Boise State Football: A Way Too Early Projection of the 2020 Depth Chart
The defending Mountain West champions will have to reload after another banner year. Here’s how we think the Broncos might do so.
An early guess as to what the Broncos will look like in 2020.
Folks, its almost February and that means it is time to start getting ready for the 2020 Boise State Broncos football season. The way, way too early depth chart is a yearly tradition for us here at Mountain West Wire where we make inferences about who we might see on the field well before spring camp is under way.
Unlike last year, we did not have major disputes at QB1 or RB1 but disagreed on a few other crucial positions and did vary considerably on how we saw the second string playing out.
Please note that the three of us do not have any insider information and are basing these depth charts purely on our fanatical obsession with Bronco football. Additionally, the signing and transfer periods have not finished, so there may be many changes between what we predict now and where the depth chart stands on September 5th when Boise State takes the field versus Georgia Southern.
Returning starters from 2019 are italicized.
QB1: Hank Bachmeier, Soph.
QB2: Chase Cord, RS Jr.
QB3: Cade Fennegan, Fr.
Others Considered: Zach Matlock, RS Soph.; Riley Smith, RS Soph.
Analysis: While the Broncos do lose interim starter Jaylon Henderson and his extremely efficient 1,080 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, Boise State does return starter Hank Bachmeier. Bachmeier had a terrific freshman year with 1,879 yards and nine touchdowns against six interceptions. Chase Cord also put up good numbers, as well, though he is dealing with a shoulder injury this offseason.
Confidence: Very high. While there may be some concern with the lack of a proven third-string quarterback, Boise State fans should feel very good with Bachmeier back at the helm and Cord as his backup. If Bachmeier can work with his offensive line to learn how to take less hits, Hank has all the tools to put up record breaking stats in 2020.
RB1: George Holani, Soph.
RB2: Robert Mahone, RS Sr.
RB3: Andrew Van Buren, Jr.
Others Considered: Danny Smith, RS Soph.
Analysis: Holani kept Boise State’s 1,000-yard runner streak alive by getting more and more carries as the year went along last season. Like Bachmeier, Holani was a true freshman and we should expect him to only improve in his sophomore campaign. Mahone dealt with injuries late in the 2019 campaign, but he still had 501 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns, including a tremendous performance in the first game of the year at Florida State, where he racked up 169 total yards and two touchdowns. Van Buren, meanwhile, showed growth in his sophomore campaign.
Confidence: Extremely high. Holani appears to be on his way to following Jay Ajayi, Jeremy McNichols, and Alexander Mattison’s path to NFL stardom. If he can stay healthy, he should notch another 1,000 yard rushing year and work his way onto an all-conference team. Mahone, Van Buren, and Smith should be able to handle the load as reserves behind Holani.
WR1 (X): Khalil Shakir, Jr.
WR2 (X): Stefan Cobbs, RS Soph.
WR1 (H): CT Thomas, Sr.
WR2 (H): Billy Bowens, RS Soph.
WR1 (Z): Octavius Evans, Sr.
WR2 (Z): Khyheem Waleed, RS Fr.
Others Considered: Shea Whiting, RS Fr.; LaTrell Caples, Fr.
Analysis: John Hightower, Shakir, and Thomas racked up 2,337 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns in 2019. While Hightower has graduated and is likely off to the NFL, Shakir has all the talent to step into the star wide receiver role. Evans also chipped in 211 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Confidence: Absurdly high. Shakir is a superstar and he is going to prove it in 2020. Hightower’s loss does hurt, but the Broncos have recruited this position extremely well. Shakir, Thomas, Evans, and Cobbs will likely all contribute, but expect another younger wide receiver to break through and show flashes of future stardom. This is likely the Broncos’ greatest position of strength.
TE1: John Bates, RS Sr.
TE2: Tyneil Hopper, RS Soph.
TE3: Cole Ramseyer, RS Soph.
Others Considered: Riley Smith, RS Soph.; Kaden Deluna, RS Soph.
Analysis: John Bates was listed at TE1 for most of 2019 and led the team in receptions from the position in 2019. He returns in 2020. The Broncos use the tight end position in a very versatile manner and departed senior Garret Collingham was the all-purpose tight end while Matt Pistone was the fullback/tight end hybrid. Hopper was a highly touted recruit, but played only sparingly in 2019.
Confidence: Feel alright. Bates is a huge target and had 22 catches in 2019. He will continue to be a great safety weapon for Bachmeier and Cord. I do expect Hopper to take a step forward as the more experienced players above him on the depth chart have left. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos fill the Pistone blocking role, but there is some talent at this position. Smith was a quarterback who moved over to the tight end spot in the middle of last season.
LT1: John Ojukwu, RS Jr.
LT2: Nick Crabtree, RS Sr.
LG1: Jake Stetz, RS Sr.
LG2: Ben Dooley, RS Fr.
C1: Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez, RS Soph.
C2: Donte Harrington, RS Sr.
RG1: Donte Harrington, RS Sr.
RG2: Riden Leong, Jr.
RT1: Garret Curran, RS Soph.
RT2: Kole Bailey, RS Sr.
Others Considered: Dallas Holiday, RS Soph.; Jacob Golden, RS Fr.; Keegan Ulrich, RS Soph.; Brandon Hernandez, Fr.
Analysis: The offensive line was an area of much concern in 2019 as highlights of Bachmeier getting hit dominated the early season. Much of this can be blamed on Bachmeier’s youth since the line improved tremendously under both Cord and Henderson. The unit also did well in opening holes for the run game. Left tackle Ezra Cleveland departs Boise State after his junior to enter the NFL draft and the Broncos only return one starter on the offensive line from 2019.
Confidence: Guarded optimism. The line had some issues in 2019 but was statistically solid. Ojukwu is a known commodity and is a solid player. Stetz and KHG both got playing time last year and Harrington was a solid starter in 2018 before missing 2019 due to injury. Many of 2019’s struggles may get fixed with Bachmeier’s continued development and coaching. The staff at Boise State will likely make improved offensive line play a priority heading into 2020.