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Boise State roster preview: Running backs, fullbacks, and superheroes

Boise State's running backs are as good a group as you can find in the country, and I am not really being all that biased when I say that. How many yards will Doug Martin get this year? How many knee braces will D.J. Harper go through? And who is going to be our new Jarvis Hodge? Some answers are after the jump.

You are reading a position preview for the upcoming Boise State football season. Enjoy yourself immensely.

Position overview

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Doug Martin          
D.J. Harper D.J. Harper        
Jay Ajayi Jay Ajayi Jay Ajayi Jay Ajayi    
Malcolm Johnson Malcolm Johnson Malcolm Johnson
Drew Wright Drew Wright        
Raphiel Lambert Raphiel Lambert        
Zach Keiser Zach Keiser Zach Keiser Zach Keiser Zach Keiser  
Phillip Hogan Phillip Hogan Phillip Hogan Phillip Hogan Phillip Hogan  
  Jack Fields Jack Fields Jack Fields Jack Fields Jack Fields
  Devan Demas Devan Demas Devan Demas Devan Demas Devan Demas

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Dan Paul          
Chandler Koch Chandler Koch        
Jamal Wilson Jamal Wilson Jamal Wilson Jamal Wilson Jamal Wilson  

Projected starters are in bold. Projected redshirts are in italics

What are the odds ... ?

I have come up with a handful of scenarios that may befall the Broncos at the running back position this fall. OBNUG's Nick and I will assign a prediction in the form of a percentage based on the likelihood that each scenario may happen. Everyone confused enough? Good. Let's begin.

Doug Martin is a Doak Walker finalist

Kevan: Things to consider: 1) Boise State may run the ball more this year since its backs are better than its receivers, 2) Martin is expected to get the bulk of carries moreso than in previous seasons, and 3) I will chain myself to Chris Fowler if Martin is not a Walker finalist. So with those factors in mind, I'd put Martin's odds at a solid 40 percent. Is he one of the best three running backs in the country? Yes. Will his stats and publicity make voters realize this? I am 4/10 confident.

Nick: I'm going to put it at a hefty 50 percent based on nothing else but my gut feeling. I think he's running in 4th right now in terms of perception behind Trent Richardson, Marcus Lattimore and LaMichael James, so he could sneak into the top thee by year's end.

D.J. Harper finishes a whole year injury-free

Kevan: Call me crazy, but I predict a 90 percent chance that Harper makes it through the season injury-free. He is fully participating in Fall Camp, which is a great sign. His previous injuries were the result of random chance and not faulty knee DNA. He is no more likely to get injured this year than any other Bronco player, and I live my life thinking no Bronco player will ever get hurt. Bonus: We have contained the spirit of the turf monster onto a hat.


Nick: If this were season ending injury-free, I would put this at 100% because, seriously, what are the odds three years in a row? But I believe that a twisted ankle may rear its ugly head at a moment's notice, and that's why I'm putting this at a 50 percent chance.

Jay Ajayi plays as a true freshman

Kevan: The arrival of Malcolm Johnson and the emergence of Drew Wright aren't helping his case, but I feel that Ajayi still has a better than 50/50 chance of playing. Let's call it 60 percent. Yes, he's a great back with explosive skills and a nose for the end zone, but what will put him over the top and onto the field is the logjam at the position over the next few years. Redshirting Ajayi is only going to cause problems when you have studs like Jack Fields and Devan Demas incoming.  

Nick: I am putting this at an almost certain 85 percent. It sounds like promises were made during the recruiting process and if there's one thing I know about Boise State's promises to recruits (based on extensive research in EA's NCAA Football), Boise State keeps those promises. I expect to see Ajayi in some special sets designed to get him in space.


Boise State gets two 1,000-yard rushers

Kevan: Ha! In my dreams! (No really, I literally dreamed this.) The Broncos may end up running the ball more this season, but the job share at running back isn't going to produce two 1,000-yard backs. Jeremy Avery didn't even crack 500 yards last year as the backup. Zero percent chance. Oh wait. We're playing New Mexico and Wyoming? Twenty percent chance. 

Nick: Two 1,000-yard rushers hasn't happened at Boise State for years (at least not since 2005 since the stats don't go back that far) and I can't see this year being any different. I'm going to have to put this at a measly 10 percent chance. Even with Doug Martin and D.J. Harper injury free, I still don't know if there will be enough rushing attempts to make this happen.

Completely arbitrary rankings

Rank the following superheroes based on whatever criteria you deem important: Doug Martin, Dan Paul, Superman, Aquaman, Darkwing Duck.

  1. Aquaman
  2. Superman
  3. Doug Martin
  4. Darkwing Duck
  5. Dan Paul

Kevan: I based my list on super powers. Superman can fly. Doug Martin owns snakes. Dan Paul can use his abs to deflect bullets. Darkwing Duck is related to Scrooge McDuck. And I have no idea what Aquaman does.


  1. Superman
  2. Aquaman
  3. Doug Martin
  4. Dan Paul
  5. Darkwing Duck
Nick: This ranking is based purely on bench press. Is there a college football award for strongest backfield? If so, I think Boise State should be a finalist.


Bold predictions - Fear their boldness!

Our powers combine to come up with the following bold predictions. Feel free to come back here after the season to see how we did. 

  • Doug Martin breaks Ian Johnson's single-season record for rushing yards by gaining 1,800 yards
  • Drew Wright scores more touchdowns than D.J. Harper and Jay Ajayi combined
  • Doug Martin scores 10 receiving TDs on screen passes
  • Jay Ajayi scores five
  • Drew Wright and Jay Ajayi have 100-yard games
  • D.J. Harper has a 200-yard game
  • Raphiel Lambert runs over a linebacker in garbage time, just like Jarvis Hodge used to
  • We see the Stable formation (Martin, Harper, and Ajayi all in the backfield) at least once

Your turn

What are your predictions for Doug Martin's 2011 season? Will D.J. Harper be healthy the whole way through? Will Jay Ajayi play? What exactly is it that Aquaman does? Share your thoughts in the comments