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Revisiting the Boise State 2017 Class Part Three: Offensive Line

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NCAA Football: Boise State at San Jose State D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to a fun off-season series that Drew (moi), 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 2021 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 2017 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, Drew, Zach, and Mike will look at a different position group from the class. While we will contribute two posts each week over the next month, the location of the posts will change. The start of the week will feature a post on OBNUG while the end of the week will see a post up on MWCConnection, that way 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. The impact 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 2017 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.

The 2017 recruiting class is in some ways a bridge between the two stages of recruiting during the Harsin era. The first few classes (which we have reviewed the past few years) were somewhat top-heavy, meaning some talented headliners and then more unheralded prospects filling out the rest of the ranks. The final three classes were a noticeable step up, possessing star-power and the back half of the class could be categorized as a high-floor. The 2017 class is right in the middle of that progression, taking a step forward in both overall talent as well as top to bottom depth. In fact, it was a strong class on paper at the time, even if it was immediately overshadowed by the 2018 class. To hear our thoughts on specific players from the class, read below.

Part Three will look at four players, all along the offensive line. Two hailed from the junior college ranks while the other two were traditional high schoolers. One player from the group did not complete their eligibility and one never even made it to campus.

Mike Young

Drew

Expectations when he signed: Who?

2017 Season - Dude never made it to campus (grades?) so instead let’s read this profile on legendary Boise State wrestling AND golf coach Mike Young. Wow!

2018 Season: DNP

2019 Season: SDNP

2020 Season: Perhaps living in Argentina.

Overall Impact: Beyond nothing. Guy never even made it to camp (although I wish he had, tbh...at 6’5” 305, might’ve added some nice heft to the O-line...ah who am I kidding Bedell would’ve ruined him. FAILED to meet expectations in most failingest faily way possible.

Zach

Expectations when he signed: I honestly don’t remember. He never made it to campus.

2017 Season: DNP

2018 Season: DNP

2019 Season: DNP

2020 Season: DNP

Overall Impact: Read Drew’s response. Bedell pretty much eliminated any expectations I ever had for any of our offensive lineman not named Ezra Cleveland. Failed to meet expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed: He was the first commit of this class, which is why I included him in this review. He has massive size and I remember thinking he would excel on the right side at guard or tackle. Alas, he never made it to campus, having to go the JUCO round instead, likely due to grades. On signing day, I believe coaches said “they would be keeping an eye on him” for a future class, but to my knowledge, he never materialized anywhere.

2017 Season: N/A

2018 Season: N/A

2019 Season: N/A

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: If case you could not have guessed it, he failed to meet expectations.

John Ojukwu

Drew

Expectations when he signed: Rather high. Being on the sidelines for scrimmages and games, I kept wondering who this behemoth was in the Boise Braves gear. Turns out...it was John Ojukwu, who used to have a lot more hair which made him look even more massive. He’s still PRETTY massive, I guess.

2017 Season: Redshirted

2018 Season: Started seven games for the Broncos and appeared in 12

2019 Season: Started 11 games and at times looked pretty dang indispensable.

2020 Season: All-MWC performer even with the considerable handicap of playing under the Auburn tight ends coach.

Overall Impact: Great! Ojukwu has been a pleasant surprise...well, I can’t say surprise, the dude is a mountain of a man...but let’s say that local products generally seem to receive plenty of fanfare, but not as much pub. Exceeded expectations.

Zach

Expectations when he signed: Lukewarm. It had been a while since the Broncos had a Boise athlete that made a big impact. Ojukwu was very raw and needed to be coached up.

2017 Season: Redshirted

2018 Season: This was the year where a certain right tackle really struggled and Ojukwu replaced him (at times) and looked like a huge upgrade.

2019 Season: Dealt with some injuries, but started all 11 games he appeared in. Ojukwu continued to improve as the season progressed.

2020 Season: Ojukwu became the most experienced offensive lineman on the roster and used a solid season to become second team All-Mountain West.

Overall Impact: This is a tough one to gauge. This next season will go a long way to determine the career of Ojukwu. By a slight margin, I am going to go with exceeded expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed: John has a great recruiting story. He dreamed of playing at Boise State, but coaches said he needed to put on weight in order to be a D1 lineman. So he gained 85 pounds over the course of a year to earn a scholarship to him hometown school. He was a feel good story but I wasn’t sure what he would become in college.

