Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin: ‘We got the right guys’

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2014 Idaho Statesman

Video of Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin’s Signing Day press conference is embedded above. If you have problems with it, you can watch it here.

Below are highlights from the press conference.

And for a full report on the players who signed today, here is the blog I posted this morning — it includes bios, highlight videos and photos.

Harsin quotes

— The 2013 recruiting class is not finished. “I’m really excited about what’s gone on today. As you look at the class as far as what the needs were when we came in here, based off what the previous staff had and what we think we need for our personnel and what we’re going to do schematically, I believe we filled that. One thing I can say is the day is not over. This is the first day to sign, not the last. Things probably for the most part will change at some point today, but we’re not done.”

Later, after defensive end Jabril Frazier announced on TV that he signed with Boise State, Harsin said: “When we said the day wasn’t finished, this is what we were talking about. We’re thrilled to have Jabril and his family as part of this program, and he is another great future Bronco that is going to help us in an area we targeted. He is a strong student-athlete that fits what we want to do, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

— “(Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford) really worked his tail off in this quarterback situation, trying to find the right guys in there. We are really excited about Alex. He’s done a very good job for where he’s at, at a very young school.”

— “That connection with our staff and our players and Boise in general was very powerful.”

— “I’m fired up for these guys. It’s a dream come true. This is a small fraternity of guys who get to do this. I told every one of them to enjoy the moment today.”

— “I’m very proud in a short of amount of time what we did but recruiting is about relationships. Basically, you’re getting into the thick of it now where things are getting very serious and now all of a sudden here we come. The first thing is getting your foot in the door.”

— Harsin said he didn’t think the coaches extended any scholarship offers because of the short recruiting window more quickly than they otherwise would have. “It’s like anything else — when you have more time, you probably take more time. … We really had a lot of eyes on these guys on these guys we brought in.”

— He said defensive coordinator Marcel Yates’ track record for developing defensive backs was key to landing four-star safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner. “He’s a very good player but also smart enough to know he needs to continue to develop.”

— He told his staff that if they could sign 20 guys on Signing Day, that would be a success. “And the one thing is, we got the right guys,” he said. “Throughout our process it is the fit and it’s the guys we want to have in the program.”

— For a high school quarterback, Harsin wanted a player with size, a good release and good arm strength. With junior college transfer Tommy Stuart, he liked his winning pedigree. “As you put in a new system, you need guys back there and you need multiple quarterbacks to get that done,” Harsin said.

— “The O-line position, still, if you’re talking numbers, still needs to grow. If you’re just talking overall scholarship numbers. … D-line, that was one area that was extremely important for us to get the numbers there that we needed and get the type of players we needed. … Those two areas and really it was quarterback, D-line and O-line, were the top three areas as far as need. We targeted that early on and did a good job in those areas.”

— On tight ends David Lucero and Chase Blakley: “Those guys are both large men and they’re going to get big and they can run. You watch their tape and they’re both physical. … (Tight end) has been very valuable for us. It has done a lot of things.”

— On competing with former boss Chris Petersen for players: “It is awkward because you know most of the staff and all that. What we did is tried to take the whole emotional part out of the whole situation and just focus on what we had to do and not get into a personal battle or a competition.”

Notes

— The Broncos have added 21 scholarship players. He says they have room for two more without grayshirts. Safety Kekoa Nawahine, a Wednesday signee, plans to go on a church mission.

— The Spring Game will be the evening of April 12. The Broncos also will hold an open scrimmage April 5. In recent years, the Spring Game was the only open scrimmage in the spring.

— The Broncos are switching to a 4-2-5 scheme like what they ran under Justin Wilcox, with Winston Venable and Ellis Powers as nickels. The emphasis will be on coverage. Linebacker Corey Bell has moved to defensive back. Harsin said he wasn’t sure yet whether the other players designated as nickels would land.

— Pro day, when last year’s seniors work out for NFL scouts, is March 17.

— Quarterback Ryan Finley (shoulder surgery) and tailback Charles Bertoli (collarbone) are expected to participate in spring ball. Finley is throwing, Harsin said, but it’s still unclear how much he will be able to practice.

— Quarterback Tommy Stuart of Butte College is on scholarship. When Stuart committed, he wouldn’t say whether he was a walk-on or on scholarship.

— Harsin showed two videos to the media. One, posted in my earlier blog, has the coaches’ reaction to the first letter of intent. The other was of a surprise signing ceremony in front of the team for the four January enrollees. The players cheered as they put on Boise State hats. “I wanted to make sure and we wanted to make sure they had a chance to have a moment,” Harsin said. Harsin also talked to the players about this year’s class. “There’s 20 guys that helped us out during the recruiting process that were hosts,” he said.

•••

Boise State’s assistant coaches are appearing on the school’s radio show. Some highlights:

— Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said it helped recruiting Butte College quarterback Tommy Stuart that former Boise State player Robby Snelling is the offensive coordinator there. He said he wanted someone on campus in January “to compete and push.”

