Welcome to a fun off-season series that Drew (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 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.
This initial post will look at both the quarterback and the running back spots in this class. Both were big-time gets but neither finished their eligibility at Boise State due to different reasons. One was one of the first commits in the class and another was a late-cycle steal.
QB Chase Cord
Expectations when he signed: Pretty high. Cord had good size, good speed and put up some really impressive numbers out of Sunrise Mountain. Had a Pac-12 offer (Colorado) and a Big Ten offer (Illinois) and like it or not, that’s another way that people tend to gage the desirability of a recruit.
2017 Season: Rypien was entrenched, so DNP
2018 Season: Showed off his wheels at Troy with a long TD scamper in some of his first ever game action. Suffered a season-ending injury after appearing in four games.
2019 Season: Beaten out by Hank Bachmeier for starting position heading into season. Got two starts after Bachmeier went down with injury and threw for 679 yards and 9 TDs. Jaylon Henderson ended up getting more PT in Hank’s absence.
2020 Season: Injury forced him out of lineup.
Overall Impact: The terminology seems harsh, but Cord failed to ultimately meet expectations on the field as injuries nagged and nagged and ended his career prematurely. His final statlines as a player/starter are solid and according to all accounts was the consummate teammate. Just wasn’t meant to be.
Expectations when he signed: I was really high on Chase Cord and believe that he was a special talent. Baylor made a late run at Cord, but he remained loyal to the Broncos. A high school knee injury kept bigger schools from making a big run at Cord. There was a lot of buzz around the football program that Cord would be the heir apparent after Rypien graduated.
2017 Season: Redshirted
2018 Season: Was seeing limited action in relief of Rypien. Broke off a huge run against Troy for a touchdown. Also played some valuable snaps in a loss to San Diego State.
2019 Season: Cord was expected to be the starter. Ultimately, he never fully recovered and lost the job to Hank Bachmeier. Cord was solid in a relief role after Bachmeier was injured against Hawaii and he started against Wyoming and BYU. But he never looked like he was 100% healthy.
2020 Season: Did not play due to injury.
Overall Impact: Chase Cord is the ultimate what if story. He was never able to reach his full potential as he suffered one injury after another. Cord has medically retired (for now at least). He was loyal to the school and did his best to help the team. Through no fault of his own, Cord’s tenure as Boise State’s quarterback failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Chase was a great get at quarterback, especially after some early misses in the cycle at the QB position. Chase looked as good as any of them, despite coming off an ACL tear, he seemed poised to grab the starting spot from Brett Rypien once he graduated.
2017 Season: Redshirted, as expected.
2018 Season: This figured to be a great developmental year for Chase, to have a small backup role and get snaps during blowouts. That plan worked for a few games, as Chase scored on the second touch of his career. However, he tore his ACL after four games and was lost for the season.
2019 Season: Chase battled back as much as he could to compete for the vacated starting spot, but lost the battle and Coach Harsin acknowledged Cord wasn’t full recovered from his injury. He was effective as a backup QB, posting great numbers. He was also was serviceable in a spot start, but struggled overall against BYU. Chase got banged up towards the end of the season and was unavailable the past few games.
2020 Season: Did not play due to injury, however he did suit up for a game or two as an emergency quarterback.
Overall Impact: Chase flashed his potential and had his body not betrayed him, he could have been quite the dual-threat at the position. Some hoped he would bounce back and claim the starting spot. Others speculated he would transfer and spend two or three seasons starting for another school. Instead, he ended up medically retiring this past spring after a series of injuries. As difficult as it is to blame him, Cord failed to meet expectations.
RB Drake Beasley
Expectations when he signed - Really high. Beasley had a boatload of Pac-12 offers and really only “fell” to the Broncos because he switched schools and had a very public eligibility lapse because of it. Never played his senior year. At one point was rated as high as 5th best back in California.
2017 Season: DNP
2018 Season: Left program
2019 Season: Still gone from program
2020 Season: Returns to program! Oh wait, that wasn’t him? Nevermind.
Overall Impact: Beasley’s overall impact was zilch, so I’m going to go ahead and say that he failed to meet expectations, but I hope he’s meeting some sort of expectations somewhere else as a landscape artist, sous chef, or professional skateboarder.
Expectations when he signed: High. Beasley was expected to be a change of pace back. There were some comparisons to Jeremy Avery. He was ranked as the number five running back in California.
2017 Season: Redshirted
2018 Season: Transferred
2019 Season: N/A
2020 Season: N/A
Overall Impact: Made zero impact. Failed to meet expectations.
Expectations when he signed: Drake was a highly rated running back who dropped in the rankings and recruiting interest due to being ruled ineligible his senior season due to transferring. I remember being impressed by the story that he continued to practice with the team as the scout RB as a way to push his teammates.
2017 Season: Redshirted and I believe tore his ACL somewhere along the way.
2018 Season: In a surprising move, Beasley transferred from Boise State quickly and without playing a down for the team. He ended up going to Pasadena City College and I don’t believe he ended up anywhere after his five-game stint with that program.
2019 Season: N/A
2020 Season: N/A
Overall Impact: It’s obvious he had zero impact, and did so in a disappointing way, transferring before seeing the field. Maybe there is more to the story, but regardless, he failed to meet expectations.
Drew: 0 exceeded expectations, 0 met expectations, 2 failed to meet expectations
Zach: 0 exceeded expectations, 0 met expectations, 2 failed to meet expectations.
Mike: 0 exceeded expectations, 0 met expectations, 2 failed to meet expectations.