2017 Season: Ojukwu redshirted, as expected. He also continued to put on weight and develop his skills.

2018 Season: He started the year as a reserve but halfway through the year he slid into the right tackle role and solidified the whole OL unit, helping the team finish the year strong.

2019 Season: John was entrenched as the starter at RT, except when he was injured. When healthy, he was a force to be reckoned with.

2020 Season: Ojukwu slid over to left tackle to claim the open spot there, which he was determined to do. He was the only returning starter and was playing a new position. He performed admirably, if not spectacularly. He was an all-MWC selection for his efforts.

Overall Impact: John is a great success story, going from undersized high school player to the coveted starting left tackle position for the hometown Boise State Broncos. He still has a season to go, but I feel confident saying he has exceeded expectations.

Isiah Moore

Drew

Expectations when he signed: So high, bros. Moore’s JuCo tape was really dang impressive.

2017 Season: DNP

2018 Season: Sorta played, not as much as we’d thought.

2019 Season: He gone

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: Man, this was one of my worst misses when it came to expectations. Scott Huff fought off NUMEROUS suitors to land this kid and his tape showed a nasty O-lineman with bad intentions. His recruiter left and with it, his development. Failed to meet expectations (but spectacularly!)

Zach

Expectations when he signed: High! He was a 4-star junior college recruit and went back and forth on whether or not he was committed to the Broncos.

2017 Season: Did not see action

2018 Season: Appeared in five games. One was the Nevada game where it looked like he was poised to take on a bigger role. And then….crickets

2019 Season: Left the football program and retired from football.

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: This is an easy one. Failed to meet expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed: Isiah was the top junior college offensive lineman in this class. And he committed to Boise State early in the cycle. Then OL coach Scott Huff left and Moore checked out some other schools to make a moore (get it?) complete decision. I believe he took an OV to Cincy, but ultimately decided to stick with Boise State. I thought he would immediately start at RT for the next two years.

2017 Season: Moore had three years to play two but I never imagined he would redshirt in his initial season at BSU. I believe I recall his height and weight being less when he got on campus than what was listed on recruiting sites. Maybe that had something to do with it.

2018 Season: Moore played in a handful of games, but mainly as a reserve. Something wasn’t right, but don’t worry because the Boise State OL could absorb it. Wait… nevermind.

2019 Season: In what came as a surprise to me, Moore retired from football, forgoing his last season of eligibility. If he wasn’t going to play much, it opened the door for someone else, which wasn’t the worse thing in the grand scheme of things.

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: Moore goes down as one of the more puzzling recruiting stories. Was he overhyped as a 4 star JUCO recruit? Did he just not have the size to compete at the D1 level? We don’t know the full story, but we do know he failed to meet expectations.

Zach Troughton

Drew

Expectations when he signed: Not as high as his JuCo counterpart, I’ll tell you that much.

2017 Season: DNP

2018 Season: Played a little...more than Moore, IIRC.

2019 Season: Nuffin’

2020 Season: He gone.

Overall Impact: Not much, but since this is about whether guys failed, met, or exceeded expectations...I’ll give him a “met” expectations tag. He seemed like a depth signing and that’s what he provided.

Zach

Expectations when he signed: Another junior college guy. He was a bit of a surprise signee. Was a junior college all-american.Expectations were mild. This looked like an attempt to fix something that was broken.

2017 Season: DNP

2018 Season: Played in ten games as a reserve and on special teams.

2019 Season: N/A

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: Rarely saw the field. Does someone fail to meet expectations, when expectations weren’t high to begin with? I don’t know, but I will go with failed to meet expectations.

Mike

Expectations when he signed: To be honest, I wasn’t super high on Troughton at the time of his signing. He was pretty good in junior college and all things considered, he was still one of the better JUCO OL gets that year. However, he seemed to have depth piece written all over him.

2017 Season: He did not play, which is a telling sign for a junior college player.

2018 Season: Troughton played in ten games, all in a reserve role. So I suppose things went according to plan.

2019 Season: N/A

2020 Season: N/A

Overall Impact: Although his impact was minimal at best, Troughton did what was asked of him, stepping up when needed and sitting down on the bench when it wasn’t. All in all, I would argue he met expectations.

Running Totals:

Drew: 2 exceeded expectations, 1 met expectations, 5 failed to meet expectations

Zach: 1 exceeded expectations, 1 met expectations, 6 failed to meet expectations.

Mike: 1 exceeded expectations, 2 met expectations, 5 failed to meet expectations.