Boise State had some surprising performers this season and since this season is now over *sniff*, now might be a good time to speculate on who might just be the breakout Broncos of 2015.
Jabril Frazier, DE
Boise State enjoyed a stellar season from true sophomore Kamalei Correa in 2014 and the D-line returns nearly everyone next season. However, with the departures of ends Beau Martin and Mat Boesen, there's some roster room for next year. Of course, Boise State will always find a way to get playmakers on the field and Jabril Frazier looks like a darn good candidate. Frazier did not practice with the squad this year as he got his academic boat afloat, but he's been training hard and bulking up and looks like he could be a nice speed rusher off the edge in the Fall.
Jeremy McNichols, RB
McNichols is far from an unknown, as he burned his redshirt in Reno and never looked back. He had a remarkably balanced year, with 17 rushes and 15 receptions and ended his first season with over 300 total yards and 2 scores (and that's not counting his impact on special teams). Of course, McNichols role is bound to expand with Jay Ajayi forgoing his senior year and "The Weapon" may enter Spring as the number one Bronco back. I expect the Broncos to go back to a bit more of a "committee" approach at running back in 2015, but McNichols' versatility and durability, should make him the most oft-used horse in the stable.
Cory Young, RB
Speaking of that committee...Young is a speedy (and we mean speedy) playmaker that could add a little lightning to the thunderous Bronco ground attack in 2015. Remember, we still have Devan Demas, who's game is in a similar mold...but I think Young's speed adds too much value to not find some play packages for him.
Chase Blakley/David Lucero, TE
It says a LOT about the state of the Bronco tight ends unit that these two redshirted this year. Blakley was one of the more sought-after tight ends in the country and Lucero was a MAJOR steal for the Broncos and yet both were able to used 2014 as an acclimation year. Blakley is about as well-rounded a TE as we could ask for and can do damage in receiving and blocking, while Lucero's height and pass-catching ability could make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. We'll probably see both talented frosh in 2015 and I think will be pleasantly not-so-surprised with the duo.
Rick Smith, WR
The Arizona State transfer had to sit the 2014 season out, but took home the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year award at the Broncos' postseason banquet. The Broncos are plenty loaded in the WR department, but Smith will add an instant deep threat to the passing attack to go along with the one we've already got in Chaz Anderson.
Deuce Mataele, DT
We've waited a LONG time to see Mataele in action, but 2015 looks to be the year he actually gets to go live...unfortunately, it's his ONLY year of eligibility left, so we're all hoping it's a good one. With The D-line losing so little in the offseason and with Justin Taimatuia and Tyler Horn both benefiting from a medical redshirt, the interior D-line could be an absolute force next season and Deuce could be right in the thick of things.
I've barely scratched the surface of who might rise up and make an impact for the Broncos in 2015, so who do you think I should have included? Since national signing day is still a month out, I decided to skip current verbals...but Brett Rypien will be here tomorrow, so he's fair game if you believe a true freshman can start at QB (of course one can).