A Class of Destiny

The Boise State Class of 2006 was recruited prior to the Broncos' Perfect Season and Fiesta Bowl date with Oklahoma. Little did they know it at the time, but they would be a part of the greatest success in the history of the school. Expectations are high for this group in their senior years. Are they up to the challenge and can they fulfill their date with destiny?

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This is the day of reckoning for the Boise State recruiting class of 2006.  Nearly all of them are seniors and this is their last "hurrah".  One member has two years left.  What will the final chapter look like for members of the '06 class?

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It was immediately apparent that one of the stars would be safety Jeron Johnson.  Johnson made an impact from day one, literally.  He is a huge hitter in the secondary that has inspired the entire unit to play more physical and aggressive.  There isn't a conference receiver cutting across the middle of the field that isn't aware of his reputation or his presence.  Johnson had 98 tackles, three fumble recoveries, three interceptions, seven pass breakups and 4.5 tackles for loss in his sophomore season, one of the finest years you'll ever see for a safety.

What did Johnson do for an encore?  He had 91 stops, 1.5 for loss, with four interceptions, six pass breakups, a forced fumble and the recovery.  Johnson (5-11, 195, Sr.) has been named to the Lindy's, Athlon Sports and The Sporting News preseason All-Western Athletic Conference teams.  He is getting noticed for all the right reasons now.  Johnson is in position to become just the fourth secondary member in school history to finish his career as one of the top 15 tacklers of all-time.  Johnson, with 243 tackles heading into his senior season, needs 42 tackles to make that list.   

The '06 class also included three linemen--Nate Potter, Kevin Sapien and Matt Slater who have made abundant contributions to Boise State 's success.  All three started as sophomores.

Potter (6-6, 297, Sr. and #73 in the photo) became an All-WAC left tackle last season for the Broncos and has tremendous upside with definite National Football League potential.  Bronco coaches have said they want to move him to left guard to get the best five linemen on the field.  Potter is one of the best pass protectors the school has ever seen.  Even though he would make a tall guard, Potter has the technique to get great leverage and will do fine wherever he plays.  Nate chose Boise State over Utah during his recruiting.

Slater (6-4, 290, Sr.) had five starts at left tackle last year. He has exhibited quick feet in getting the job done.  Slater, who came to Boise State over an offer from Indiana, is also an All-WAC All-Academic honoree. 

Sapien announced prior to spring practice that he was retiring from football.  He said he used to have about 10 stingers a day that caused his arm to go numb.  Kevin had three surgeries on his right knee.  He had shoulder surgery and would have needed to have the other operated on if he were to continue.  Kevin was very courageous to go through all that pain and still get out there and give it his best.  His decision had to have been painful as well but was a wise one—we wish him all the best in pursuit of his degree and in his future endeavors.

In addition to those three, Will Lawrence (6-2, 300, Sr.), who came to Boise State as a deffensive lineman, switched to the other side of the ball and has excelled at starting right guard.  Lawrence is the best run blocker of the offensive line and brings that nasty defensive attitude that Bronco coaches are looking for in their linemen.  Lawrence is tough and physical and moves well.

There has been no better inspirational leader in recent memory than linebacker Derrell Acrey (6-1, 233).  Acrey is the player that gets his teammates fired up time and time again and that contribution alone is invaluable.  He had 34 tackles last year, 5.5 for loss with two interceptions and a pass breakup.  Darrell brings speed, strength, size and tremendous heart to the position.  The Broncos are counting on Acrey for huge contributions this fall.

Quarterback Michael Coughlin (6-5, 213, Sr.) is one of the most capable backup quarterbacks in the nation who should get several looks from NFL scouts.  Coughlin is a strong passer who was12-19 in his limited duty last year.  He has great knowledge of the Bronco offense and unlike starter Moore, is a very efficient runner.  Coughlin is more than ready to step in and would give the position a dual threat, should the unthinkable happen to Moore .

Tight ends Kyle Efaw and Tommy Gallarda have been so valuable to the Bronco offense that it's hard to believe they came from the same class. 

Efaw had a breakout season that ended with him being named the 2010 Fiesta Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player.  It was Efaw who broke free over the middle for the famous "Riddler" pass from punter Kyle Brotzman on the fake play in the fourth quarter that resulted in Boise State 's winning touchdown.

Efaw (6-4, 242, Jr.) finally emerged as Moore 's third threat, albeit late in the season, catching 31 passes for 444 yards and a touchdown.  Kyle is everything the Broncos look for in a tight end—big, fast and a tough blocker with good hands.  He needs to be a vital part of the game plan from day one and one TD is much too low a figure for a star of his caliber.  Efaw caught 17 passes for 262 yards in 2008. 

Gallarda (6-5, 254, Sr. and #85 in photo) was a valuable option over the middle, especially in goal-line situations.  He had nine receptions for 110 yards but four scores.  Gallarda is another weapon that offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin needs to use more in his play-callling mix.  His pass catching ability is a bonus, as Gallarda's main strength is as a powerful blocker, both in the running game and in knocking off defenders for another receiver after the catch.

Cedric Febis saw action in all 14 games last season, recording 23 tackles, 1.5 for loss, with two pass breakups.  The 6-3, 198-pounder from the Netherlands is still raw but is a great athlete.  Febis has great size and should be an important commodity in the Bronco secondary this fall. 

Jason Robinson (5-11, 194, Sr.) is another hard-hitter that the Broncos hoped could step forward in the secondary.  Jason ran into some problems earlier this year and coaches are watching him to see how he will fit in this fall.  Robinson too chose Boise State following a visit to Utah .

Jarvis Hodge (5-9, 203, Sr.) is part of a highly-talented running back group.  He is the consummate Bronco, playing his role and readying himself for action.  Hodge made the most of his opportunities last season with 21 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown.

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. 

A great indicator of the success of a class is how many recruits graduate.  Certainly coaches would want to see at least half of them graduate and that is a good number to judge a class by.  Fourteen of the nineteen commits in the 2006 class are still on the roster or have completed their eligibility.  That is outstanding.  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, graduated with four years in the Bronco program. 

The 2006 class has produced far better.  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 helped take Boise State to new levels.  With their leadership, there is one more mountain to climb.  It will seem like no time at all until we are saying goodbye to all but Efaw on Senior Day in December.  We will enjoy watching them in this fun season and enjoy the ride that they are taking us on!


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