When former Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen jumped ship for Washington, Bronco Nation appeared to be experiencing the football equivalent of the apocalypse.
However, since being hired as the Broncos head coach, Bryan Harsin has put together arguably the highest-profile recruiting class in Boise State football history. By hiring Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator Marcel Yates as defensive coordinator and Stanford wide receivers and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford as offensive coordinator, Harsin has given Boise State football recruiting new life, and has allowed the Broncos to sign multiple four-star athletes.
1. Chase Blakley, tight end, Couer ‘d Alene High (Idaho)
As of a week before signing day, former Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen had poached five new Bronco recruits in favor of his new Washington football program. The first to flip from purple and gold to blue and orange was the Coeur d’Alene High senior tight end. He committed to Washington in May, but reconsidered Boise State once former Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian jumped ship for Southern California.
2. Dylan Sumner-Gardner, safety, West Mesquite High (Texas)
What did coach Harsin first do after taking over the Boise State football program? Well, he started by hiring Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator Marcel Yates, who then flipped one of the biggest recruits in Boise State football history from the Aggies to the Broncos. The 6-foot-1 West Mesquite High (Texas) safety was given a four-star rating by ESPN, and is No. 6 at the safety position according to the worldwide leader. He is already enrolled as a Boise State student.
3. David Moa, defensive end, Kearny High (California)
One of the few pre-Harsin commits to not flip his commitment, the 6-foot-3 defensive end out of San Diego, Calif. entertained offers from Oregon, BYU, Colorado and Montana before committing to Boise State in November. Moa received a three-star rating from ESPN.
4. Jeremy McNichols, wide receiver, Santa Margarita Catholic High (California)
The Santa Margarita Catholic High School senior committed to Boise State on Jan. 24 after looking at other offers from Utah, Colorado State and USC. The 5-foot-11 wide receiver received a three-star rating from ESPN.com and said he liked how young the Boise State coaching staff was and how they could relate to players. McNichols played wide receiver at Lakewood High as a sophomore and junior before transferring to Santa Margarita as a senior. McNichols said the Boise State coaching staff preached tradition and he wanted to be a part of it.
5. Alex Ogle, quarterback Jensen Beach High (Florida)
When California star quarterback Jalen Greene flipped from Boise State to follow Chris Petersen to Washington, Bronco fans panicked as the future of the quarterback position was in doubt. Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford was aggressive in his recruitment of players during the signing period, and landed 6-foot-3, 205 pound quarterback Alex Ogle out of Palm City, Fla. Ogle entertained offers from Florida International, Southern Florida, Florida Atlantic, North Carolina State and Princeton before saying yes to the Broncos. At 6-foot-3, Ogle will be one of the tallest quarterbacks in recent memory for the Boise State faithful. Ogle received a three-star rating from ESPN and was rated the 38th quarterback in the nation.
1. Brad Kaaya, quarterback, Chaminade College Prep (California)
Five years ago, the likelihood of Boise State signing a top five high school quarterback was completely out of the question. However, head coach Bryan Harsin hasn’t backed away from any high-profile recruits since arriving in Boise, and this 6-foot-4, 213-pound quarterback could have been the crown jewel of his first recruiting class. He is ranked 112th in the ESPN 300 ranking of the Class of 2014, and is the fifth best player at his position in the country. On May 13, 2013, he committed to Miami (FL) on May 13, but left the door open for Boise State until signing week before signing with the Canes.
2. Don Hill, defensive end, Timberline High (Idaho)
Boise State has become notorious with turning local, unscouted talent into three and four-star caliber collegiate athletes, but this year the Broncos lost out on a local defensive end. According to ESPN.com, the 6-foot-4 pass rusher is the only four-star football player coming out of Idaho. He was previously committed to Washington, but decided to follow new Southern California head coach Steve Sarkisian to Los Angeles following a Dec. 13 visit. Boise State offered, but never received a commitment from him.
3. Dimitri Flowers, tight end, Churchill High (Texas)
The 6-foot-3, 219-pound tight end was one of Boise State’s first high-profile commitments last season. He received offers from Boise State, Houston, Nevada and Oklahoma and—once his senior season was in full swing—he decided to go with the Sooners. He is considered a three-star recruit by ESPN.com. He runs a 4.83 40-yard dash, and has a vertical jump of 32.4 inches. The San Antonio, Texas native wasn’t a Bronco for very long, as he committed to Oklahoma on Nov. 6.
4. Jalen Greene, quarterback, Serra High (California)
The 6-foot-2, 194-pound dual-threat quarterback went from being the savior of the struggling Boise State football program to public enemy No. 1. He first committed to Boise State. When former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen left for Washington, the quarterback quickly changed his commitment to Washington. He then changed his commitment in favor of USC and head coach Steve Sarkisian. The Serra High senior would have opened a recruiting pipeline for the Broncos for years to come.
5. Khalil Oliver, defensive back, Rocky Mountain High (Idaho)
The local safety had been recruited heavily by new defensive coordinator Marcel Yates. He had shown a lot of interest in Boise State, as well as Washington and Oregon. The 6-foot-1 defensive back was given a three-star rating by ESPN and had visits with both Washington and Oregon earlier this month. He committed to Oregon on signing day.