We're at our 3rd palindrome of the countdown, so math nerds rejoice!
We've got 77 days until kickoff ... so today we'll be taking a look at number 77 on the Bronco roster—Spencer Gerke
#77, Spencer Gerke, Sophomore, OG
Weight: 290 lbs.
High School: Bishop Kelly High School, Boise, ID
How'd he get to The Blue?
Before Capital High became the Broncos hot new local recruiting bed, Bishop Kelly was the main provider of scholarship players and walk-ons for the Broncos. At Bishop Kelly, Gerke was a stud on both sides of the ball, named all-state as an offensive lineman and defensive lineman his senior year. He was also named All-SIC from both sides of the line-of-scrimmage as well. Gerke's only offer came from the Broncos and he signed with the class of 2008, then grayshirted.
Fellow lineman Zach Waller
Ranked as the 63rd best player on 2008's Northwest 100. First team all-state on offense and defense as a senior at Bishop Kelly (made 69 tackles, seven pass breakups, two sacks and an interception on defense). Named team captain his senior year. Played in three games for the Broncos in 2010.
Me saying he looked like boxer Eric "Butterbean" Esch for last year's lookalike. It was the bald head, I swear.
Bishop Kelly High School in Boise used to be THE recruiting hotbed for the Broncos before it was usurped by Capital High. Former Bronco luminaries like Colt Brooks, Tim Brady, and Tad Miller all came through the private school. Senior Cedric Febis came through BK by way of Amsterdam and walk-on Jake Hardee was a Knight as well, but Gerke is the last scholarship athlete to come out of the school, so expectations are high that he may become the next Tad Miller, a dominant guard who becomes entrenched at the position. I still think he could be...but he'll need to strike now.
Joe Kellogg and Jake Broyles ended Spring ball with the first team, and at least Kellogg will remain there. Behind them are Faraji Wright, Chuck Hayes, and Brenel Myers—all very capable reserves and all capable of grabbing a starter slot. So why hasn't Gerke generated the same buzz as the aforementioned? Well, mainly because of his shorter tenure. Gerke committed himself fully to offseason weight gain while using his grayshirt and now has the body of a very solid OG, it's just a matter of getting enough time on the first and second teams to really make a push for a starting slot. Next year, the Broncos only lose linemen Thomas Byrd (starter), Chuck Hayes, Nate Potter (starter), and Zach Waller to graduation but have Marcus Henry (a guard) and Rees Odhiambo coming in—sledding won't get any easier. Given the amount of combinations the Bronco coaching staff generally try out on the O-line until they find the perfect fit, I'd say that Gerke has better-than-average odds to at least get a look this Fall. If he can't lock down a spot on at least the two-deep, all hope is not lost—Gerke's a scrappy kid and I think he'll continue to forage for a position on the starting line, even if it means a shift to center, where Thomas Byrd will also be vacating a spot in 2012. He may take longer than fellow BK alum Tad Miller did to find his place on the Bronco roster, but rest assured, Gerke will find it. Get after it, boy!
Completely made up fact
Gerke's colossal post-graduation weight gain can be attributed mostly to eating at Chuck-a-Rama. However, frequent trips to the Boise buffet have left him with a permanent, lingering old-person smell.