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Revisiting the Boise State 2015 Recruiting Class: Offensive Line

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

Air Force 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.

In this week’s edition, the focus shifts to the offensive linemen. Three trench-dogs were taken in the recruiting class or 2015 and all have seen the field in varying roles over the years. Read below for our thoughts on Garrett Larson, Eric Quevedo, and John Molchon.

Garrett Larson

Casey

Expectations when he signed

I’m a big fan of local players. I like seeing kids who grew up where I did come and play for the team I grew up watching. While I don’t know a lot about OL players and identifying characteristics other than being large, I was excited about Larson.

2015 Season

Red shirt. Very rarely do O-lineman play as true freshman.

2016 Season

Larson made a few appearances, but operated in a reserve role for an offense that lead the MW. While 4 games isn’t much, using a red shirt freshman even that much as something to watch.

2017 Season

As expected based off a promising freshman season, Garrett saw an increased role on the line, playing in all games and starting in half of them. That’s a significant increase for an underclassman. Larson’s play helped secure a 9th straight 1,000 yard rusher in Alexander Mattison.

2018 Season

Larson really came into his own this season, but looking at the past two seasons, that isn’t surprising. Starting all 13 games, Larson showed versatility in being able to play multiple positions, and played them well, along the line. He will be a key cog on the OL in his final season as a Bronco.

Overall Impact

Larson has proved his worth, despite being lightly recruited. He is further proof that secrets lie within Idaho’s borders. While Idaho isn’t a recruiting hotbed, there are really stellar players here in the Gem State. While I root for local kids, I have to say that Larson exceeded expectations. I expected him to play and be a valuable player, but to continually play above those expectations has been a pleasant surprise.

Zach

Expectations when he signed

Larson is a local kid that did not receive a whole lot of hype out of high school. The Fruitland, Idaho native went to the same high school as Joe Martarano and Alec Dhaenens. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Larson, he went to a small school and played a difficult position to evaluate.

2015 Season

Larson redshirted and played on the scout team.

2016 Season

Larson played in only four games. But this was encouraging, it is rare that the Broncos use freshman on the offensive line.

2017 Season

Larson played in all 14 games, he backed up Mason Hampton and started while he was injured. Larson also played some guard. It was a solid season in a reserve role.

2018 Season

Larson started all 13 at center and helped to anchor an offensive line that improved as the season went on. It wasn’t pretty at the beginning of the season, as the Boise State run game struggled and Brett Rypien was taking some vicious hits. But Larson and the offensive line got it together and helped to lead the Broncos to another Mountain Division title.

Overall Impact

Larson has played a major role on the offensive line the past two seasons. You never know what to expect from a small town kid, but Larson has exceeded expectations. The offensive line returns all four starters in 2019 and should make the transition easier for the new quarterback.

Mike

Expectations when he signed

Larson was the first commit in the Boise State 2015 class, announcing his pledge a day after the 2014 signing day. He came from local Idaho and small school Fruitland, so I had a feeling he may be a classic better than his rating player from Idaho. I figured he would had a ceiling of a multi-year starter and a floor of a two-deep guy during his career.

2015 Season

He redshirted, which was right on track for him.

2016 Season

He played sparingly, mostly in mop-up time. Again, this was pretty expected given the number of players in front of him.

2017 Season

Larson made us of the two previous years by adding a good deal of weight and getting ready to step into a bigger role. He sure did in this season, starting half of the games that year. His emergence into the starting lineup coincided with the offensive line and the run game hitting their stride.

2018 Season

Larson became the starting center on another inconsistent offensive line. However, Larson was overall pretty solid. He played smart, dependable, and stayed healthy. He looks primed for another good season as senior.

Overall Impact

Garrett Larson has had a slow, steady, and predictable path for an offensive lineman. He redshirted, took a year or so to fight his way onto the depth chart and again into the starting lineup. But assuming his can hold his spot and stay healthy in 2019, Larson will basically be a two and a half year starter, which is no easy feat. For me, I think it’s fair to say he has met expectations.

Eric Quevedo

Casey

Expectations when he signed

I didn’t know much about Quevedo, but his tape was solid. He was a big kid too. Those things are usually a good recipe for a solid lineman. I was stoked on his commitment.

2015 Season

Red shirt, as expected.

2016 Season

Did not see action. While not necessarily surprising as a freshman, I figured he might appear in garbage time.

2017 Season

Quevedo appeared in 13 games, starting 11 for the Broncos. That’s a significant jump from not playing at all as a sophomore. Quevedo, at some times, showed that lack of play time with some underclassman mistakes. While I wasn’t stoked to see him make them, I understood that going from no playtime to a lot of playtime will come with some growing pains.

2018 Season

This season was kind of a disappointment for me on the OL. I felt like, as an upperclassman, Quevedo would have worked through more of his challenges. I felt like the switch-ups they did on the OL were effective as Quevedo could be a liability at times. Here’s to hoping those challenges are shored up in 2019.

Overall Impact

I’ll go with met expectations. I expect an O-lineman to protect the QB and open holes for the RB. While Eric had some mishaps, he started plenty of games for an offense that had back-to-back appearances in the MW championship game AND produced back-to-back 1,000 yard rushers. I expect to see some improvement, though, in 2019.

Zach

Expectations when he signed

Quevedo was a big body with an impressive tape. Evaluating offensive lineman is super difficult, but I was confident that Quevedo would be an impact player at Boise State.

2015 Season

Redshirted, contributed on the scout team.

2016 Season

Did not see action, contributed on the scout team.

2017 Season

Quevedo went from not playing in 2016, to starting 11 games in 2017. Much of the 2017 season was a struggle for a young offensive line that had difficulty finding its identity. Quevedo struggled in pass pro at times, but improved in run blocking as the season progressed.

