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 2020 class was officially signed. Like every year, fans often tout a class as potentially one of the best on paper. 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 2016 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 two posts each week for the next five weeks, 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 2016 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 was the class that dubbed themselves “Dream Team 16” and was the first Boise State class to begin bonding on social media as well as a private group messaging app (which backfired when two flipped to Missouri as seemingly a package deal). It was the class that endured three coaching departures in the off-season, and nabbed a few late commitments at key positions.
This initial post will look at both the quarterback and the specialist in this class. One was a last-minute find after a previous commit flipped. The other was brought in to fill a huge need.
QB Jake Constantine
Expectations when he signed - I was pretty excited for Constantine. To snag a player like Constantine, who was Camino League MVP as a senior, after spending most of the recruiting season with Micah Wilson committed, was a big win. He had a solid highlight tape that showed he had a solid arm and could keep a play alive with his feet.
2016 Season - Redshirt season. This was expected with Rypien had a solid true freshman campaign.
2017 Season - Transferred to Orange County CC. Not really surprising. With Cord coming on and the stats he put up at Sunrise Mountain as well as the addition of Montell Cozart, BSU was not long for Constantine.
2018 Season - N/A
2019 Season - N/A
Overall Impact - Zero impact. Aside from being a body behind Rypien in the event he got hurt, Constantine didn’t see the field. Unfortunate, but he went on to have a solid career at Weber State. Jake failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed - Constantine was a last minute grab. It always felt like he was just there to provide depth. Rypien was entrenched as the starter for the next three years.
2016 Season: Redshirted
2017 Season: I think Contstantine saw the writing on the wall and knew that if Cord stayed healthy he would be the backup. He transferred to a junior college and eventually ended up at Weber State.
2018 Season: N/A
2019 Season: N/A
Overall Impact: Constantine had zero impact. He transferred and I don’t blame him for doing so. He is now in the portal again and will likely be headed to his fourth school in five years. Quite a journey. Failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed - The 2016 quarterback was always going to be the toughest to secure. It got even tougher when Micah Wilson flipped to Missouri. It was clear no one really wanted to sit behind Brett Rypien for three seasons. Jake seemed better than just a last minute grab, putting up big numbers with great accuracy, but given the timing of his cycle, I didn’t expect him to be more than a quality backup.
2016 Season: Redshirted, as expected
2017 Season: Constantine leaving as a transfer was not all that surprising. The timing was, as he departed midway through fall camp. I suppose going up against Rypien and Cord, not to mention Cozart that camp, didn’t leave many reps for him.
2018 Season: N/A
2019 Season: N/A
Minimal at best. At Boise State anyway. He went to a junior college and then had a great two years at Weber State and now is in the transfer portal again for some reason. Regardless, for his time as a Bronco, he Failed to Meet Expectations.
K/P Joel Velazquez
Expectations when he signed - I always feel like if you are extending a scholarship to a kicker, it’s a big deal. Some of the more recent BSU kickers were walk-ons, and that had generally worked out all right for the Broncos, so the fact that Harsin wanted to go all-in on a kicker meant something. He had solid highlights and seemed pretty versatile.
2016 Season - Redshirt season. With Rausa still on the roster, and killing it, it made sense to keep Velazquez fresh.
2017 Season - He shared punting duties with Haden Hoggarth while focusing on kickoffs. He had a solid punting season with a long of 63 and arguably one of the most important kickoffs in recent memory when he tactfully executed an on-side kick against Colorado State to help force overtime in a come-from-behind win.
2018 Season - Relinquished punting duties after some regression, but remained the kick-off specialist.
2019 Season - The Broncos added another scholarship kicker in Gavin Wale, cousin of former Bronco Sean Wale. They also added Eric Sachse, who handled field goals and walk on Ryan Meyer. Velazquez was the kick-off specialist again, though he attempted his first career field goal against Florida State, which was good from 52 yards.
Overall Impact - I really want to say Joel met expectations. I think as far as kick-offs go, he is about on par for what is expected. But when using a scholarship, I think fans maybe expect a bit more. He still has one season left, but at this point I think he has come up just a bit short and has failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed - For a kicker, the expectations were pretty high. Boise State has been inconsistent in this area for a long time and it looked like Velazquez could stabilize both positions.
2016 Season: Redshirted
2017 Season: Had arguably the most important onside kick in Boise State history(Colorado State) and proved to be a good kickoff specialist. Also punted the ball 22 times, he was inconsistent in that area.
2018 Season: Had punting duties taken from him, but remained a strong kickoff specialist.
2019 Season: Velazquez continued to be great on kickoffs. But he really struggled on punts, where he was once again the primary punter.
Overall Impact: Honestly, I thought Velazquez was going to be the next Brotzman. I thought he would bring consistency to both positions. He will have to earn a starting spot at both positions. At this point, I have to go with failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed - Boise State wasn’t handing out scholarships to high school specialists much at this time, so Joel getting one created natural expectations. With his ability to both kick and punt, some fans had thoughts of another do-it-all specialist in Kyle Brotzman.
2016 Season: He redshirted. While that is common for true freshman, specialists don’t always fall into that category so it pumped the brakes a bit.
2017 Season: He saw time in kickoffs and also some punting duties. The former went much better than the latter, which raised a few concerns.
2018 Season: This season saw him only take on kickoffs, with which he was very effective. However, having punting being taken away was noticeable.
2019 Season: Punting was back on the table, although fans wished it wasn’t. He had many more disappointing games than productive ones. He also served as the long FG kicker, which didn’t come into play that much.
Overall Impact - Joel has one season left to turn things around, but at this point because of inconsistency, ineffectiveness, and lack of use in abilities he was brought in for, he has Failed to Meet Expectations.
Casey: 2 failed to meet expectations.
Zach: 2 failed to meet expectations.
Mike: 2 failed to meet expectations.