— Sanford raved about high school quarterback Alex Ogle: “The quarterback position is such a unique position that you really want to have a chance to work with that player. … Having a chance to see him throw, I was just blown away by his arm talent. He makes all the throws. He’s one of those guys if the location was just a bit off it wasn’t acceptable to him. He was competing for a scholarship essentially and didn’t back down from the challenge. He was cool — cool, calm and collected.” Sanford was impressed by the way Ogle handled himself on his official visit. “Coach Harsin brought a whole group out on the Blue. He jumped right in and broke down the huddle. That’s what we look for in quarterbacks — somebody who is not afraid to step up. One of the things I talked to Alex about is coming in with a chip on his shoulder. He was overlooked.”

— Running backs coach Kent Riddle said he put together a wish list of recruits when he arrived and Cory Young and Jeremy McNichols “were right at the top of it.” “We did awesome (today),” he said.

— Defensive line coach Steve Caldwell said Jabril Frazier will play stud and provide great speed off the edge. “He will be exciting here in the future,” he said.

— Caldwell said defensive lineman Rondell McNair gave him a scare by not answering his phone last night and sleeping till 10 a.m. He was late signing. “I was ready to strangle him,” Caldwell said. “I was a nervous wreck. … He could be one of those guys who could play outside on first down and then on third down could give us a great pass rush inside.”

— Caldwell said tackle Antoine Turner is the most explosive of the line recruits. “I’m expecting big things out of him and I’m expecting them early,” he said.

— Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates told safety Dylan Sumner-Garner to keep his commitment to Texas A&M but he insisted on following Yates to Boise, Yates said. Yates joked that he can’t go back to Texas now, but he’s glad to have one of the nation’s top safeties. “We need that physical presence on the back end and I feel like he will bring that to our defense,” Yates said. Said Sumner-Gardner: “I bring the bang. That’s what I do.”

— Defensive backs coach Julius Brown said cornerback Zavior Hoxie is physical and versatile. He said the Broncos want to be able to play defensive backs at various positions to keep offenses guessing. “Our thing in the back end is we’re bringing physical back,” Brown said. Added Yates: “Our whole mentality is we want hitters and runners. We want to let the offense know that we’re going to dictate to them what we’re going to do. I’m kind of old school. … We’re going to have a physical but fast defense.”

— Offensive line coach Scott Huff said junior college offensive lineman Jerhen Ertel was a “no-brainer.” He can play tackle or inside. “He’s a big ol’ sucker,” Huff said. “Size 18 shoes. He’s got skis.”

•••

RECRUITING RANKINGS

Scout.com: San Diego State (69), Boise State (72), San Jose State (74), Colorado State (76), Nevada (79).

Rivals.com: Boise State (66), San Diego State (73), Colorado State (76), Fresno State (76), Wyoming (95).

247sports.com: Boise State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Fresno State, Colorado State.

•••

SIGNEES

— QB Alex Ogle, 6-3, 205, Fr., Jensen Beach HS (Palm City, Fla.)
— DT Dereck Boles, 6-2, 275, Fr., Lakeland (Fla.) HS
— CB Zavior Hoxie, 5-11, 190, Fr., Buford (Ga.) HS
— DL Kaleb Hill, 6-1, 215, Fr., Samuel Clemens HS (Schertz, Texas)
— OL Tennessee Su’esu’e, 6-2, 295, Fr., East HS (Salt Lake City)
— DT Antoine Turner, 6-3, 280, R-Jr., Fullerton College (New Orleans)
— TE Chase Blakley, 6-4, 235, Fr., Coeur d’Alene HS
— OL Troy Bacon, 6-3, 280, Fr., Oak Hills HS (Apple Valley, Calif.)
— OL Andres Preciado, 6-6, 255, Fr., Mar Vista HS (Imperial Beach, Calif.)
— RB Jeremy McNichols, 5-10, 190, Fr., Santa Margarita Catholic HS (Long Beach, Calif.)
— DE David Moa, 6-4, 235, Fr., Kearny HS (San Diego)
— WR Sean Modster, 6-0, 185, Fr., Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS
— TE David Lucero, 6-5, 220, Fr., Holtville (Calif.) HS
— S Kekoa Nawahine, 6-2, 190, Fr., Rocky Mountain HS
— RB Cory Young, 5-10, 180, Fr., Norco HS (Norco, Calif.)
— DE Rondell McNair, 6-4, 250, R-Jr., Contra Costa College (New Bern, N.C.)
— DE Jabril Frazier, 6-4, 225, Fr., Verbum Dei HS (Los Angeles)
— S Dylan Sumner-Gardner, 6-1, 202, Fr., West Mesquite HS (Mesquite, Texas)*
— WR A.J. Richardson, 6-1, 182, Fr., Narbonne HS (Lomita, Calif.)*
— OL Jerhen Ertel, 6-5, 258, R-Jr., Glendale (Ariz.) C.C. (Bagdad, Ariz.)*
— QB Tommy Stuart, 6-0, 190, So., Butte College (Baltimore)*
* indicates already enrolled


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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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