Superlative!

Once in a while, a recruiting class comes along that grabs your attention from the beginning. Boise State's 2007 class is one that all others will be measured by. (Note: Images are the property of Foto208.com and Boise State University--all rights reserved.)

Boise State signed 26 recruits in the 2007 class.  The Bronco coaches will be hard-pressed to ever come up a class this good.  Whatever they did to bring in this group needs to be bottled up and repeated year after year.

These 26 signed with Boise State after the famous 2007 Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma in Glendale , Arizona .  Four years later, career records for receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, passing attempts, completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense yards at Boise State are in serious jeopardy by members of the 2007 Bronco recruiting class. 

This amazing class has already set two NCAA all-time records and helped to set three other modern records.  If they buckle down this fall, they could help put the existing college football power structure on its ear.  Numerous modern and NCAA records are within their reach.  Carpe Diem, Broncos.

Talk of this class has to begin with quarterback Kellen Moore (6-0, 187).  Moore, who redshirted in the 2007 season, became the first freshman to ever start a season opener at Boise State .  Many said that his performance at Prosser High School was a fluke, that it came against lesser competition (Prosser is not at the highest level of the Washington state high school power structure.)  They said that no way could you project those numbers to what Moore could do in college.

No, you can't do that.  But nonetheless, Moore 's time at Boise State is a continuation of what was achieved in high school. In his four years at Prosser, Moore hit 65.9% of his passes (787-1195 ) for 11,367 yards and 173 touchdowns vs. only 34 interceptions.  His 787 completions and 173 TDs were both Washington state career records.

Compare those statistics to what he has done in two years at Boise State. 528-836 for 6,789 yards and 64 touchdowns against only 13 interceptions. The 173 career TD passes is out of reach but those other marks that Moore made in high school now appear to be within range in college.

Moore is not only a unanimous choice among the preseason football magazines for All-WAC, but is Lindy's choice for All-America honors.and The Sporting News' pick for the second team. 

Last year Lindy said;  "If Moore can avoid getting caught up in the hype, the distractions that the media provides, he should do fine."  Often it is the mental part of the game that will bring someone down, and the comment is just as relevant this fall as it was last.  So this now is Moore 's toughest test.  The hype is coming at him like an artillery barrage.   We will find out if he has the inner armor to repel it.  If Kellen keeps his head on straight, there is no limit to what he can achieve.  That though, is a prerequisite for anything else that follows. 

Moore's 39 TD passes last season against only three picks set an all-time NCAA record.  Moore is well on pace to break Colt McCoy's record for wins by a college quarterback.

Whether Moore gets that latter record will depend upon the other members of this class.

Two wide receivers, in particular, will have a direct bearing on Boise State's success this fall.  The value of Austin Pettis (6-3, 201, Sr.) should be readily apparent to all Bronco and national college football observers.  When Pettis went down with an injury, the Bronco offense sputtered against Nevada and TCU.  When he was in the lineup, he set a school record with 14 TD receptions in 2009.  Pettis has 153 receptions in his stellar career for 1,887 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Two of the oldest records in the Boise State record book are receiving marks held by the legendary Bronco receiver Don Hutt.  Hutt led Boise State to a semifinal appearance in the Division II playoffs and along the way set school marks with 189 career receptions and 30 career receiving touchdowns.  It has been 37 years since Hutt played his last game at Boise State and no receiver has been able to topple him.

Pettis and Titus Young (5-11, 170, Sr.) make up one of the nation's best receiving duos—a story featuring the two is coming up later in the 45-Day Countdown.  Both have a real opportunity to break each of those records.  Pettis needs just 36 receptions this season to tie and 37 to break that record and just two touchdown catches will break Hutt's TD record.  Young's road is a little tougher since he sat out most of the 2008 season but the two marks can be reached for "TY".  Young needs 57 receptions and 15 TD catches to put his name at #1. 

Pettis is a phenomenal go-to receiver who can somehow create space in tight situations with long arms, great hands and jumping ability.  Young is a speedster (4.4 in the 40) with deep-ball potential on every play even if the defense knows it is coming.  Combined, they form a lethal pair.

Mitch Burroughs' (5-9, 188, So.) playing time was increased tremendously with the injury to Pettis.  Named the team's Offensive Scout Player of the Year in his redshirt season, Burroughs finished seventh on the team with 11 receptions for 92 yards and a score.  He also completed a pass for 16 yards.  Since Burroughs greyshirted in his first year, he has two years remaining.  Young and Pettis will be gone after this year, so the time to campaign for a starting job next fall is now for Mitch.  He is a 4.47 speedster and his production has to increase in 2010.

Although Tyler Shoemaker (6-1, 207, Jr.) wasn't a scholarship player in this class he is yet another walk-on success story.  "Shoe" walked on in 2007, the same time as Pettis, Young and Burroughs and the fact that he not only made the team but then earned a scholarship and is making a huge contribution is a testament to his ability.  Shoemaker had 21 catches for 345 yards and two scores last year and bigger things are expected from him to take pressure off of Young and Pettis.   

Center Thomas Byrd (5-11, 284, Jr.) was on the Rimington Trophy watch list last season. Usually, a player will continue to make the list in future years as they progress individually and as upperclassmen move on.  Thomas did not make the list this season.  That alone should give some impetus to him to take charge this fall.  Byrd did make the Athlon magazine preseason All-Western Athletic Conference team, but he was left off from The Sporting News and Lindy's choices.  Clearly he made an immediate impression in his freshman year but it is also apparent that he was work to do to reach his potential.

