In what other place do 18-year-old kids get so much attention from creaky old adults? Pop music? Yeah, probably pop music. Football, too, has its own obsession with youth, one that football coaches prefer to keep repressed with redshirts and grayshirts. But every so often, one or two recent high school grads get onto the field. If you were born in 1994, say holla! (1994? I am so old.)
Roundtable: Which true freshman will have the biggest impact this season?
(Note: Many of these roundtable responses were given prior to the fall scrimmage and the major hints about which true freshman may actually play. So cut us some slack / gape at our awesome omniscience.)
The one who plays. Okay, so maybe that's a little joke...but no roundtable question so far has been as black and white as this one as it doesn't take into account potential as much as it does our lack of depth at certain spots. By no means do I think that our best 2013 commit will be the one that ends up playing this season (although he could). Rather, I think the player with the best opportunity to play is CB Jonathan Moxey. He's the only true freshman whose name has passed Chadd Cripe's lips and with Bryan Douglas fighting the Battle of Wounded Knee, I have to think that secondary spots are ripe for the taking. I still think that Donte Deayon and Douglas end up being the starters at eh left and right of the field, but I think a JC transfer (Deontae Florence or Mercy Maston) and a true frosh get pulled into backup and dime duty. I think Moxey looked the most physical and polished of the incoming guys, so he gets my vote for biggest impact by a true freshman this year.
Like I always say; when in doubt, go with the big guy. Kamalei Correa gets my vote for that reason, among a few others. My first inclination was to pick Nick Terry, but I have heard nothing but good stuff regarding Correa in fall camp and next to nothing on Terry. Correa is 6 foot 3, 250 pounds and turned down Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado (don't we all?), home-state Hawaii, Oregon State, San Diego State, Washington State and Wyoming before picking Boise State. Generally, when a guy spurns Pac-12 offers, he's expecting to play early. Well Mr. Correa, that could very well happen.
Chase's first inclination was to pick Nick Terry, and my first inclination is to copy Chase. Nick Terry will have the biggest impact as a true freshman because he plays the position with the least amount of depth and the most amount of rotating. It is not mathematically possible to have a four-man defensive tackle rotation with fewer than four men, and the Broncos are iffy on that number at this point. You have to do some creative math to get to four (five minus deuce, carry the Tyler Horn), and what if injuries/suspensions/life happen as they do? Armand Nance - a fullback by trade - played defensive tackle as a true freshman last year. I see the same future for Nick Terry.
Since my two favorite named incoming freshman (Moxey and Kamalei) were already picked, and Kevan stole Nick, I've decided to go with the freshman who has the greatest chance of becoming a four year starter, and likely starting in the first game. As seen here, the position battle between Kevin Klein and Matt Cota for long snapper is likely the most intense position battle in camp. Matt Cota, the Eagle High standout can solidify a position of need for the Broncos following the departure of senior Chris Roberson. I'd give him an edge on Klein based on this 68-second highlight video, and the fact that no one has mentioned Klein as the camper of the day. If not Cota, then Martarano will likely contribute in both special teams and in defensive rotation. He's gigantic.
For me, it's the athlete who has the ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage: Jonathan Moxey. It's not even close.
First, the cornerback position has some question marks with Bryan Douglas having parts some aftermarket parts in his knee either from a dead person OR HIS OWN hamstring (most likely). On the other side, Donte Deayon weighs 155 soaking wet after downing a Chipotle burrito. It's very reasonable that opposing offenses attempt to take advantage of either of them from the get go.
Second, the JC transfers will figure into the rotation because they have mature bodies and have game experience. With that experience, however, can come bad habits. Not saying they are there, but it's possible Coach Lake will have to retrain those guys just as much as the Freshies.
Third, IMHO Moxey is ahead of the other true freshman and Deayon at this time last year as a freshman. That's not to take anything away from Primetime (Deayon), but it took him an extra two months of practices and game prep plus some injuries in the secondary to see the field. I think Moxey plays from Day One. But, as they say, only time will tell... Correa and Boesen might also hit the ground running.
Okay so maybe I cheated a little bit here. I intentionally waited for the fall scrimmage to make my true freshman picks.
After hearing the buzz around certain names in fall camp, and seeing the buzz during the fall scrimmage, there are two names that stand out to me as freshman who could see significant playing time.
First: Gabe Perez. Oh - I'm sorry, you've never heard of him? Yeah - me either. I never heard his name tossed around in fall camp, and it wasn't one that stood out to me on LOI day. But when I saw the mammoth 33, standing straight up at the defensive line, I had to look down at my reference sheet. Gabe Perez looked like an angry Shea McClellin out there. In all of the drills I watched, Perez was constantly forcing Nick Patti to reenact his "throw it over the goal-post drills". With a somewhat depleted defensive front, Gabe Perez has a great chance to work his way into the regular rotation and get some significant playing time in 2013.
Second: Aaron Baltazar. So what if we're 17 deep at the running back position, amirite? Jay Ajayi seems to be the clear-cut number 1. Behind him, Coach Pete feels like any of the stable could be ready to go - his words, not mine. Many thought Thomas or Fields would be the number 2 back, and that Baltazar would redshirt this year (myself included). However, many would be wrong with that assumption (myself included), based on the freak display of athleticism that I saw Sunday night at the scrimmage. One upon a time, Coach Pete compared Baltazar to Doug Martin. At the fall scrimmage, we found out why. Baltazar has put on 30 lbs since his recruitment to Boise State. Originally penciled in at 185lbs, Baltazombie showed up at 215! He was fast, explosive, strong, and jittery (in the best sense of the word). If he keeps this up, the coaches won't be able to keep him off the field - he's just too good. Boise State - 1, Washington - 0.
Which one of us hot air balloons is correct? Vote with your comments and with your mouses (poll below).