Predicting Boise State’s Football Depth Chart
Who will step up for the Broncos in the fall?
Time to look at the Broncos two-deep
After an 11-3 season with a Mountain West Conference Championship (and a final AP ranking of 22) in 2017, the Boise State Broncos find themselves returning a stacked roster on both sides of the ball for the 2018 campaign. Expectations are high and the Broncos will certainly begin the 2018 season ranked with many projecting a return to the New Year’s Six. Here is a way (WAY) too early depth chart and analysis:
|QB||Rypien, Brett SR||Cord, Chase RS FR||Henderson, Jaylon JR||Smith, Riley, FR|
|RB||Mattison, Alexander JR||Van Buren, Andrew FR||Mahone, Robert RS SO||Beasley, Drake RS FR|
|WR X||Modster, Sean RS SR||Hightower, John JR||Butler, Akilian RS JR||Carter, Julian RS SO|
|WR Y||Evans, Octavius SO||Shakir, Khalil FR||Thomas, Cameron FR||Cole, Damon RS FR|
|WR Z||Richardson, A.J. RS SR||Thomas, CT SO||Cobbs, Stefan FR||Bowens, Billy FR|
|TE||Hopper, Tyneil FR||Pistone, Matt RS JR||Bates, John RS SO||Blakely, Chase RS SR|
|OT||Cleveland, Ezra RS SO||Bailey, Kole RS SO||Ojukwu, John RS FR|
|OG||Molchon, John RS JR||Dixon, Austin RS SO|
|C||Larson, Garrett RS JR||Harrington, Donte RS SO|
|OG||Quevedo, Eric RS JR||Troughton, Zack RS JR|
|OT||Preciado, Andres RS SR||Moore, Isiah RS SR|
*Italics represent incoming Junior College Transfer
**Bold Represents 2017 All-Conference Selection
Returning: Rypien (2877 yards, 62.6%, 16 TDs, 6 INTs)
Departed: Montell Cozart (754 yards, 62.9%, 10 TDs, 1 INTs/ 361 rushing yards)
Confidence Rating: A-
Analysis: Brett Rypien is a 3-time all-conference quarterback and may be the best returning offensive player in the Mountain West. After a slow start, Rypien finished the season on fire en route to leading the Broncos to a conference championship and bowl victory. Rypien has proven for the last 3 years that his talent level is as good as any quarterback to ever play for the Broncos (yes, you read that correctly).
The challenge for Rypien will be to demonstrate that consistently for 13 straight weeks in 2018. While there is considerable talent around Rypien, he will enter 2018 without Cedrick Wilson as his go-to target. While there is not a better returning quarterback in the Mountain West, the confidence rating is an ‘A-’ due to the lack of trusted back up. Henderson is a dual threat JC transfer with experience and Cord quarterbacked the scout team in 2017, neither has taken a snap at the FBS level as of yet.
Returning: Mattison (1086 yards, 5.1 average, 12 TDs/284 receiving yards, 1 TDs) and Mahone (115 yards, 3.3 average, 1 TD)
Departed: Ryan Wolpin (448 yards, 3.7 average, 6 TDs/107 receiving yards)
Confidence Rating: A
Analysis: Mattison was an all-conference honorable mention when he took over the reins from Jeremy McNichols in 2017. Mattison is a powerful running back who should be a workhorse for the Broncos again in 2018. While Cedrick Wilson deservedly gets much recognition in the Broncos 2017 wild comeback win versus Colorado State, it should not be overlooked that Mattison gained an insane 242 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns in that contest.
While Wolpin was a steady backup, his role should be filled nicely by backups Mahone and Beasley. The wild card will be highly touted recruit Andrew Van Buren. Expect to see Van Buren play in his true freshman year and possibly make a big impact in his first year as Mattison and McNichols did before him.
Returning: Richardson (33 receptions, 494 yards, 2 TDs), Modster (32 receptions, 335 yards, 3 TDs), Evans (15 receptions, 131 yards, 2 TDs), and Thomas (15 receptions, 121 yards)
Departed: Cedric Wilson (83 receptions, 1511 yards, 7 TDs) and Austin Cottrell
Confidence Rating: B
Analysis: The numbers that all-conference first-teamer Cedrick Wilson put up are staggering. Wilson will be impossible to replace singularly. Richardson and Modster were contributors in 2017 along with returning true freshmen Evans and Thomas. Expect all four to play bigger roles without Wilson and potentially see either Evans or Thomas break out in their sophomore campaigns.
Even more intriguing will be to see which true freshman makes an impact. Shakir is a big-time recruit and maybe the next great Bronco wide receiver; he is a lock to play in 2018. Do not sleep on Cobbs or Cameron Thomas to contribute immediately as a true freshman either. Between these three incoming recruits and the returning youngsters (Evans and CT Thomas), the wide receiver position should be loaded in the future. The question hanging over this group will be how this unit will respond without megastar Cedrick Wilson.
Returning: Bates (3 receptions, 34 yards) and Pistone
Departed: Jake Roh (39 receptions, 410 yards, 9 TDs) and Alec Dhaenens (13 receptions, 175 yards, 2 TDs)
Confidence Rating: B-
Analysis: Losing all-conference selection Jake Roh and his primary backup will create a learning curve for the tight ends at Boise State in 2018. Fortunately, head coach Bryan Harsin stunned Bronco Nation by landing a huge recruit, Hopper, on signing day. Expect Hopper to play a big role from day one with the Broncos. Bates is a huge target (6 foot 6) who played late season after Roh went down with an injury.
While Pistone did not contribute much in way of pass catching, he was the primary blocker for the Broncos; sliding from tight end to fullback in different packages. All 3 of these players should contribute. Chase Blakely was a big-time recruit who has been slowed by injuries the past few years. If healthy, Blakely may be a huge factor for the Broncos in the 2018 season.
Returning: Cleveland, Molchon, Larson, Quevedo, Preciado, Moore, and Harrington
Departed: Mason Hampton, Archie Lewis, and Andrew Tercek
Confidence Rating: B
Analysis: Hampton and Lewis were both all-conference selections who will not be returning in 2018. The Broncos do however return 3 starters and 7 players with game experience. New offensive line head coach Brad Bedell will have some talent but will have some work to do in the spring to produce the stalwart offensive line that Bronco fans are accustomed to. Amongst the notable returning talents are Molchon and Cleveland, who were both all-conference honorable mentions and should have impactful 2018 seasons.
Overall Analysis: The Boise State Broncos offense should be a dynamic and powerful unit in 2018. With Rypien and Mattison at the helm; the Broncos will score lots of points. There is talent and depth across the board. Losing a superstar like Cedrick Wilson (and Jake Roh) will certainly be something to watch, but there is young talent ready in the wings. Expect the Broncos to be amongst the best offenses in the Mountain West in 2018.
**All statistics from ESPN and College Football Reference
**Disclaimer, this is merely a projected depth chart. I have no inside information, just a love, and obsession for the Boise State Broncos.