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Potential vs. production: An in-depth breakdown of Boise State's overachieving roster

Boise State has been one of the nation's best at making the most out of the players they have. Don't believe me? I have charts!

Join me after the jump for a look at Boise State's past recruiting classes and how those players will be ranked when their careers were through. What position do you think made the biggest jump from promise to production? Share your thoughts in the comments about the player ratings and the results.

The inspiration

I owe Georgia blogger David Hale all the credit for coming up with this idea and Senator Blutarsky for pointing me in Hale's direction. Oh, to be a Georgia fan and have posts like this every day in the offseason.

Hale wrote a two-part post on how Georgia recruiting classes have fared on their progression from promise to production. At the end, Hale was able to draw conclusions on recruiting rankings, Georgia players, and the strengths of the Bulldog coaching staff. I don't know if I will be that ambitious in this post, but I'll at least make some fancy charts. Fancier than David Hale's? Quite possibly!

The methodology

I went through the Boise State recruiting classes from 2004 to 2008 and copied down the Rivals' star ratings and the star ratings for each player. There were some discrepancies between the two sites, most notably in the ratings but also in the players involved and their positions.

To come up with the career ratings for the Bronco recruits, I stayed as true as possible to the system that Hale used for his Georgia analysis. Here it is:

1-star: A guy who came and went without any significant production of any kind. A career bench guy, career-ending injury case or someone booted from the team.

2-star: A player who was serviceable at times but whose primary contributions came in reserve or special teams duty.

3-star: A regular starter for at least a year or two, but never someone who routinely affected the outcome of the game.

4-star: A regular starter for at least two seasons who was among the better players in the conference at his position. A difference-maker, but not a superstar.

5-star: Game-changers who had significant impacts for at least two seasons and, in general, went on to be legitimate NFL prospects.

Some of the players that you will see on the list below have not completed their Boise State careers yet (or even started their careers in some instances). For these players, I made a judgment call on where I thought they might end up. I am completely open to debate on these decisions.

Not up for debate: Giving Marty Tadman a 6-star rating even though there is no such thing.

Boise State recruiting class ratings from promise to production

The 2004 recruiting class

2004 Pos Rivals Ranking Scout Ranking Career Ranking
Bryon Barmer DB 2 1 1
Sean Bingham DE 2 2 3
Tanyon Bissell WR   1 2
Joe Bozikovich DT 2 2 3
Ryan Clady OL 2 2 5
Jameson Davis K 2 3 1
Dallas Dobbs LB 2   3
Philip Edwards DE 2 2 2
Cameron Filkins DT 2 1 1
Toshi Franklin WR 2 2 2
Kyle Gingg LB 2 2 3
Jon Gott OL 2 1 3
Bush Hamdan QB 2 2 2
Julian Hawkins TE 2 2 3
Casey Herron LB 2 2 1
Ian Johnson RB 2 2 5
Micah Kormylo OL 2   1
Marcosus LeBlanc DB 3 3 1
Chris O'Neill TE 2 2 3
Ellis Powers DB 2 2 3
Rashaad Richards ATH 2 2 1
Nick Schlekeway DE 2 2 4
David Shields RB 2 2 3
Joshua Smith WR 2 3 1
Marty Tadman ATH 3 3 5
Tim Volk DE 2 1 1
Mike Williams DE 2   4
Andrew Woodruff OL 2 2 4


  • I had no idea who some of these people were. Hence, 1s for all of them.
  • As you will see through the rest of these ratings, I left in all the players who may have transferred or never even shown up in Bronco camp. David Hale did not do his list this way. We are so like the Odd Couple!
  • Anyone remember Marcosus LeBlanc? Other than Tadman, LeBlanc was the Rivals' only 3-star recruit.
  • Ian Johnson and Ryan Clady going from 2-star to 5-star is a pretty impressive feat in my book.
  • I wanted very badly to give Ellis Powers a 4-star career rating, but he just didn't start enough games.
  • Sigh. Bush Hamdan.

