The Creme De La Creme

On a cool day in February of 2007, 26 eager young men signed their name to a piece of paper, proclaiming to the world that they would be committed to Boise State University and their newly-crowned Fiesta Bowl Champion football team. The '07 recruiting class quite likely will be remembered as the best in school history.

The 2007 Boise State recruiting class is one of the largest in recent years with 26 commits.  It is also perhaps the best ever in school history.  You look at this list and see superstar after superstar.  That makes sense given that this class followed a well-known game played in January of 2007 in Glendale , Arizona .  The Broncos are reaping huge benefits already.  

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 the Broncos.  Austin has improved his game immensely with the help of the talented Boise State coaches and has worked hard in the weight room to gain 22 pounds.  Titus Young (5-11, 167, Jr.)  ran a 4.4 40 out of University Senior High School in Los Angeles .  He has unquestioned ability but needs to buckle down on the intangibles.  Instead of forcing the action, Young needs to let the game come to him.  

One member of this class stands out—sophomore quarterback Kellen Moore (6-0, 187).  What Moore has accomplished in a very short time is nothing short of amazing.  The coaches' son from Prosser , Washington , learned football at a very young age and studies it intently.  It shows.  The first freshman to ever start a season opener for Boise State showed the poise of a senior.  He nearly became the first freshman quarterback in college football history to lead his team to a perfect season, falling two points and one game shy of that feat ( Boise State lost to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl 17-16).  

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 Moore can avoid getting caught up in the hype, the distractions that the media provides, he should do fine.  The Bronco coaches have shown confidence in him by giving him two plays which he can choose from when he brings the team to the line of scrimmage and looks over the defense.  This is similar to the capability that former Bronco great Ryan Dinwiddie had and he literally picked apart defenses from his reads at the line.  

 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 Oakland , California .  Cory Yriarte (6-1, 285) needs to concentrate on beefing up to be an immovable force against the big linemen in college football.  He was rated as the 12th best center in the nation's high schools by coming out of Palmdale , California .  Given that Byrd has made the center position his, Yriarte needs to battle and make his presence felt if he is to fulfill the great promise he shows.  

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 California to Bronco fans—Elk Grove.  

 D.J. Harper (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 Boise State .  

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.  The former Capital High School star had nine stops, including 2.5 for loss, when he went out for the season with an injury against Utah State .  Root should rebound nicely and be in the Bronco lineup on a regular basis.   

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 former Meridian High School star redshirted last season but wasn't taking it easy—he was named the team's Offensive Scout Player of the Year.  He brings considerable talent to the field this fall in Boise State 's uncanny tradition of reloading at receiver.  Nisby (6-1, 295, So.) is a stud in the weight room and his time is now.  An All-State performer in California in the high school system, he has Bronco fans excited about his prospects on the defensive front.  

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 Oregon field goal attempt.  McClellin will see plenty of action.  The Marsing High School graduate has gained 27 pounds already on his big frame and coaches are hoping for more.  

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 Boise State a formidable defensive line with considerable depth.  If any can come close to being as good as their coach, Bronco Hall of Famer Pete Kwiatkowski, they have come a long way.  

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 was named California 's #14 offensive lineman by in the 2007 recruiting class.  Much is expected of Garrett.  

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" position.  

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 Boise State .  

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 Mountain View High School star will be a household name with Bronco fans.

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 Boise State .  He simply needs to emerge this year to take pressure off his teammate.  He was named the fourth best punter in the nation out of high school and booted the longest field goal in Washington high school history (51 yards).  But what's past is past; it is the here and now that matters.  To say that Elkin is a key for Boise State the next two years is understating what is expected of him.  

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 Florida .  He runs a 4.5 40 and came out of high school as Scout's 46th best defensive back in the country.  He is lodged behind one of the best secondaries in the nation right now, but he should see more time this fall and if he can learn from the best, Murray will be a star next season.

Zach Waller (6-5, 277) has the potential to be a monster for Boise State if he can take the advice of strength coach Tim Socha to heart.  The Bronco offensive line needs a guy the size of Waller to step up and be counted.  It is the only question mark on the entire team and the Boise State coaches would love for Waller to be in the top seven.  

Skyview High School star running back Matt Kaiserman (6-0, 186, Fr.) gray shirted his first year and then followed that up with a redshirt season.  He's ready to be a force in the Bronco backfield.   

Dan Paul (6-0, 229) is a recruit out of running back Malcolm Johnson's neck of the woods, Sam Barlow High School in Gresham , Oregon .  He is a weightlifting star and has been converted from linebacker to fullback.   

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 Boise State class will influence the success of the next two years more than any other.  That is because of leadership.  If this amazing class performs as expected, it is the talent of the 2007 class that will rise to the top of the Boise State team.  With the leadership of the '06 Bronco class and the talent of the '07 group, multiple national championships are possible for this group.

Bronco Country Top Stories