NEW FEATURE! Our good buddy Mike over at MWConnection and I thought it would be fun to get a recruiting series going in the down time we have going on. Mike has a lot of familiarity with Boise State recruiting, not to mention the rest of the Mountain West, after doing work with Rivals.com. He’s killin it over at MWConnection now and offered his sweet, sweet recruiting knowledge skills to us. Last week he posted the first article on MWConnection and this week we are posting here on OBNUG. We will go back and forth each week, so make sure you are heading over there to catch up on related articles. Let’s get to it!
What are the biggest factors in Boise State being able to recruit? Does Boise State have a recruiting advantage over the other MW teams?
Winning is the best recruiting tactic and the Broncos execute this tactic quite well. However, there are quite a few other things that Boise State does very well when it comes to recruiting. From talking with many recruits over the years who get recruited by the program, there are numerous similarities. They mention the solid relationships with the coaching staff and how they feel wanted and like family. How the coaches will develop them as players and people. When the recruits return from visits, they mention it feeling like home and everyone in the program interacts with them and of course, how much they love the Blue Turf.
Some of these may read as cliche or things that are common to most schools, but I get the impression that the Bronco coaching staff execute these things better than most. Along with this, in the Harsin era, if they can get recruits to visit the campus, they have a very good track record of closing the deal and securing commitments.
As for their advantage over other teams in the Mountain West, the answer is a big yes. As to why, again winning consistently year in and year out is a big factor. Also, the Boise State brand is a nationally known one thanks to their big bowl games and wins over big teams. Boise State carries a bit more weight than the average MWC team in the recruiting world. They basically recruit at a lower-third PAC12 level and very rarely do they lose a recruiting battle to an in-conference team. From talking with recruits, many put Boise State on the same level or a bit below teams like Oregon State and Washington State in their minds and well above the rest of the MWC. Fair or not, that’s the reality.
Biggest recruit and sleeper recruit in this years class?
I’ll name an offensive and defensive recruit for each. This 2018 class is full of big-time recruits, with 4 tallying a 4-star in one recruiting service or another. However, WR Khalil Shakir may be the biggest of them all. He has the potential to play right away and be a star in the Boise State offense, which will be able to highlight his versatility and play-making skills. On the other side of the ball, CB Chris Mitchell may be getting lost a bit in the star power in this class. A cornerback with great size, especially in the MWC, and his tape shows the upside of an all-conference type of player.
As far as sleepers, I’ll admit it’s hard to find a “sleeper” in this class as the majority are obvious talents. I’ll go with the local guys. On offense, TE Cole Ramseyer has some sneaky athleticism and picks up good yards after the catch. He looks like a perfect fit at TE for Boise State. On defense, NT Keeghan Freeborn may be a classic sleeper pick. He’s making the transition from OL to DL and may need a year or two for his new position to feel natural but if all goes according to plan, he will be an immovable nose tackle who can eat up multiple blocks.
This class is a success if...
The 4-stars and other top players need to live up to their billing and become players who are contributors for 3-4 years. A few turn into stars and some of the others develop nicely into surprise starters and contributors. Perhaps most importantly, the majority of this class stays together for the next 4-5 years and they become the core of the teams who win at least 3 MWC championships and make 1-2 NY6 bowls over the next 5 years. Expectations for this group will be high and rightfully so as they are coming on the heels of another very talented class who already started to scratch the surface of their potential.
This class is a disappointment if...
The star players on paper take a disappointing turn and end up being labeled as busts (which has happened with some, but not all, of the more highly touted recruits in the Harsin era). A few transfer out after the first year or two before spots on the depth chart opens up and another one or two are kicked off the team for off the field incidents that leave a bad taste in the mouth of fans and the program. The team is very good but isn’t able to get over the hump and realize their potential (think 2016). As Casey mentioned, it becomes part 2 of the infamous 2011 class.
Which players could/should play as a true freshman?
I’ll this into a list of players who seem talented enough to play next year and a list of players I think will end up playing next year due to talent and spots on the depth chart at their position. JUCO players won’t appear as they are expected to play.
Talented enough to play: AVB, Shakir, Cobbs, Thomas, Hopper, Igiehon, Emmsley, Hawkins, Mitchell
Will play next year: Shakir, Hopper, Mitchell
Thanks for droppin’ some knowledge on us Mike! We always appreciate your insight. Check out MWConnection next week for my answers to some of his questions in the next part of the series. Don’t forget to scope the rest of the work there as they do awesome work for SBNation. GO BRONCOS!