2018 Season

Quevedo was hampered by an injury for much of the 2018 season, he missed three games and looked limited in others. He struggled with holding penalties over the course of the season, but finished the season strong.

Overall Impact

At this point, I could see Quevedo exceeding expectations. He is likely to start in 2019 and looked like he was taking steps in the right direction at the end of last season. But his inconsistent play at this point puts him in the failed to meet expectations category.

Mike

Expectations when he signed

Every recruit is difficult to predict what will happen going from highschool to college and offensive linemen may be among the toughest. Eric Quevedo is no exception. But he represented a positive shift in Boise State being able to recruit bigger and more college-ready type of OL recruits. Listed at 6’5 and 285 according to 247 and playing in California, he had the potential to be a future anchor on the line.

2015 Season

He redshirted, to the surprise of no one.

2016 Season

Again, no playing time which was no surprise.

2017 Season

Quevedo burst into the starting lineup, in 11 of the games that season anyway. Though I figured him for a tackle, he was slotted in at guard and did well more often that not. Especially when considering this was his first college football action ever. Like the unit as a whole, Eric seemed to get better as the season went on.

2018 Season

Quevedo battled injuries, missing three games and was probably more limited than anyone outside the team knew in the 10 he started. Unfortunately, most of the plays people remembered about him from last year involved holding penalties. For the second half of the season, Eric again did his job more than he didn’t, but was probably the fifth best lineman in the starting lineup.

Overall Impact

Fair or not, if his career ended last season, Eric would be remembered for up and down play and a few too many holding penalties than anyone (himself included) would care for. Fortunately for him, his career is not over and he has one more season to become a better player. Still, having the chance to be a three-year starter is a pretty nice accomplishment and given that he wasn’t a “can’t miss” OL prospect, I won’t fault him for a few misses. At this point, I’ll say he has met expectations. However, another inconsistent season and I’d likely downgrade him.

John Molchon

Casey

Expectations when he signed

I was stoked on signing John. Again, I don’t know a ton about offensive lineman, but I knew this dude was massive. Generally speaking, getting guys this big for the OL is a good thing.

2015 Season

Red shirt, per usual.

2016 Season

Played in 7 games, starting 3. That’s big on the OL. We had some REALLY good lineman this year too: Yakoo, Lewis, Averill, Adams, Baggett, and Hampton to name a few. Having a red shirt freshman step in and start, even just 3 games, means something.

2017 Season

All-MW honorable mention, playing in all 14 games and starting 13. At this point, it’s no surprise that Molchon was able to step in and take the reigns after we graduated a good number of multi-year starters on the line. Becoming a key anchor for a line as an underclassman speaks volumes about his ability.

2018 Season

All Mountain West First Team. Not surprising at this point. The thing about John is you forgot her was there sometimes. That’s not to say he was wasn’t noticed, but he was so good at what he did, along with Cleveland, that as a fan, I never worried about the left side of the line. He consistently did his job and did it well. Like the other lineman, he has been a part of lines that have produced multiple consecutive 1,000 yard rushers.

Overall Impact

Absolutely exceeded expectations. When you can basically forget about a guy because he’s consistently so good, you know the coaches recruited the right guy. He’ll be sorely missed after graduating this year, so I’ll be enjoying watching him for his final season.

Zach

Expectations when he signed

Molchon was signed out of UNLV’s backyard. For an offensive lineman, he had quite a bit of hype. He was a great addition to the 2015 class and seemed poised for eventual playing time.

2015 Season

Redshirted, no surprise here.

2016 Season

Molchon played in seven games and started three. It is rare for offensive lineman to play much as a freshman. This was an encouraging sign for the career of Molchon.

2017 Season

Molchon struggled a little bit early, but improved as the season progressed. He started 13 of 14 games. The Broncos struggled to open up holes in the run game early in the season and the quarterback were taking some vicious hits. Molchon and the offensive line improved as the season progressed and the future of the Bronco offensive line appeared to be in good hands.

2018 Season

Molchon and Cleveland anchored the left side of the line. Molchon was one of the few consistent bright spots on a struggling line. The running game proved to be the strength of the team the second half of the season, thanks in large part to Molchon.

Overall Impact

Molchon has exceeded expectations in his time as a Bronco and has an outside shot at being drafted next year. He has already started 29 games and will add on to that total this year.

Mike

Expectations when he signed

The rare Boise State OL recruit who seemed like a very good get on paper. I thought out of the three, he was the most hyped and had the best chance to shine.

2015 Season

Surprise surprise, he redshirted.

2016 Season

He started three games as a redshirt freshman, which is a pretty nice accomplishment. I can’t remember how he fared but he obviously impressed the coaches by the expectations they set for him.

2017 Season

His spot starting spring-boarded him into a starting role as a sophomore, starting all but one game and becoming a formidable left guard. Despite the struggles the OL had for much of that season, Molchon was not to blame.

2018 Season

John took another step forward, starting every game and earning first team all-MWC honors for his work. Again, he combined with Ezra Cleveland to make a very strong left side of an otherwise inconsistent offensive line. He’s been as solid as they come the past two years and there is every reason to expect that to be the case again as a senior.

Overall Impact

John Molchon has been everything coaches and fans alike hoped he would be when he signed. Barring injury or a total meltdown, he will end up being a three-year starter and a great one at that. He’s a reliable blocker and should be another all-MWC first or second teamer in the 2019 season. He may even get an NFL look. All in all, it’s safe to say he exceeded expectations.

Running Totals:

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

Zach: 2 exceeded expectations, 2 met expectations, 4 failed to meet expectations.

Mike: 1 exceeded expectations, 4 met expectations, 3 failed to meet expectations.