202, Jr.) is a name that the Broncos would
sure love to hear more of. Placekicker
Kyle Brotzman saw a bit of a drop-off in performance last year because he spent
considerable time practicing punting. Elkin
is the "man of the moment" for
Garcia Day (6-1, 199, Sr.) was the only junior college
recruit of the 2007 class. He is a
huge hitter that has become the trademark of the Bronco secondary.
Antwon Murray (5-11, 174) was a top recruit from
Zach Waller (6-5, 277) has the potential to be a monster for
Dan Paul (6-0, 229) is a recruit out of running back
Malcolm Johnson's neck of the woods,
Just two of the 26 recruits in this class (Dominque Vinson
and Johnny Tivao) are gone. That
shows incredible persistence for this group.
They know what is at stake and the tremendous upside for the Bronco
football program. It has been 29
years since 1980—this could be the group that finally gets it done.
I mentioned in last week's article that the 2006