The 2012 Boise State football season will be filled with opportunity, hopefully in the form of BCS riches and Craig James termination jokes, and most definitely in the form of Bronco players with a chance to shine. Here is my list of the top ten with something to prove next season.
No. 10 - Jake Van Ginkel. The kicker who was supposed to save the Broncos from Brotzman history repeating itself failed to do so. He got beat out by a pair of kickers whom Bronco fans are pretty sure they could beat in one of those halftime kicking contests. Will Van Ginkel stake a claim to his kicking throne this season? Goodness, I hope so.
No. 9 - Kharyee Marshall - A couple seasons ago, Marshall was a Dwight Freeney clone who wreaked havoc in the backfield at Bronco practice. Since then, he has been Mr. Cellophane. The Broncos need edge rushers in 2012. Badly.
No. 8 - Dan Paul. After missing a year with a redshirt-worthy injury, Paul will be back with a vengeance in 2012. People might die.
No. 7 - Geraldo Boldewijn. Thanks to a pimping Toyota Camry, Boldewijn got a late start on The Year of Geraldo. His final numbers were less than expected, but he has a chance to break out all over again in 2012 now that Tyler Shoemaker is out of the way.
No. 6 - Brenel Myers. Someone will have to replace the indomitable Nate Potter at left tackle, and Myers will definitely be in the running. He was projected as the next Ryan Clady way back in Boise State's 2010 Fiesta Bowl. That hasn't happened yet, unless Clady got outperformed in the middle of his career before blossoming. And I don't remember it that way.
No. 5 - Mike Atkinson. Mr. Canadian Bacon is the best Boise State defensive lineman remaining, and he was the sixth-best one just a few days ago. That's quite a jump to make, not unlike the jump from Canadian loonies and toonies to good old American silver dollars.
No. 4 - Gabe Linehan. Boise State has a history of producing stellar tight ends, and Linehan has showed flashes that he could be next in line.
No. 3 - Jay Ajayi. Despite some bowl prep problems, Ajayi remains the running back of the future, whenever that future may be. D.J. Harper is the man for next year, and Ajayi will find himself battling with Malcolm Johnson for playing time behind The Harp.
No. 2 - Jeremy Ioane. The Hawaiian super prospect was supposed to take Boise State by storm when he arrived on campus. His career thus far has been less storm and more inversion. He'll have a shot at a starting safety job in 2012, and all of Bronco Nation is holding its collective breath.
No. 1 - Either Joe Southwick, Grant Hedrick, Jimmy Laughrea, or Nick Patti. One of these guys will be the next Boise State starting quarterback, provided there are no Air Buds or Keanu Reeves planning on showing up.
What players do you think have something to prove in 2012? Who should have been on the list that wasn't? Share your thoughts in the comments.