The receivers on the Boise State team have shown flashes of brilliance but have not exploded for eye-popping numbers. This could be the year they do just that. (Please note: Photo is provided by Foto208--all rights are reserved.)
has developed an amazing tradition of reloading at the receiver spots.
In 1999, when the Broncos began their current run, Lou Fanucchi, Billy
Wingfield and Jay Swillie made for a dynamic trio.
On their own as the star of another team, they likely would have had
80-plus receptions each. Together,
they combined for headaches galore for opposing defenses, because they
couldn't just concentrate on one of them.
Most teams did not have the depth to cover all three.
Bronco fans thought they were the best receiving corps
ever, hated to see them go, and were wondering how
could replace them. Then Tim Gilligan, T.J. Acree and Lawrence Bady emerged and the team continued its
winning ways. A trio
of receivers followed named Drisan James, Legedu Naanee and Gerard Rabb and
won a famous bowl game with that group on
January 1, 2007
. How do you replace those Three
Jeremy Childs was one answer and he was due to play his
senior year this season but decided to enter the National Football League draft
instead. The Broncos are out of
If you thought so, you wouldn't be a very good student of
recent history. The
coaches have been uncanny at uncovering the hidden gems in the college football
recruiting world. Brock Forsey.
Tim Brady. Colt Brooks.
Vinny Perretta. Ryan Winterswyk. Those are some of the
walk-ons who have gone on to great success at Boise State.
Enter the young man who is going to be the next one:
Tyler Shoemaker (6-1, 207, So.) out of
. An All-State player as a senior,
he has improved by leaps and bounds. He
led all receivers with six catches in
's first fall scrimmage. Even a
casual Bronco fan will remember him catching two touchdowns last year from
Kellen Moore and Bush Hamdan against
. The more avid fans among us are
jumping up and down about this guy.
Austin Pettis has been working hard in the offseason and
should be even better this fall. That's
interesting, because Bronco fans are already quite happy with this talented
receiver. The consummate possession
receiver, Pettis runs great routes and has great hands and incredible leaping
ability. At 6-3, Pettis poses
matchup problems with smaller defensive backs.
Pettis was second on the team with 46 receptions as a freshman with 465
yards and six touchdowns. Pettis has
blossomed before our eyes, grabbing 49 receptions for 567 yards and nine
touchdowns. And he's only a
junior. Fans looking for #87 at wide
receiver will be scratching their heads—he's now #2.
Titus Young (5-11, 170, Jr.) like Pettis played as a
freshman and showed so much promise. On
the field, he can't be beat. The
rest of the Bronco team needs to help Titus along, for he can make big
contributions to the team this fall. He
caught 44 passes for 639 yards and five scores as a freshman.
Bronco fans would love to see similar numbers this fall, for that would
mean Young has developed as the player and the man everyone wants him to be.
There's a bevy of talent behind those three.
Mitch Burroughs (5-9, 188) was
's Offensive Scout Player of the Year last season and is more than ready to
show what he can do as a redshirt freshman.
He was the Southern Idaho Conference Player of the Year as a junior at
, totaling 994 yards receiving on 56 receptions with 23 touchdowns.
He also played running back that season and gained 650 yards on 100
carries. Burroughs joined the Bronco
program in 2008 initially as a grayshirt. He's
Chris Potter (5-9, 161) earned All-California three times
and the prized 2008 recruit is eager to show what he can do after a redshirt
season. He was named the L.A. Daily News Offensive Player of the Year as a quarterback his
senior year. Potter played receiver
prior to that, catching 48 passes as a junior, 35 as a sophomore and 34 as a
Senior Michael Choate (6-0,190) will also see the field
continues to land recruits in more of the 50 states--Choate came to the Broncos
Aaron Burks (6-2, 186) has been lighting it up in practice;
the Grand Praire,
star was named all-conference as a senior in high school, hauling in 32 passes
for 535 yards and four touchdowns. Add
in Kirby Moore (6-2, 196, Fr.) and Geraldo Hiwat (6-4, 189, Fr.) and you have a
great supporting cast to Pettis, Young and Shoemaker should the need arise.
It is the general feeling in Bronco circles that one of these true
freshmen will play this fall.
had 131 receptions for 2,126 yards and 34 TD's (breaking his own Washington
state record) as a senior, 75 catches for 1,350 yards and 29 touchdowns as a
junior, 61 receptions for 788 yards and 18 scores as a sophomore and he grabbed
37 passes for 645 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman.
did not just break the 12 year-old national record of 73 career high school
receiving touchdowns; he completely shattered it by getting 95. Hiwat
played one season at
and was named All-Southern Idaho Conference, catching 41 passes for 502 yards
and five touchdowns and returning six punts for a 17.8 average.
Jake Johnston (5-11, 186, Fr.) and Preston Minter (5-8,
177, Fr.) walked on this fall and the former Eagle High School and Timberline
High School stars, respectively, hope to continue the great tradition of local
walk-ons that enjoy success at Boise State.
earned all-conference honors as a senior; Minter earned 10 varsity letters at
's history of tight end has been one of reloading as well in recent years.
First there was Jeb Putzier, whose amazing combination of size and speed
was a thing of beauty. Jeb is
entering his ninth season in the National Football League in his second tour of
duty with the Denver Broncos. Derek
Schouman was a four-year player in much the same mold of Putzier.
A great blocker with blazing speed, Schouman now starts for the Buffalo Bills. Julian Hawkins was the next
in line after Schouman and Hawkins is now with the Dallas Cowboys.
It is difficult to imagine Boise State's current two
tight ends, junior Tommy Gallarda (6-5, 250) and sophomore Kyle Efaw (6-4, 229)
not joining that trio in the professional ranks.
They both are excellent blockers and receivers.
Last fall, former
star Kyle Efaw began to develop into the type of player
envisioned. Efaw had 17 catches for
262 yards (15.4 per catch). Gallarda
had six catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Richie Brockel (6-2, 240) is one of only five seniors on the Bronco
roster—he'll see time at both fullback and tight end.
Trevor Peterson (6-2, 245, Fr.) was one of the gems of last
year's recruiting class, making the all-conference team in
three consecutive years. Gabe Linehan (6-3, 213, Fr.) was another of the great 2009 recruits, as
stole the Banks,
product right from under the Ducks and Beavers.
Linehan is a talented athlete who was named All-Oregon as a linebacker
his senior year. Linehan had 130
tackles, 18 for loss, three sacks and an interception for a touchdown.
He also played quarterback, throwing for over 3,900 yards in 17 games.
Chandler Koch (6-2, 244, Fr.) is yet another tremendous talent and
another gem plucked from the
recruiting hotbed. As a senior,
Koch was named as the #3 tight end in the
area and #35 in the country (ESPN.com), catching 24 passes for 356 yards and a
Sean King (6-3, 240, Jr.) will look for playing time this
season as well. The former
product walked on in 2008 and redshirted last season.
It is truly amazing what the
coaching staff has been able to do in continuing to find gems in each
recruiting class at each position, and the ten-year history of receivers
exemplifies this talent. How do they
do it? Bronco fans don't know for
sure, but they are thrilled at the talent level of the 2009 receivers.