The Story of Taylen Green: From highly anticipated recruit to going to where the grass is greener

Photo by Taya Power-Thornton

Summer 2023 was an exciting time for Boise State football.

The Broncos were coming off a 10-4 season, losing the Mountain West Championship, winning the Frisco Bowl and retaining the exciting redshirt freshman quarterback Taylen Green.

Green took over for former Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier after a rough 2-2 start to the 2022 season, in which Bachmeier decided to enter the transfer portal. Green started and won 8 of the last 10 games in the 2022 season.

The young quarterback was perhaps the most anticipated player to enter the program since Kellen Moore.

The anticipation grew as, through the offseason, Boise State hired offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan.

Hopes and expectations were as high as ever at Boise State. Could this finally be the beginning of a dynasty comparable to the Chris Petersen and Kellen Moore days? The thoughts of Mountain West Championships, New Year’s Six Bowls and maybe even a conference upgrade danced through every Bronco fan’s head.

What followed was nothing short of a reality check for the Blue and Orange.

A blowout loss to the University of Washington in the season opener and another loss the next week to University of Central Florida (UCF) at home earned the Broncos an 0-2 record, becoming their worst start since 2005.

The hopes and dreams of the offseason were quickly unraveling, however, during the loss to UCF we saw the first glimpse of some inspiring quarterback play, but not from the expected source, Taylen Green.

Redshirt freshman backup quarterback Maddux Madsen came in for the final minutes when Green went out with apparent leg cramps and led an impressive scoring drive in a hurry-up offense.

In one drive, Madsen did what Green seemed to be incapable of doing for the entirety of the 2023 season: lead the offense down the field in a must score situation.

After the game, reporters asked then head coach, Andy Avalos, if there would be any opportunity for a quarterback competition between Green and Madsen. Avalos shut the question down quickly, stating Green was their guy.

Just three weeks later, after beating weak University of North Dakota and San Diego State, the Broncos traveled to Memphis to take on the Tigers.

After two drives for Boise State’s offense, Madsen’s name was called again, seemingly for no reason. After the game, it came out that it was planned that he’d go in for the third offensive drive.

What was likely not planned was his takeover in the fourth quarter. The Broncos were down 28-17 with 11 minutes left, and on their final two offensive drives, they trusted Madsen to move the ball down field, not Green.

Madsen threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, however it wasn’t enough as the Broncos lost their last out of conference game for the season.

What is going on here? Green is supposed to be the one leading the offense in clutch moments and now  Madsen is taking snaps during the game’s closing moments.

Green’s reputation as a great dual-threat quarterback was beginning to come into question. He became one dimensional as weeks went on and after the Memphis game. Shortly it was announced that the Broncos would be moving to a dual quarterback system.

What happened? Hamdan had an entire offseason to craft an offense specifically, “taylored to Taylen.”

Green had even more time taking starter reps in practice to get polished, if you count the 2022 season.

“You’re in second and long situations or you’re in third and longer situations,” Hamdan said. “Right now Maddux has the better feel in drop back pass type situations.”

Nothing was clear about the state of the Broncos at this point. There was turmoil in the locker room regarding coaching decisions, and there was talk amongst players about a mass exodus.

Nevertheless, fans still showed up to home games throughout the madness.

At his best, Green would have 40 or 50 rushing yards a game. At his worst, he struggled to move the ball down field through the air and threw more interceptions than touchdowns.

This called into question the viability of Green’s play at a high level. It was clear at this point in the season that Green’s lack of production combined with the turmoil in the locker room was holding the team back.

The 2023 season was beginning to look like a repeat of last season at the quarterback position, just short of the home crowd booing like they did with Bachmeier.

After a few shaky weeks in the new dual quarterback system, the Broncos welcomed the University of New Mexico to the Blue turf.

This was the first that Madsen was called to start instead of Green, and he played a great first half all the way down to the last offensive snap, where he was injured and ruled out for the season.

A day later, Avalos was fired and Spencer Danielson was named interim head coach. Madsen’s injury marked the end of the dual quarterback system for the year, and in some ways, the silver lining for Danielson’s decision regarding what to do about the dual quarterback system was made for him by force.

Green started the final three games of the season, compiling his best performances since 2022.

His final game as a Bronco was his best by far in the Mountain West Championship game against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He compiling 316 yards and four touchdowns and was named the game’s most valuable player.

Just days later, Green announced that he would forgo the L.A. Bowl against the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and would enter the transfer portal.

It was clear what his potential was at Boise State, however it seemed difficult for the young quarterback to show it.

He, along with the rest of the team reportedly were dealing with a host of distractions. From the coaching troubles to Eric McAlister’s midseason departure, no Bronco had it easy this season when it came to football.

Both Green and the Broncos seem to have moved on rather quickly however. Boise State has already recruited a five star redshirt freshman quarterback in Malachi Nelson from the University of Southern California (USC), and Green has committed to play for the University of Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference.

Time will tell how both parties like the changes, but one thing’s for sure. If there’s another controversy at quarterback in 2024, Boise State will officially be the college football quarterback graveyard.

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