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Revisiting the Boise State 2015 Recruiting Class

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Casey and Mike are back at it again, this time with Zach!

Mountain West Championship - Fresno State v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Welcome to a fun off-season series that Casey (of OBNUG), Zach, and Mike (both 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 2019 class was officially signed. Like every year, fans often tout a class as potentially one of the best on paper. This year it was actually the case. 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 2015 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.

Anyway, each week, Casey, Zach, and Mike will look at a different position group from the class. While we will contribute a post each week, the location of the post will change (one week on one site, the next week on the other) so readers of both sites can follow along. Each post will have all 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 2015 class had. It should be a fun and interesting study to see what kind of careers each player had and revisit some names that may have been forgotten.

This week’s post looks at the running back and tight end position. They are combined because there was only one player at each position who signed in the 2015 class. The key word here is signed and not joined the team, or arrived on campus. But more on that below. Take a look at what the each of us have to say about running back Raymond Sheard and tight end Matt Pistone.

Raymond Sheard

Casey

Expectations when he signed

As a senior at Arlington, Sheard had 1500 yards and 14 touchdowns. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to scoff at either. He had a good highlight tape and solid stats, so I think fans were fine with him. Not really expecting him to light it up on the field, but would drive some competition.

2015 season

I think we all know how this went. That’s right, he never made it here.

Overall impact

Absolutely zero. If anything it had a negative impact in that we had less depth at the position. Definitely failed to meet expectations, which weren’t all that high to begin with.

Zach

Expectations when he signed

I never expected Sherd to be Jay Ajayi. He felt like the stop gap recruit between McNichols and Mattison. He had some buzz behind him, but the loss of Sheard led to an awesome run on recruits for Lee Marks.

2015 season

Never stepped foot on campus.

Overall impact

Being that he never played a down, I am going to go with zero impact and expectations not being met.

Mike

Expectations when he signed

I’ll be honest, when Raymond committed, I was not all that impressed with him. Or rather, I should say I didn’t see starting potential in him. Also, if I remember correctly, he seemed to run a bit too straight up on his highlight film. Nevertheless, he was a three-star RB out of Texas and I did think he would be a contributor at some point in his career.

2015 season

Sheard never step foot on campus. A few months after he signed, he was arrested for bringing a loaded gun and drugs to school. Unfortunately, it sounds like those troubles have continued.

Overall impact

This one is simple. Sheard never even arrived on campus. He simply failed to meet expectations.

Matt Pistone

Casey

Expectations when he signed

I’m not sure about the fan base as a whole, but I was pretty stoked about signing Pistone. He was a big dude and I felt he could make an impact at the position. I think the expectations, though, were reasonably tempered due to the depth we had at the position at the time.

2015 season

Pistone took a red shirt this season, which I think everyone expected.

2016 season

As Matt had no stats attributed to him, I think it’s safe to assume he acted as a blocking tight end. Not much to discern, though having solid blocking on run plays is crucial. When you can have a TE act as a 6th lineman, that helps immensely. As McNichols finished with over 1700 rushing yards in 2016, I think it was safe to say that the blocking was sufficient.

2017 season

Pistone did not have any offensive statistics attributed to him in 2017, but he appeared in all 12 games. Mattison was able to keep the 1k yard rusher streak alive, and you can’t do that without good blocking.

2018 season

Pistone had one catch for 4 yards against Colorado State, his first catch of his career. He has thrown down some brutal blocks in his career, so I think it can’t be understated how vital that role is on this team, whether it be a blocking TE or a FB *cough* Dan Paul *cough*.

Overall impact

Pistone had some buzz going on in spring camp this year, his final year as a Bronco. However, I would expect him to continue to function as a blocking tight end. He might catch a few passes here and there, but I wouldn’t expect anything drastic. Despite his role being important, I would say he failed to meet expectations. I’m not sure if the intent of the coaches was for him to function as a blocking TE, if his skill set just didn’t fit receiving, or if the rest of the talent at TE was just better at catching. Whatever the reason, he’s been solid, but didn’t quite meet what we were expecting as fans.

Zach

Expectations when he signed

I was really high on the Pistone signing. The coaching staff poached him from Oregon State and I thought he would be a good compliment to Jake Roh

2015 season

Redshirted

2016 season

Played in only five games, was primarily a run blocking tight end. Only played a handful of snaps.

2017 season

Pistone appeared in most games (albeit limited snaps), most in a fullback type role. It was almost always safe to assume it was a running play. His impact on the offense was limited.

2018 season

Played in eleven games and his role didn’t really change. However, he did have his first career catch.

Overall impact

I think it is safe to say that Pistone will likely have a similar role in 2019. I think most of the pass catching opportunities are going to go to John Bates and Tyneil Hopper. Pistone has been primarily a run blocking tight end and has been solid in that role. But he has not met expectations to this point, some of that is not his fault with the diminishing role that tight ends have had in the Bronco offense.

Mike

Expectations when he signed

I still remember the night he flipped from Oregon State to Boise State. It was in the works for a few days and was the second year in a row they flipped a tight-end from a PAC-12 school. I didn’t think he would be a game-changer at the TE spot, but I expected him to be a solid multi-year productive player during his career, a part-time starter so to speak.

2015 season

He redshirted, as to be expected.

2016 season

He played sparingly, which wasn’t a big surprise to me. The Broncos had Jake Roh and Alec Dhaenens, who basically dominated all the snaps at the position.

2017 season

More of the same for Pistone, which was more of a surprise to me. Again, he had two productive guys in front of him, but I thought he would break through a bit more or at least record a catch.

2018 season

Matt finally recorded his first career catch as a college player. The Boise State football website also highlighted his skills as a run-blocker over the past three days, to be fair.

Overall impact

When a tight-end’s skills are mainly suited to be a run-blocker, it’s hard to really gauge the impact they are having. Thus, it’s difficult to get a true read on Pistone. However, taking three years to record a catch isn’t a glowing report. For a highly-regarded recruit, one would expect to at least be a factor in the passing game on short passes or routes over the middle. There is still a year to go and a jump could be made, but since he wasn’t able to do much his junior year, he fails to meet expectations for me.

Running Totals:

Casey: 1 met expectations, 2 failed to meet expectations.

Zach: 1 met expectations, 2 failed to meet expectations.

Mike: 1 met expectations, 2 failed to meet expectations.