The 2005 recruiting class

2005 Pos Rivals Ranking Scout Ranking Career Ranking
Richie Brockel TE 2 2 5
Jeremy Childs WR 4 3 4
Jadon Dailey OL 2 3 3
Jameson Davis K 2   1
Dennis Ellis DE 2 4 3
Cameron Filkins OL 2   1
Aiona Key ATH 3 2 2
Nick Lomax QB 2 2 1
Paul Lucariello OL 2 2 2
Tristin Patin WR 2 2 1
Jerard Rabb WR 3 4 3
Orlando Scandrick WR 3 3 4
Matt Schweitzer TE 2 2 1
Kyle Seevers QB 3 3 1
Nathan Thomas LB 3 2 1
Kyle Wilson DB 2 2 5


  • The Brockel-Wilson class was quite top heavy. Scandrick and Childs were the only other four stars I saw.
  • Should Jadon Dailey have been higher than a 3-star for his career? I remember him being good, but "difference-maker" just didn't seem to fit.
  • Sigh. Nick Lomax. Kellen Moore is really killing these QB career ratings for everyone else.
  • Safe to say that Jeremy Childs lived up to his expectations?
  • Safe to say that Dennis Ellis did not?

The 2006 recruiting class

2006 Pos Rivals Ranking Scout Ranking Career Ranking
Derrell Acrey LB 3 2 3
Ben Chandler LB 2 2 1
Mike Coughlin QB 3 3 2
Kyle Efaw TE 2 2 4
Tommy Gallarda TE 3 2 3
Jarvis Hodge RB 2 2 1
Jeron Johnson DB 2 2 4
Will Lawrence DE 2 2 3
David Lowery K 2 2 1
Xavier Lucas WR 2 2 1
Keith McGowen DB 2 2 1
Nate Potter OL 2 2 5
Kapono Rawlins-Crivello DE 2 3 1
Jason Robinson ATH 2 2 2
Kevin Sapien OL 2 2 3
Matt Slater OL   1 3
Sione Tavake DT 2 2 1
Garrett Tuggle LB 2 3 1
Webster Patrick RB 2   1


  • Nate Potter is on the Ryan Clady NFL career fast track. Am I being too kind in giving him a 5-star career rating?
  • I might be a little too kind on Efaw as well, but I think he will be one of the Broncos' best tight ends by the end of his career.
  • Again with the underproductive QB. I did not remember Mike Coughlin being a 3-star recruit.
  • It killed me a little inside to give Jarvis Hodge a career rating of 1.
  • Anyone know the story on Kapono Rawlins-Crivello?

The 2007 recruiting class

2007 Pos Rivals Ranking Scout Ranking Career Ranking
Chase Baker DT 2 2 3
Mitch Burroughs RB 2 2 2
Thomas Byrd OL 2 2 4
Garcia Day DB 3 3 2
Brad Elkin K 2 3 2
Cedric Febis DB 2 2 2
DJ Harper RB 3 2 4
Chuck Hayes DE 2 2 2
Matt Kaiserman RB 2 2 2
Doug Martin RB 2 2 4
Shea McClellin DE 2 2 3
Kellen Moore QB 3 4 5
Antwan Murray DB 2 3 2
JP Nisby OL 2 2 2
Dan Paul LB 2 2 3
Garrett Pendergast DT 3 3 3
Austin Pettis WR 3 3 5
Nate Potter OL 2   5
Jarrell Root DE 2 2 2
Aaron Tevis ATH 2 2 4
Brandyn Thompson WR 2 2 4
Johnny Tivao DT 2 3 1
Dominique Vinson ATH 2 1 1
Zach Waller OL 2 2 1
Hunter White WR 2 3 3
Billy Winn DE 3 3 4
Titus Young ATH 3 3 4
Cory Yriarte OL 2 2 2


  • I felt bad giving Chase Baker a 3-star rating, but I see him as 1b to Billy Winn's 4-star 1a. Maybe that will change before Baker's career is through? I just see too much talent on the D-line to give Baker time to become that game-changer that a 4-star would necessitate.
  • A 4-star for Brandyn Thompson assumes that we will get the good Fiesta Bowl Brandyn Thompson and not the bad Fiesta Bowl Brandyn Thompson.
  • I was also pretty generous with Aaron Tevis in giving him a 4-star rating. My thinking: I would have given 4 stars to Colt Brooks, and I think Brooks and Tevis will end up being the same player.
  • I have no idea why Hunter White is listed as WR.
  • Funny, I didn't remember Kellen Moore being a 4-star when he was recruited.
  • A very deep, very solid class all around. If Garcia Day can be a unanimous 3-star coming in and end his career as a borderline 2-star, this class has it going on.

