Explosive and breakout players have defined Boise State’s offense, for the better part of the millennium. From running backs like Brock Forsey and Ian Johnson, to receivers like Titus Young and Austin Pettis. But through it’s history, Boise State might not have ever encountered the game changing electricity like what they have found in sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes.
“He’s very elusive and he’s really tough,” Boise State head coach Chris Petersen said. “He’s a really good competitor and that kind of combination makes him hard to tackle.”
Williams-Rhodes has had an electric 2013 season, already nearly doubling all of his receiving stats he set as a freshman in 2012. Through six games this year, Williams-Rhodes has hauled in 40 receptions for 356 yards and four touchdowns.
Coming in at 5-foot-6-inches and 158 pounds, Williams-Rhodes is not the expected standard to see from a typical Division I college receiver. But Williams-Rhodes’ Wes Welker-like shiftiness and agility adds an element to the Broncos offense that helps them stretch plays and pick up crucial yards in difficult situations.
“We just want guys who make plays,” Petersen said.
For the Broncos deep-threat receivers like redshirt junior Giraldo Boldewijn, having dynamic receivers like Williams-Rhodes help to open up down field situations. Boldewijn knows Williams-Rhodes’ role in the offense is crucial.
“I’ve kind of seen flashes in practice and now he’s able to do that on gamedays,” Boldewijn said. “I think it’s really good, he keeps improving.”
When Williams-Rhodes arrived on campus, he proved instantly he was here to make a statement as he contributed consistent minutes as a true freshman. But now in his sophomore year, Williams-Rhodes is emerging as one of Boise State’s brightest stars.
“Players come to Boise State for a reason,” Boldewijn said. “It just takes a while.”
Williams-Rhodes’ explosiveness and play-making ability has been key to a Boise State squad that had been stepping up its play since a disappointing 41-40 loss to rival Fresno State.
“Obviously Shane has been playing really well,” junior linebacker Corey Bell said. “I think everybody as whole, I think both sides are stepping up.”
Williams-Rhodes’ playmaking ability for the Broncos this season has been a necessary spark the last two games in making things happen they weren’t able to do in the loss against Fresno State. As the Broncos renew their rivalry against Nevada this weekend in their homecoming game, expect Williams-Rhodes to be called on once again and his role to keep increasing.