2009 Running Back commit Malcolm Johnson
Boise State plays the best guys, period. If you don't believe it, look at the last few seasons. In 2007, five true freshmen saw the field, in 2008, Boise played 3 true freshmen and the starting QB was a redshirt freshmen. Yes, a youth movement is taking place at Boise State and the Broncos don't believe in "rebuilding", the Broncos simply reload year in and year out and 2009 looks to be no different.
Kellen Moore is the present and future of the Bronco program, garnering WAC Freshman of the Year Honors and Freshmen All-America status. With the departure of Nick Lomax and the graduation of Bush Hamdan, however, Kellen has little depth behind him. Right now, Moore has only Mike Coughlin and walk-on Drew Hawkins behind him and the Broncos took no quarterbacks last offseason. This year, things looked different on the recruiting trail and the Broncos look to have snagged some top-notch signal callers to add instant depth under center.
Joe Southwick, a 3-star prospect out of Danville, CA was the first verbal that the Broncos received in this recruiting cycle and may be one of the best. The 6'2" Southwick is rated as the #32 signal caller in the country and threw for 3,781 yards and 36 TDs this last year while running another 8 into the endzone. Southwick was named the All-East Bay Offensive Player of the year. Look for Southwick to redshirt next year.
Southwick likely thought he'd be the only QB taken in the '09 class. Well, things have a way of changing when you commit in May because by August, Nick Lomax had departed the Boise State program and QB depth looked to be a real issue. Enter North Gwinnett quarterback Mikey Tamburo—a Jared Zabransky clone that competed in Georgia's largest division and held offers from just about every mid-major in the Midwest. Tamburo is not the pure passer that Southwick is, but he is more of a pure athlete. Tamburo is a classic Boise State recruit...one who likely would've been heavily recruited by BCS conferences had he only been a bit bigger. A picture of consistency and a proven winner, Mikey threw for over 8,000 yards and nearly 90 TDs in his prep career. Tamburo is an intriguing player who may find his way on to the field sooner than later in option situations designed around his strengths. Still, I think Tamburo redshirts as well in 2009.
With Vinny Perretta graduating and Jeremy Childs declaring for the NFL Draft, Kellen Moore will have a few less experienced targets back in 2009. Speedster Titus Young will be back from suspension along with Austin Pettis (who snags every ball thrown his way). Hard to believe that in 2007, it was Young and Pettis foregoing their redshirt years to contribute immediately. Well, 2009 looks ripe for some newcomers to see the field and Boise State has some exciting commits this year.
Kirby Moore is the WR commit that grabbed the headlines nationally and locally. The "little" brother (he's 6'3" and 205 lbs.) of Bronco QB Kellen Moore was highly coveted in Pacific Northwest recruiting circles and this season became the national record-holder for career TD receptions. Moore is rated as a 3-star recruit by Scout.com and while he possesses a respectable 4.6 40-time, he is not a burner like Titus Young. The younger Moore will get the job done with his precision routes and great hands and I think he stands an excellent chance of seeing the field in 2009. You just don't get that many opportunities to catch touchdown passes from your brother and Moore will contribute right away.
The other intriguing WR commit for the Broncos is one that no one really knew much about when he committed in June. Aaron Burks is a 6'4" wide receiver out of Mansfield, TX who is already enrolled at Boise State. Burks did not play much wide receiver before his senior year, but managed to notch 500 receiving yards for the Mansfield Timberview Wolves last season. Burks will need to put some weight on that thin frame, but has good speed (4.5) for his height and following the lead of fellow Texan George Iloka and enrolling early can't hurt his chances to see the field in 2009. Burks should make the two deep rotation next year to give Kellen more options in the red zone. Imagine two lanky receivers in Austin Pettis and Aaron Burks running corner fade routes in the end zone. Can you say 'unstoppable'?
Can you say 'raw'? Boise State's third WR commit of the class is Geraldo Hiwat, a Capital High (Boise) product who is originally from the Netherlands and playing his first year of football. Hiwat is built much like Burks at 6'3" and 185 lbs. but may have a step on him speedwise. Hiwat will benefit greatly from more practice time as he missed a chunk of last year to injury and is still learning the American game. Hiwat is a likely redshirt candidate.
