Defense focus of Boise State recruiting efforts
For the second straight year, Chris Petersen and his staff
focused their recruiting efforts on the future of Boise State’s
Of the 21 players signed Wednesday, 13 are projected to play
somewhere on a unit that was ranked 12th in the nation in total
defense a year ago but has major holes created by the graduation of
both starting cornerbacks and four other starters.
So Petersen loaded up, announcing a recruiting class with five
cornerbacks, four linebackers, six defensive linemen and a safety.
They join three other defenders – a linebacker, cornerback and
tackle – who either signed with the 2012 class and delayed
enrollment or signed letters of intent in December and are now
enrolled in school.
”The numbers dictated . we have to beef up a little bit” at
cornerback, Petersen said. ”We’re very thin there, so all those
guys are going to have a great opportunity to come in and compete
The Broncos are coming off an 11-2 season, capped by a 28-26 win
over Washington. The Broncos also decided in December to scrap
plans to join the crumbling Big East Conference, opting instead to
stick with the Mountain West and a new television deal that
provides more financial stability and other incentives.
Petersen, who has used a high octane offense to compile an 84-8
record in seven seasons, also has 11 new recruits to one day plug
into the offense.
Leading that group is Ryan Finley, a 6-4 quarterback who threw
for 3,442 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior at Paradise Valley
High School in Phoenix. But Petersen says he’s also intrigued by
Finley’s ability to run and his intelligence, a key ingredient for
any Boise State quarterback.
”Ryan’s played in an offense that threw it a lot, which we
like. I think his best days are ahead of him in terms of his
running the ball,” Petersen said. ”He’s extremely, extremely
smart. He may be the best student coming in on the entire team. All
those things intangible-wise add up.”
The coaching staff also reached extensively into the junior
college ranks to fill needs, signing six from those schools, the
most ever, Petersen said. The list of transfers includes running
back Derrick Thomas, a junior who last season rushed for 829 yards
and nine touchdowns at Butler Community College in Kansas. On the
defensive line, the Broncos added Tutulupeatau Mataele, a 285-pound
tackle who had 14.5 tackles for loss last year while playing for
Mt. San Antonio College in California last year.
”Usually you don’t like to take that many JC guys, just because
you don’t have them that long,” Petersen said. ”That said, the JC
guys we’ve taken we’ve done pretty well with. Our coaches have a
pretty good feel for what we’re really looking for. It has to be
the right guy because he doesn’t have much time. We felt like we
had needs at these positions.”
Boise State also snatched two star players from the high school
in the small Idaho town of Fruitland. Joe Martarano, pegged for now
as a future middle linebacker and his classmate, tight end Alec
Dhaenens, helped their team win the state title in 2010. Martarano,
who was also being eyed by college and professional baseball
scouts, signed with Boise State at the end of his sophomore year,
one of the earliest commitments Petersen says he’s ever gotten.
”I think he’s got no chance as a baseball player. My scouting
sense says he can’t hit the curveball,” Petersen said with a smile
on his face. ”I know that guy is a football player and loves Boise