Making the Transition

The members of the 2009 Boise State recruiting class have now been introduced to Bronco football and they've learned what it takes to get on the field. This fall, we'll see if they indeed have what it takes. Photos are courtesy of rights reserved.

BroncoCountry features the "Recruiting Class Report Cards" each year during the Countdown to the season opener. As most members of the 2009 Boise State class redshirted last season, this is the first progress report of the 2009 class.

There were 21 members of the class introduced to Bronco fans on LOI Day in February of that year. A few have already seen playing time and several others are making noise with their strong play on the scout team and in practices this year.

Nickel back Winston Venable (5-11, 223, Sr.) has without doubt made the biggest impact of this group. Often junior college transfers do not successfully make the jump to major college football. The game is simply much different at this level than that which JC transfers are used to. Venable, however, is a notable exception. Without Winston at the nickle back position, Boise State would not have been perfect last season. Venable astounded fans and Bronco coaches with his play early on that won him a starting job. He just seemed to get better from there. Winston was third on the Bronco defense with 63 tackles, 8 for loss, and had 2 interceptions and 5 pass breakups. Venable's interception of a tipped pass secured Boise State's 17-10 Fiesta Bowl win over #3 TCU earlier this year.

Kirby Moore (6-2, 196) is the only other member of the class to play last season and the only freshman. Moore, who runs a 4.6 40, is of course the brother of Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore. After burning his redshirt, Kirby caught 21 passes for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns. That's a good start, but hardly Prosser-like numbers. Moore shattered the national high school record with 95 TD career receptions at Prosser High School in Washington (The previous record was 83.) Moore had 131 catches for 2,126 yards and 34 touchdowns in his senior year alone. He had 2 catches for 13 yards in the final fall scrimmage, overshadowed by another member of the 2009 class. The question for Kirby is: ‘Can he continue to grow as a receiver and make the transition to college football in order to enjoy success that remotely approaches that he had in high school?'

Besides Moore, two other wide receivers were members of the 2009 Bronco class. Geraldo Hiwat is also from The Netherlands by way of Capital High School. The learning curve for Hiwat (6-4, 289) has flattened this fall as he has been one of the top performers among the Bronco receivers. Hiwat led the team with 4 catches for 48 yards in the team's last scrimmage. Aaron Burks (6-2, 186) is yet another student-athlete from the ever-expanding Texas pipeline to Boise State. Burks runs a 4.5 40 and has been "wowing" people with his play and athletic ability. He had just one catch in the scrimmage but it was for 33 yards.

Bronco fans are excited about the defensive linemen in this class. Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe (6-3, 282) was considered a huge "get" for Boise State. A native of The Netherlands, Tjong-A-Tjoe has tremendous upside but is still adjusting to the American level of play.

In addition to Tjong-A-Tjoe, the Broncos signed defensive ends Nick Alexander (6-4, 237), Kharyee Marshall (6-1, 207) and Justin Jungblut (6-4, 241). All are exciting pass rushers who have been wreaking havoc in the backfield in practice.

Offensive tackle Charles Leno (6-3, 249) has that huge frame that conditioning coach Tim Socha can mold into a monster of a lineman. Jake Broyles (6-4, 257) is another giant that Coach Chris Petersen and his staff brought to Boise. Bryant Thomas (6-2, 250) is out of Capital High School in Boise and was recruited to play guard but is not on the roster.

Boise State signed two quarterbacks in this class: Mikey Tamburo and Joe Southwick. Each brings their own unique set of skills. Tamburo (5-11, 183) has great running ability and completed 1 of 2 passes in the final scrimmage for 6 yards. Southwick (6-1, 182) connected on 9-of-15 passes for 112 yards in the scrimmage. Joe has shown amazing grasp of the complex Bronco offense at this stage of his career and was awarded Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year last fall.

Cornerbacks Ebenezer Makinde (5-11, 177) and Quaylon Ewing (6-0, 183) will make a bid for playing time at cornerback this fall. Makinde came to Boise State as a 5-9, 163-pound freshman but he has grown. Makinde runs a 4.52 40 and could see action as a punt returner before his career is through. Ewing, a Kempner High School product from Sugar Land, Texas, runs a 4.66 40. Safety Jonathan Brown (5-10, 202, #32 in photo) is a promising prospect. Boise State won out over Colorado for his services and the Broncos are looking for big things from Brown. Jonathan played both quarterback and linebacker at Encina High School in California, leading his team to a North Coast Section Division III championship. Brown accounted for all five of his team's touchdowns, throwing for three and rushing for two. He also had 10 tackles, a blocked punt and a sack that forced a fumble and led to the go-ahead touchdown.

Gabe Linehan (6-3, 213), Allen Mooney (5-10, 211) and John Michael Davis (6-0, 210) were young linebackers in the 2009 class. Davis runs a 4.5 40 while Mooney has been clocked at 4.6. Mooney chose Boise State over UCLA, Army, Stanford, Oregon and others. Mooney had 106 tackles at Seattle's O'Dea High School despite missing three games. Davis was suspended during fall ball for undisclosed reasons. He is attending class currently but is not practicing and his status is unknown.

Finally, Malcolm Johnson was a promising prospect for the future but could not balance the rigors of college studies and football and is not on the team.

The upside of this class is great but potential doesn't get you playing time nor does it win football games. The time for this group to assert itself is now.

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