The 2008 recruiting class

2008 Pos Rivals Ranking Scout Ranking Career Ranking
Michael Atkinson DT   1 3
Van Drumgoole WR 2 2 1
Bronson Durrant OL 2 2 2
Spencer Gerke DE 2 2 2
Greg Grimes DT 3 2 2
Byron Hout LB 3 3 3
George Iloka ATH 2 2 4
Tyler Jackson DB 3 3 2
Joe Kellogg OL 2 2 3
Chandler Koch TE 2 3 3
Darren Koontz OL 2 2 2
Raphiel Lambert RB 2 3 2
Daron Mackey LB 2 4 3
Brenel Myers OL 2 2 4
Chris Potter ATH 3 3 2
Tommy Smith LB 2 2 2
Jack Sula RB   2 1
Tom Swanson OL 2 2 1
Jamar Taylor DB 3 3 3
Faraji Wright OL 2 2 3


  • I was very close to not including this class because it is so early in these players' careers.
  • A lot of pure guesses on this one. Hopefully Tyler Jackson will be motivated by his 2-star.
  • I didn't put any players down as 5-stars because I really have no idea which ones will become the next Cladys and Wilsons. Maybe Brenel Myers? He was the closest in my mind.
  • It's a shame that Mackey has had so many injury problems in his BSU career. I wanted so badly for him to be a 4-star.


The numbers above are interesting enough (and debatable enough), but let me add another layer by totaling up each class and position. First, with the classes.

As you can see in the chart below, the Broncos' best recruiting class by a pretty good margin was its 2007 class. Not only that, the 2007 class also saw the second-highest jump from promise to production during this five-year period. As for 2006, shame on you!

Year Rivals Scout Career Avg Diff
2004 2.00 1.75 2.54 0.66
2005 2.44 2.25 2.38 0.03
2006 2.05 2.00 2.00 -0.02
2007 2.25 2.29 2.89 0.62
2008 2.05 2.35 2.25 0.05

The position review is interesting, too. Tight ends and offensive linemen had the biggest jumps from recruiting potential to on-field production. QBs and RBs were two of the three positions that saw a decline.

Position Rivals Scout Career Avg Diff
DB 2.39 2.33 2.56 0.20
DL 2.09 2.09 2.27 0.18
K 2.52 2.52 1.82 -0.70
LB 2.17 2.17 2.33 0.16
OL 1.91 1.68 2.64 0.85
QB 2.60 2.80 2.20 -0.50
RB 1.89 1.78 2.56 -0.73
TE 2.14 2.14 3.14 1.00
WR 2.33 2.50 2.50 0.08


A lot of these rankings are subjective due to the random nature of scouting for non-BCS teams. David Hale's Georgia story probably worked better because the players he was rating came in with more career-type stars. Nevertheless, I think it is very interesting to see which players made good on their promise and which ones exceeded expectations with the Broncos.

Not only that, but the position rankings show that Boise State does a solid job of turning offensive linemen into stars and in squelching career aspirations for one-fourth of its QB recruits. I think that some of this information is tainted by the fact that lineman naturally tend to come in with lower star ratings because they are harder to project, and QBs and RBs have higher ratings because they are the easiest to watch and judge. Still, kudos to the Bronco line coaches for making some legendary players out of some fairly average recruits.

Your turn

What do you make of these ratings? Are there some players from the recruiting classes that you would have ranked differently? Are you surprised by the rise and fall by position and by class? Share your thoughts in the comments.