The term “replacing”, as necessary as it is to the game of football, isn’t always an easy task. The process of finding that replacement, or even part of the puzzle, without diminishing, can be just as hard. At the Boise State receiver position, this is exactly the case.
Making a name for himself in the 2016 season, and then becoming the number one passing option in 2017, the Broncos were blessed with the services of community college transfer Cedrick Wilson. Accounting for 41% of all receiving yardage and 29% of all receptions in 2017, Wilson’s in-game abilities will surely be missed. As Wilson leaves the program, the former standout has the potential to suit up on Sunday afternoons.
— Dave Southorn (@davesouthorn) April 3, 2018
For the first time in a while, the Broncos will not have a definite number 1 receiver heading into 2018.
As the Broncos move into the fast approaching 2018 season, they must focus on replacing statistics and production with the current talent they posses.
2018 Possible Impact Players
A duo of Seniors in A.J. Richardson and Sean Modster
For most of last season, both A.J. Richardson and Sean Modster helped bolster a receiving core lead by Cedrick Wilson.
Richardson showed promising potential when he scored on an 87 yard touchdown pass from Rypien against Air Force. The duo seemed to pick up right where they left off, as the spring game left Richardson with 117 receiving yards, 4 catches, and 2 touchdowns.
Modster came up big in a few games last season, giving the Broncos the spark they needed from time to time. Against the likes of BYU, Modster caught Rypien’s first touchdown pass of the season. This gave the Broncos an offensive spark that saw them win 24-7, but also seemed to be a bit of confidence booster for Rypien progressing into the rest of the season.
Sean Modster gets separation and makes the catch during one on one drills… pic.twitter.com/txXYkbi3ZF
— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) August 4, 2018
Richardson and Modster accounted for 65 of the Broncos 281 receptions last season. Their production, growth, and achievement will be vital next season.
There is no doubt the two senior wide outs will need to step up, and lead a young group of receivers.
Superstar Sophomores C.T. Thomas and Octavius Evans
Returning for their second season with the Broncos, true freshman, now sophomores, C.T. Thomas and Octavius Evans get ready for the challenge.
“I’m more comfortable out here and I can be able to make more plays knowing what I’m doing,” Octavius Evans said in a recent interview with the Idaho Statesman.
For Evans and Thomas, it’s simply about repetition. The two youngsters came to the Broncos directly out of high school, and were put to the test almost imminently.
The two receivers each had 15 receptions combining for 252 yards.
Evans had 2 touchdowns last season, a jump ball/fade route against Air Force and a one-on-one slant route against Utah State, as a true freshman.
— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) October 29, 2017
Thomas, though he didn’t score at all, produced time and time again. Focusing more on speed and shifting abilities, the true freshman brought a version of the game back that hadn’t been seen since Shane Williams-Rhodes (2014).
Much like that of their senior counterparts, the super sophomores have the potential to make the receiver position as dominant as ever.
Harsin noted in the same interview that “they’re going to have to be leaders in the wide receiver room.”
Brand New Faces Stefan Cobbs and Khalil Shakir
In early June, the Division 1 college football landscape changed drastically with the approval of a new rule directed at newcomers.
Rule Change: Players Can Now Play In Up To 4 Games In A Season Without Burning a Redshirt!
The new rule couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bronco football team. With such competition, especially at the wide receiver position, new faces could play instantly.
For newcomer, Stefan Cobbs, getting on the field early won’t be a problem. The incoming freshman was one of two brand new athletes to practice in the veterans only time slot. The other name, running back Andrew Van Buren. The two were thrown in with the veterans on day 1 of fall camp.
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) August 3, 2018
The new receiver shined, catching a deep ball in a passing drill.
Nice grab by Stefan Cobbs this morning at practice. pic.twitter.com/vM4iRccsrw
— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) August 6, 2018
Khalil Shakir, along with fellow receiver Stefan Cobbs, has had high praise from the coaching staff. His first practice, he played with the newcomers. However, he should fit in nicely with the veterans, and the rest of the Bronco squad.
Shakir was the highest recruit in the Broncos’ 2018 class. With four games in his quiver, the four star athlete may jump into the starting rotation rather quickly.
As the staff prepares to see which true freshman play this fall, Harsin was quick to acknowledge Shakir. “He will play immediately,” Harsin said in a recent interview with the Idaho Statesmen.
Physically, the kid doesn't look like a first-year player… pic.twitter.com/5OUZIotKxP
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) August 4, 2018
Akilian Butler Sr.– still recovering from a torn A.C.L. sustained against Washington State
Damon Cole RS. Fr– red-shirted all last season
John Hightower RS JR– tall, JUCO Wide Receiver transfer (sound familiar?)