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Revisiting the Boise State 2014 Class: Offensive Line

NCAA Football: Mountain West Championship-Fresno State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to a fun off-season series that Casey (of OBNUG) and Mike (of MWCConnection) are rolling out for your viewing enjoyment (hopefully). Back in February, excitement was at an all time high for fans and coaches alike as the 2018 class was officially signed. Quite often around that time it is not uncommon to hear fans say things like “On paper, this is the best recruiting class ever for ____.” And on paper, that may even be true or arguably true. However, once players get on campus and actually on the field, the true story begins to reveal itself. It can often take years for a class to truly be judged as the impact of many players won’t be seen for a few seasons. That being said, this series will aim to revisit and evaluate Boise State’s 2014 class. There has now been enough time that many members of the class have either left or are entering their final seasons, which means players are able to be looked at for their production (or lack thereof) rather than projection and hype. Also, this was the first recruiting class in the Bryan Harsin era for the Broncos. Although it was basically only put together over a period of a few weeks, there was quite a bit of hype surrounding the class back in February of 2014.

Anyway, each week, Casey and Mike will look at a different position group from the class. Both of us will contribute each week, but the location of the post will change (one week on one site, the next week on the other) so followers of both sites can follow along. Each post will have both of us weighing in on the same talking points for each season: our expectations of the player from when they signed, the production they gave each season on the team, and their overall impact, which we will fit into one of 3 categories (exceeded expectations, met expectations, or below expectations). We will each keep a running tally of our totals and then at the end we can each determine the over impact the 2014 class had. It should be a fun and interesting study as the 2014 Boise State class had a little bit of everything over the past 4 years.

This is the 4th installment of our series, which will examine the o-line. Boise State signed three players at this position, two high school players and a junior college player. Their respective careers could be summarized as: a sad story, a bizarre store, and a forgotten story.

Troy Bacon

Casey

Expectations When He Signed: I’m never really sure what to expect from offensive lineman. My qualifications basically include being large. At 6’3 and 281 lbs, Troy was a large individual coming out of high school. I know that, generally speaking, offensive lineman red shirt their freshman year. He passed on offers from TCU and Washington State to be a Bronco, so what’s there to not to be excited about?

2014: As expected, Troy spent the year as a red shirt, learning the schemes and working on the scout team.

2015: Troy made his debut against Idaho State (blowout), but considering the depth that we had at the position, I didn’t expect him to earn a starting role. Oddly, he quit the team mid-season to transfer to Portland State, which was unexpected, but considering some of the depth as previously mentioned, it wasn’t entirely crazy. He was, however, later arrested for impersonating a police officer in Oregon, which WAS crazy.

Overall Impact: Bacon had very little impact. Because of the things he did post Boise career and outspoken demeanor on social media, many BSU fans will remember him. On the field, though, I would say he failed to meet expectations seeing as he did not finish his career at Boise State, leaving to go elsewhere. On top of that, just generally being a bit odd and flippant.

Mike

Expectations When He Signed:Bacon seemed like one of the key unassuming gets in the 2014 class. First off, he was one of the holdovers from the class Pete was putting together. Secondly, he was a solid 3-star OL prospect, who had the versatility to play anywhere across the line.

2014: He redshirted, which is pretty automatic for an OL guy.

2015: If I remember correctly, coaches pointed him out in fall camp as someone who had made a jump. The future seemed bright for him. He got in some garbage time games, but then suddenly left the team.

Again, I remember the details but not the order. At first I thought we heard he was getting out of football all together. He wanted to become a police officer. Then a few months later, he was announced as a transfer at Portland State. Then, the strangest things of all in his story, he was arrested for impersonating a police officer. A sad but strange tale.

Overall Impact:Like all incoming recruits, Bacon was full of promise and potential. Unfortunately, he left before that could come to fruition. Whatever his intentions for leaving were, as far as his Boise State career was concerned he failed to meet expectations.

Tennessee Su’esu’e

Casey

Expectations When He Signed: I didn’t know a ton about Tennessee other than he was a big lineman out of Utah. Again, as I stated previously, that satisfied my requirements for offensive linemen.

2014: Like Bacon, Tennessee sat out his true freshman season with a red shirt.

2015: Tennessee didn’t see the field in 2015, which was perplexing as he looked and played the part of a solid O-lineman any time I had seen him suit up in scrimmages. He later left the team in 2016 for medical reasons, which helped shed some light on a little known heart condition he had.

Overall Impact: Tennessee failed to meet expectations. That designation sounds damning, but without playing a down, I couldn’t say he met expectations just because he looked the part.

Mike

Expectations When He Signed:Tennessee signed on leading the contest for coolest name in the recruiting class, and he seemed like a solid player to go along with it too. Also, I think he juggled fire or something like that. I didn’t expect him to become an immediate contributor but did think he would grow into a solid player.

2014: OL redshirt formula as expected.

2015: He didn’t play, but given the depth of the line, that wasn’t too surprising. What was surprising though, is that he had to medically retire from football due to a heart condition. It is sad to see any player have to give up the game they love and Tennessee is no exception.

Overall Impact:Unfortunately, I would have to say the Su’esu’e also failed to meet expectations. However, it was for an entirely different reason. Medical reasons are out of his control, but the fact remains he did not end up contributing.

Jerhen Ertel

Casey

Expectations When He Signed: While also being big, it was nice knowing he had experience at the JC level, which was a plus. There wasn’t a lot of other information surrounding him, though, so it was tough to discern what kind of a player he would be.

2014: Jerhen operated in a back-up role in one game. Similar to Bacon, it wasn’t surprising to see him operate in this capacity considering the depth. I did expect him to play right away since he was a JC guy. One game wasn’t surprising to me.

2015: Jerhen operated in a bit of an expanded role, playing in 5 games, which was right in line with my expectations. Not exciting, but whachagonnado?

Overall Impact: I would say Jerhen met expectations for me. I assumed he would come in as a relief player to give the starters a rest and that is more or less how he operated. He probably isn’t a guy many fans will remember, though that can mostly be said for offensive lineman. It’s kind of a thankless job.

Mike

Expectations When He Signed:He was a late JUCO year addition that I believe committed shortly before spring semester started, because he was definitely on campus for spring ball and the hat ceremony the staff did for early enrollees. Jerhen seemed like a guy who would provide good depth in his two years at BSU.

2014: He didn’t play a ton, but did basically what was expected, being a backup to the experienced starters.

2015: More of the same this year. With Bacon’s departure, I remember something Harsin said in a press conference about Jerhen now having to be ready to be the a main backup. He did see more time and as far as I could tell from my bird’s eye view, performed up to standards in his role.

Overall Impact:With a JUCO guy, it would be nice if he could take on a key role in at least one of his years before leaving. While it may have not been as big of a role initially expected of him, he also had talented players in front of him on the depth chart. I would have to echo Casey’s comments and say he met expectations overall.

Running Totals:

Casey: 2 exceeded expectations, 3 met expectations, 5 failed to meet expectations.

Mike: 1 exceeded expectations, 3 met expectations, 6 failed to meet expectations.