A key question mark entering the 2018 season, the Boise State Broncos receiving corps has proved to be up to the task through two games.
Replacing the production of Cedrick Wilson was never going to be an easy fix for the Boise State Broncos football team.
Wilson, in only two seasons with the program, totaled 2,419 receiving yards. He also had 100 yards or more in a single game ten times. Wilson left Boise State with a career average of 18.8 yards per catch.
We knew the talent was present to fill the void and it was simply going to be a matter of these young men taking advantage of the opportunity. Two games in, this group certainly has, starting with the underclassmen on up through the seniors.
Seniors Sean Modster and AJ Richardson had flashed glimpses of their talent over the past few season. With players like Wilson, Thomas Sperbeck, Jake Roh, Chaz Anderson and Shane Williams-Rhodes receiving much of the spotlight, Modster and Richardson had to pick their moments.
Both have shown early on this season that learning from those ahead them has paid dividends. Modster leads the Broncos in catches (13) and receiving yards (241). His two receiving touchdowns are currently tied with Akilian Butler for the team lead.
Richardson, meanwhile has caught six passes for 130 yards and one score.
Spreading the wealth
Senior quarterback Brett Rypien, with a little bit of Chase Cord sprinkled in, has completed passes to an array of targets. All told, 11 different players have caught a pass, spread among receivers, tight ends, and running backs.
These players all bring something unique to the game. Whether it’s the deep ball, possession, or running the end around, they’ve found ways to contribute.
Junior college transfer John Hightower, second on the team with seven receptions, had quite the debut on the blue. In his second game with Boise State, Hightower caught a touchdown pass. He also provided one of the better highlights of the night with a winding 55-yard touchdown run.
Khalil Shakir has also shown skills in both the passing game (2 receptions, 15 yards) and running game (3 carries, 28 yards). Plus, CT Thomas and tight end John Bates have both contributed as well.
All of this and the perceived top receiver in Octavius Evans has yet to play.
Great individual receivers have graced the blue turf and Boise State Broncos over the years. The likes of Wilson, Sperbeck, Matt Miller, Austin Pettis, and Titus Young have all put up big numbers. This year’s group — even though it’s still early — brings to mind another group who was deep on talent and skill set. There wasn’t necessarily one standout in this previous group, but they worked together to accomplish great things.
2006 group of receivers
Many will remember the grit of quarterback Jared Zabransky and emergence of Ian Johnson (1713 yards, 25 td) in Boise State’s Fiesta Bowl winning season.
And while the receivers are remembered for a couple of special plays in the final game, it was a collective effort of five receivers and one tight end who shared the wealth.
Their names are etched in history. Jerard Rabb, Legedu Naanee, and Drisan James were the top ball-catchers, combing for 108 catches and 1777 yards that season. This team had it’s own versatile receiver in Vinny Perretta, who could throw, catch, and run. Toss in a Jeremy Childs (14 catches, 152 yards) and a star tight end in Derek Schouman (29 catches, 276 yards) and you have a group similar to today’s unit.
Is this to say this year’s receivers have already reached that level? No but this year’s crop of Boise State receivers has a chance to make their own mark on the program. There’s still a long road to travel down, with a giant mile post sitting in Stillwater this week. Two games in, though, and it looks like this season’s receiving unit might be on their way to creating something special for themselves.