Let's take a look back to the Boise State recruiting class from two years ago to see what they have achieved and contributed over the past two years as they head into the current season.
Individually, these recruits are great students and talented athletes, but when put together on the football field, they have produced some stunning results. Back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, two WAC Championships, a Fiesta Bowl victory and a #3 pre-season ranking headed into the 2010 season are just a few of the accomplishments on that list.
Michael Atkinson, the 6'-0" 332-pound defensive tackle out of Windsor, Ontario played 6 games in 2009. He had 8 tackles (3 solo, 5 assisted) and a pass deflection. One of those tackles came on the big stage of the Fiesta Bowl. Atkinson was named Boise State's Defensive Scout Player of the Year coming onto the team in 2008.
Tommy Smith(#33 in photo), the 6'-1", 218-pound linebacker out of Atlanta, Georgia, redshirted his first season at Boise State. In 2009, he played in 12 games and finished the season with 23 tackles (12 solo and 11 assisted) and one interception. He recorded a season high of seven tackles in the final regular season game. Look for #33, Tommy Smith, to produce in 2010.
#36 Greg Grimes, the 6'-0", 271-pound defensive tackle out of Sacramento, California redshirted his first year and only played in four games in 2009 after missing a majority of the season with an injury.
Jamar Taylor(#21 in photo), the 5'-11" 193-pound cornerback out of San Diego, California was able to land 22 tackles (17 solo and 5 assisted) and an interception in 2008. Not to mention, he was named to the All-WAC Academic Team. After redshirting in 2009, Taylor continued to impress in this year's fall camp. He has some giant shoes to fill as he looks to take over the role left behind by Kyle Wilson, who will be playing Sunday games with the New York Jets this year.
Daron Mackey(#45 in photo), this 5'-11", 233-pound linebacker out of Bakersfield, California was a junior college transfer in 2008. Last season, he recorded 36 tackles (20 solo and 16 assisted) with 1 forced fumble and 3 pass deflections. He recorded at least 1 tackle in 10 of the 11 games he appeared in, but had to sit out the rest of the year with a season-ending injury. Get ready for Mr. Mackey to dominate in 2010.
Faraji Wright, the 6'-3", 284-pound offensive tackle out of Vallejo, California redshirted his first year and only played in four games in 2009. However, he has already been named a Camper of the Day in this year's fall camp. As the Bronco offensive line continues to shift, Faraji should become quite the impact player.
Joe Kellogg(#61 in photo), the 6'-2", 305-pound offensive guard out of Scottsdale, Arizona redshirted his first season, but made an impact in 2009. He played in 10 games with one start. Kellogg returns in 2010 as part of a constantly-changing offensive line which led the nation in scoring with 42.2 points per game last season. Kellogg is a candidate to start at guard or center.
Darren Koontz, the 6'-3", 254-pound defensive tackle out of Los Alamitos, California redshirted his first year at Boise State, earning the Ultimate Blue Blood Award for being the most dedicated redshirt. In 2009, Koontz played in 13 games, finishing the season with 10 tackles and 2 for a loss. Look for Koontz to produce even bigger numbers this season as he returns to a fully loaded defense.
Chandler Koch(#88 in photo), the 6'-2", 244-pound tight end out of Flower Mound, Texas, came to Boise State ranked 35th in the nation for his position out of high school. He redshirted his first season and appeared in 9 games last season, catching two passes for a total of 17 yards. Look for Meyers to follow in the footsteps of Tommy Gallarda and Kyle Efaw as he becomes another prominent weapon in the offensive arsenal.
Brenel Meyers, the 6'2", 267-pound guard out of Houston Texas, was a key player in the Fiesta Bowl win over TCU. In only his second collegiate start, Meyers was assigned the role of blocking TCU All-American end Jerry Hughes. Meyers held Hughes to just four tackles and a pass deflection.
#8 George Iloka, the 6'-3" 207-pound safety out of Sugar Land, Texas has proven to be a vital piece of the Bronco secondary over the past two seasons. In 2008, Iloka was credited with 63 tackles (44 solo and 19 assisted) with one sack and 4 interceptions. In 2009, Iloka brought home 48 total tackles (32 solo and 16 assisted) with 1 interception and 5 pass deflections, including 6 tackles in the Fiesta Bowl.
Byron Hout(#94 in photo), the 6'-0", 241-pound defensive end out of Coeur d' Alene, Idaho has really made a name for himself. In his first season, he played in 10 games, finishing the year with a total of 27 tackles (14 solo and 13 assisted), a forced fumble, fumble recovery, quarterback hurry, interception and a pass deflection. Six of those tackles were for a loss of 39 yards with an added 4 sacks for a loss of 35 yards. In 2009, Hout played in every game and recorded 27 tackles, 6 of those being for a loss, 2 sacks and a pass deflection. Prepare to hear the name Byron Hout several times this season as he will play a significant role on the 2010 defensive squad.
Chris Potter, the 5'-9", 161-pound wide receiver out of Westlake Village, California redshirted his first season at Boise State. Potter appeared in 12 games in 2009, catching 8 passes for 60 yards. He also returned 10 punts, averaging 12.9 yards per return. Chris Potter's natural talent and athleticism will surely be showcased this season and in the years to come.
Each of these players share one common attribute beyond being recruited in the same class. Just a few short years ago, they each committed to Boise State as 2 or 3 star athletes, but through hard-work, loyalty and focus, each individual is groomed at a 4 or 5 star level while in a Bronco uniform. The overall outcome is that each of these gentlemen will eventually graduate from Boise State University in a class of their own. Not just as better athletes, but as better people.
This unique cycle of success witnessed by the nation year after year is a little something we like to call Boise State Football.