We've got just 50 days until kickoff, but as that jersey number is currently unassigned and two players share the #37 jersey (it's a really big jersey), I've pulled one of them up to the fill the void—Ryan Wolpin
#50 (37), Ryan Wolpin, Sophomore, RB
Weight: 191 lbs.
High School/College: Santa Margarita High School, Santa Margarita, CA/Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO
How'd he get to The Blue™?
Most walk-ons have plenty of ability, but Wolpin is the rare walk-on that leaves you scratching your head that he didn't have big time offers. Maybe his size isn't elite, but it seems his body-of-work would have been sufficient to nab a few high profile offers. All the better for Boise State, I guess.
Wolpin earned back-to-back first team all-conference honors in his final two prep campaigns at Santa Margarita. During that two year stretch, he rushed for nearly 3,000 yards (2,997) and 49 TDs. As a senior, Wolpin not only made all-conference, but was named all-region and all-state as well. His junior year (the better of the two) he garnered all-division, all-county and all-region honors along with his conference nod. After graduation in 2012, Wolpin attended the University of Northern Colorado, but redshirted and transferred to Boise State in time for 2014 spring practices.
LBs coach Andy Avalos. They even have the same tie!
Named Boise State's Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Year last season as a redshirt freshman. 2012 first team All-Trinity League honoree (on offense). Named 2012 all-region and all-state. Named All-CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division, All-Pac-5 Division, first-team All-Trinity League and first-team all-county and Orange County All-Region honors as a junior in 2011.
They say it takes a village to replace an Ajayi, and that's just what the Broncos have at their disposal this season. Ajayi's graduation may not sink the Bronco offense, but it represents a LOT of production that will have to be made up for by a stable of backs...and no back on the roster currently looks like can shoulder the load that Jay did in 2014. So, Boise State likely will go back to the familiar "running back by committee" approach that we've employed in the past...and to great effect, I might add. Even Doug Martin, an eventual first-round draft pick never carried the workload that Ajayi did last year and Doug Martin was built like a brick box full of smaller bricks.
I think Boise State has a smattering of power backs—McNichols, Fields, and Wolpin and a couple of speed backs in the Jeremy Avery mold—Cory and Kelsey Young, and Devan Demas. At this point, I expect the Broncos to use up to five of these backs in varying degrees...some who will have packages suited to their skill sets. I think most expect McNichols to get the most reps as he impressed last season when inserted into the lineup. He's built more like Doug Martin and can do some good things in the pass game as well. Then you've got Devan Demas, who has shown what he can do in the past. He is a one-cut-and-go player that is a homerun threat whenever he touches the ball. After Demas you've got the Young brothers...Kelsey, the Stanford transfer that is known quantity and younger brother Cory, who—as we saw in the Spring Game—can MOVE. This brings us to Fields and Wolpin...two backs that I think have a similar running style and ability to punch holes in defenses where they otherwise might not exist.
Still...that's a lot of capable backs that all bring slightly different things to the table. Even in a stable, some guys are getting cut out of the proceedings. As good as Wolpin is (and could be), I think he might be the odd man out in the rotation. That doesn't mean he can't kill garbage time ala Jarvis Hodge or climb the ladder this Fall...both scenarios are very feasible. At the very least, Wolpin is going to be a big-time special teams contributor—you don't win Special Teams POTY honors for nothing and I can see Wolpin busting wedges and busting heads on gamedays this Fall. Too many guys in the backfield can be a double-edged sword, but Wolpin has the skills to be a great backup and the desire to be a great contributor.
Is he on Twitter?
No, but I did take a picture of him preparing for Correa impact at the Spring Game though. Partial credit
Completely made up fact
Wolpin's planned career as a stage magician was derailed when he found out his preferred stage name, David Copperfield, was already taken. Friends suggested "The Great Wolpini", but he refused to dignify them with a response.