Photo via Pam Davis

Who Will Be Boise State’s Surprise Players This Year?

Surprises From The Past

College football like no other sport produces surprise stars. The Broncos have had more than their share.

Unheralded Kellen Moore started as a redshirt freshman. Nobody could have predicted his success. And no one could have predicted he would be flown to New York City as a Heisman finalist.

Thomas Sperbeck was just a name on the depth chart until he got his moment. When he came to campus was anyone even close to imagining he’d leave The Blue with 224 receptions, 3601 yards, and 20 TDs?




Matt Paradis came to Boise as a walk on. He played eight-man football at Council, Idaho. Drafted by Denver, now at Carolina and making millions a year. Who saw that one coming?

The list of past surprise players is endless.

Last Year’s Surprises

Last year Hank Bachmeier and George Holani came in as freshman and their impact was immediate.

Here are Bachmeir’s sats:

CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD INT LNG RTG
137 219 62.6 1,879 8.6 9 6 76 142.7

Holani’s stats:

ATT YDS AVG TD LNG REC YDS AVG TD LNG FUM LST
192 1,014 5.3 7 50 26 206 7.9 3 25 0 0

They are not great stats but they were the leaders at their respective positions and key to a successful season.

This Year’s Surprises?

There is no way of predicting with any degree of certainty who will have a surprise breakout year. The most scientific way to predict is with a Bronco team picture hanging on the wall, a blindfold, and dart.

However, I see Riley Smith stepping into the role vacated by Garrett Collingham. They have similar backgrounds; both were outstanding quarterbacks in high school. They have a tight end’s frame that needed to be filled out.

Bryan Harsin used Collingham in several ways to take advantage of his ability to run from out of the backfield or pass the ball. Smith will likely fill that role this year if he develops or if it is needed.

Likewise, incoming freshman Austin Bolt may be gradually introduced into some sort of hybrid role. He plays well wherever he’s placed.

Stefan Cobbs is about ripe. He did see some action last year but has likely matured and honed his skills. Cobbs runs the 40 in less than 4.5 and has a vertical of 38 inches. That’s a good start for flat out go routes and fades to the corner.

Anyway, that’s what my team picture and dart says. I didn’t need the blindfold—either way is the same.




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About Kenton Lewis

Kenton lives in Boise. He is the former publisher of the Boise State sports site, Smurf Turf; writing exclusively about Broncos football and basketball. He is also a novelist and short story writer.

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