Garrett Pendergast (6-4, 271, 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 Scout.com in the 2007 recruiting class.  Much is expected of Garrett.  

Cory Yriarte (6-1, 281, Jr.) had a torn ACL that forced him to miss last season.  To complicate matters, he re-injured his knee prior to spring ball and did not practice.  Yriarte is a tremendous talent that can play several positions.  His status for 2010 at the moment is uncertain.

Zach Waller (6-5, 289, Jr. and #70 in the photo) 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.  

Cornerback Brandyn Thompson (5-10, 180, Sr.) had a phenomenal performance in Boise State 's 17-10 Fiesta Bowl win over TCU.  Michael McDonald's National Anthem had barely finished when Thompson stepped in front of Horned Frog quarterback Andy Dalton's pass and sprinted 51 yards into the end zone.  Thompson finished with two interceptions, a tipped pass that led to an interception to seal the victory for Boise State and seven tackles.  Thompson is becoming a lock-down corner that can hold his own on an island.  He recorded 45 tackles last year with a team-high six interceptions, three breakups and a fumble recovery.  He was named by Athlon Sports to the preseason All-WAC team in Athlon's football magazine.  Brandyn can reach the all-time top ten at Boise State in interceptions this fall.

D.J. Harper (the "Texas Tornado") showed his brilliance early last season before a injury in the Fresno State game that concerned all Bronco fans.  Reports are that Harper (5-9, 198, Jr) is back and is 100% and that is indeed good news. D.J. had 44 carries for 284 yards and three touchdowns in the three games, an average of 94.7 per game and 6.5 yards per carry.   Harper has that rare combination of speed and power that scouts in the National Football League should love.  Harper had 376 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman and 278 yards and four TD's as a sophomore.  The Broncos want to take care of D.J. this season—he is an amazing talent and can lead them to new heights.

Doug Martin (5-9, 201, Jr.) was slotted to play nickel back last season but two things (the incredible play of Winston Venable at the position and the injury to Harper) led Bronco coaches to the decision to move him to running back.  Martin was simply brilliant, giving the Boise State offense the power back they needed to finish their perfect season.  The Broncos simply would not have achieved it without Martin and there isn't a man on the team, the coaching staff or in the fan base that doesn't recognize that fact.  What better way to take pressure off of QB Moore than to have a running back like Martin who shoots to the line of scrimmage before defenses can see him?

Skyview High School star running back Matt Kaiserman (6-0, 188, So.) greyshirted his first year.  Coming off of a redshirt season, he impressed with his straight-ahead running.  Kaiserman helped to fill the huge void left by Harper's injury until an injury sidelined him as well.  He ran for 155 yards on 33 carries with a touchdown and also tossed an 11-yard pass for another score.  With that experience and plenty of time to heal, Kaiserman will be a vital part of the Bronco backfield this fall.

Dan Paul (6-0, 241, Jr. and #47 in the photo)) 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.   

Billy Winn (6-4, 288, Jr.) is only beginning to realize his potential.  Winn was named to Phil Steel's All-Freshman second team in 2008 and saw his star rise last fall.   His superb shot straight to the Oregon backfield last year resulted in a shocking tackle of LaGarrette Blount for a safety and was one of the key plays of the game.  Winn finished the year seventh on the team and first among linemen with 44 tackles, 12.5 for loss, six sacks, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Winn needs to keep the pressure up in all 12 games, even when the opponent may not be a Virginia or an Oregon. 

Tackle Chase Baker (6-1, 298, Jr.) personifies the "Blue-Collar Bronco".  He has worked tremendously hard to earn a starting job on the rapidly improving Boise State defense, and contributed to that reputation with 37 tackles, four for loss, with two sacks.  Along with Winn, he forms one of the best DT duos in school history.  Baker clogs up the middle with a motor that won't quit.

Shea McClellin (6-3, 262, Jr.) had a great fall camp that resulted in Shea becoming a big factor for the Bronco defense last season.  McClellin had 36 tackles, six for loss, with three sacks, an interception and two pass breakups.  Add this contribution to his key block of an Oregon field goal attempt in 2008 and you see why McClellin has become a valuable cog for the Bronco machine. 

Aaron Tevis (6-3, 228, Jr.) posted 54 tackles for the Broncos last year with 6.5 of them for loss, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.  Tevis excels in pass coverage with three interceptions and five pass breakups. 

Chuck Hayes (6-2, 290, Jr.), Jarrell Root (6-3, 259, Jr.) and J.P Nisby (6-1, 305, Jr.) are three of the other defensive linemen in this class.  Nisby had 12 tackles last season, 1.5 for loss.  Nisby was a California All-State player in high school and Bronco fans are hoping those numbers are tripled this fall.  Root had 11 tackles with one for loss and are looking for a big year for the Capital High School product after a sensational spring.  Hayes barely got his feet wet with four stops and his potential is for so much more.

Hunter White (5-11, 224, Jr. and #25 in the photo) is yet another outstanding defensive talent from this class.  He had a great spring last year that continued during the season with 37 stops last year, 4.5 for loss, an interception and two breakups. 

Antwon Murray (5-11, 177, Jr. and #31 in the photo) was a top recruit from the state of Florida .  He runs a 4.5 40 and was listed as Scout's 46th best defensive back in the nation.  He has been unable to break into the starting lineup at Boise State and has only seen spot duty.  

Brad Elkin (6-2, 201, Jr. and #49 in the photo) 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 was the only JC recruit of the group.  While Day was a huge hitter, he mostly made his mark on special teams. 

Just two of the 26 recruits in this class (Dominquez 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.


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