The Tight End position is one that the Broncos utilize more effectively and with more innovation than most teams in the country. Tight Ends at Boise State are expected to catch and block with equal aptitude and contribute to the endless amount of motion looks that the Harsin offense shows. Well, the 2009 class looks to have a nabbed a Tight End that can do it all. Trevor Peterson out of Placerville, CA is a 6'4" 220 lb. athlete with a big brain to match his big frame. Peterson entertained scholarship offers from Harvard, Utah, UC Davis, and SDSU. Peterson has a rare combination of size, speed and strength that may remind Bronco Nation of Derek Schouman, Richie Brockel and Jeb Putzier...combined. Peterson was a real steal for the Broncos in this recruiting class and will be a mainstay in the next few years, but with the current glut of capable Tight Ends, I say he sits until 2010.
Boise State has no shortage of quality running backs, but the Offensive Lines growing pains last year produced far fewer rushing opportunities than in years past. With Ian Johnson's graduation, the Broncos will be looking for a new feature back. The most likely candidate to lead the Bronco rushing attack is Jeremy Avery, but the Broncos backfield will be crowded with talent as DJ Harper and Doug Martin will get their touches too. Will a new face follow DJ Harper's lead and play as a true freshman in 2009? Could be.
The Broncos only picked up one running back in this class—but they got a good one...maybe even a great one. Malcolm Johnson from Sam Barlow High School in Gresham led the state of Oregon in rushing two years straight. His senior campaign saw him rush for roughly 2600 yards and 25 TDs. One game early in the 2008 season, Malcolm rushed for 458 yards and 5 TDs. Johnson's consistency and explosiveness will make him a mainstay in the Bronco backfield for years to come...but it's doubtful he'll burn his redshirt in 2009 out of necessity unless the Broncos have an injury in the rotation or he simply is THAT good. With numbers like Johnson has put up as of late, that may well be the case. Johnson held offers from Utah, UNLV, Air Force and Wyoming.
The Broncos look to have snagged some great linebackers this year and the recent coaching shake-up that moved runningbacks/special teams coach Jeff Choate to LB coach will hopefully pay immediate dividends.
John Michael Davis may be the star of the 2009 class. Rated a 4-star prospect and the #13 WLB in the 2009 class, Davis has good speed and a solid frame (6'1" 220 lbs). Davis battled through injuries his senior year, but should come in healthy and ready to go, and with the linebacking corps needing to replace outgoing Kyle Gingg, Tim Brady and Dallas Dobbs I wouldn't be surprised to see JMD make it onto the '09 depth chart.
Allen Mooney is another prototypical Boise State recruit...a little taller and every Pac-10 team would've been on him. Mooney is stocky and strong and just plain produces...he had over 100 tackles his junior year despite missing three games. Mooney also battled some injuries his senior year, but nothing that should impair his progression at BSU. Good pursuit and strong tackling will make Mooney an ideal middle linebacker for the Boise State system. Allen is rated a 3-star recruit by Scout.com and the #26 MLB of the class. I see Mooney redshirting in 2009 as Derrell Acrey and Daron Mackey will slug it out for MLB supremacy.
The strong side 'backer position in the 2009 class will be filled by a jack-of-all-trades with a familiar last name. Gabe Linehan out of Oregon played quarterback and linebacker out of Banks High and looks to come in as the third LB of the the Broncos' class. Linehan is an all-around athlete whose brothers Josh and Cole both played on the lines of Oregon and Oregon State. Linehan's bloodlines hint that he'll bulk up from his current sinewy 6'3" 190 lb. frame. Linehan's quarterback experience, athleticim and height will remind a lot of Bronco fans of Colt Brooks. I think Linehan will be a good one, but probably won't see real action until 2010.
Check back tomorrow for the an overview of the DBs and Lineman of the 2009 Bronco recruiting class.
2009 Running Back commit Malcolm Johnson