Recruiting guru breaks down Boise State football’s incoming players

Brandon Huffman

Brandon Huffman

By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

Brandon Huffman is a national recruiting analyst for Here are his thoughts on the Boise State football team’s recruiting class — and the top storylines nationally.

What are your general thoughts on Boise State’s class (here are’s rankings for the Broncos’ recruits)?

“I love it. I think this is one of the strongest classes that they’ve had in a long time. There may not be a four-star guy in it, but they did a good job of spreading out across the country. If there’s any one weakness I’d say they have in this class, it’s on the offensive line. They filled needs at just about every position. That’s what really distinguishes a good class from a great class — how well you fill your needs and how well you brought balance to that class.”

Who are the two or three guys you really like?

“I really like Aaron Baltazar a lot. He’s a fantastic running back. It’s a pretty deep year for running backs out West. He’s a top 10 running back in the region. He was really under the radar. He didn’t do a lot of camps, didn’t hit the circuit, but he hit it on Friday night. Probably my favorite player in this class is (Fruitland linebacker) Joe Martarano. He’s one of the best pure football players in the West in this class. He’s a dang good football player. He can play a multitude of positions. Hopefully we’ll get to see him play football in college (instead of pro baseball) because he’s just a talent. Boise State got him so early in the process that nobody else really had a chance. He’s the type of kid Pac-12 schools would come into Idaho and recruit their tails off to try to get.”

Obviously Boise State loaded up at cornerback. What else stands out by position?

“They did a good job, I think, of really hitting the receivers. Even though they lost Jack Austin (to Cal), they picked it up with Tanner Shipley. Kendal Keys is a pretty good football player. Kendal Keys’ commitment is big because San Diego State offered him first — they not only strengthened their own team but crippled their top competition in the Mountain West. There’s a very good chance they’re going to get A.J. Richardson tomorrow. … Tanner Shipley is a guy who I really am a big fan of. They’ve done a good job of really filling the receiver need.”

What do you know about Richardson’s situation?

“He’s leaning heavily toward Boise State (and will announce Wednesday). He had a great visit. (Cornerback) Bryan Douglas was his host — they’re very close, they come from the same high school. … He’s such a big, physical receiver. He’s not an explosive receiver, but he’s not slow. … He’s kind of fallen into Boise State’s lap. Essentially they’re trading him for Jack Austin. We had him ranked higher than Jack Austin.”

There’s an academic concern with Richardson, though, right?

“He’s got to make sure he gets the SAT squared away. He did take it again (Jan. 26).”

Is there a sleeper you like in the class?

“It’s kind of hard to call (safety) Thomas Sperbeck a sleeper. He is kind of an unknown quantity on one hand just because he was mostly known as a quarterback. … He willingly chose Boise State because they wanted him as a safety. He realized the good coaching he was going to get there and realized the opportunity to play. That’s a lot for a kid to give up that dream of playing quarterback. He had offers to play quarterback but wanted to play at the highest level and he is a good enough athlete to move to safety … not unlike (former Boise State wide receiver) Chris Potter. He’s the kind of guy if he continues to develop physically and puts it together with his football IQ, he can be a pretty high-reward type guy.”

Nationally, what will the storylines be Wednesday?

“The big story is going to be what (defensive tackle) Eddie Vanderdoes does. He’s from Northern California. He is really the only elite prospect on the West Coast that’s yet to make his decision. The other is (defensive end) Robert Nkemdiche, the No. 1 player in the country. The No. 1 player in the country doesn’t usually sign with Ole Miss, but his brother is a (sophomore linebacker) there. This is the third year in a row an SEC school could get the No. 1 player, but not the typical Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, LSU type of school (the others were Missouri and South Carolina).”

Boise State has marquee games coming up against Washington (2013, 2015) and Ole Miss (2014). How are their classes looking?

“Ole Miss is having a class that Ole Miss doesn’t usually get. To sound like a teenager, their class is pretty sick. They’ve got the potential to get the No. 1 player in the country overall. They’ve got a top-five receiver. They have a good chance to land the No. 3 safety in the country and a very good chance to land the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country. They are really stocking up on elite talent. Washington, they’re (11th) in the overall rankings. They’re putting together a good class. Washington has recruited well under (Steve) Sarkisian. It’s getting it to translate on the field.”


Here is a photo gallery of Boise State’s recruits.


Brian Murphy has a look at how signing day works at Boise State here.


National Signing Day is Wednesday. Boise State coach Chris Petersen will talk about his class at 1:30 p.m.

Here are the commits we have confirmed:

— LB Joe Martarano, 6-3, 215, Fruitland HS
— TE Alec Dhaenens, 6-4, 235, Fruitland HS
— QB Ryan Finley, 6-4, 180, Paradise Valley HS (Phoenix)
— OL Eli McCullough, 6-5, 255, Rocky Mountain HS
— C Andrew Tercek, 6-3, 285, East Central HS (San Antonio, Texas)
— LB Tanner Vallejo, 6-2, 220, Nevada Union HS (Grass Valley, Calif.)
— LB Durrant Miles, 6-4, 225, Bingham HS (South Jordan, Utah); expects to join in 2016 because of LDS mission
— N Mat Boesen, 6-4, 210, West HS (Torrance, Calif.)
— RB Aaron Baltazar, 5-11, 198, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
— DT Nick Terry, 6-4, 260, Pleasant Grove HS (Elk Grove, Calif.)
— WR Kendal Keys, 6-2, 185, Helix HS (La Mesa, Calif.)
— DE/OLB Gabe Perez, 6-4, 215, Valencia HS (Placentia, Calif.)
— TE Jake Roh, 6-3, 210, Chaparral HS (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
— CB Dionza Blue, 5-11, 180, Bishop Amat HS (Pasadena, Calif.)
— CB Jonathan Moxey, 5-10, 175, Dwyer HS (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)
— ATH Thomas Sperbeck, 6-1, 175, Jesuit HS (Carmichael, Calif.)
— WR Tanner Shipley, 6-2, 185, Wilsonville (Ore.) HS
— CB Cameron Hartsfield, 5-10, 185, Allen (Texas) HS
— DE Kamalei Correa, 6-3, 250, St. Louis School (Honolulu)

— DL Justin Taimatuia, 6-1, 280, Fort Scott CC (Waipahu, Hawaii)
— CB Mercy Maston, 6-1, 190, Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, Calif.)

— K Tyler Rausa, 5-10, 180, Riverside CC (Temecula, Calif.)
— RB Derrick Thomas, 6-1, 210, Butler CC (Dothan, Ala.)
— CB Cleshawn Page, 5-10, 190, Harbor College (Los Angeles)
— DT Deuce Mataele, 6-3, 285, Mt. San Antonio College (West Valley, Utah)

— WR D.J. Dean, 6-1, 190, Eagle HS
— OL Archie Lewis, 6-4, 255, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) HS

— LB Darren Lee, 6-2, 203, Lassen HS (Susanville, Calif.)

Read our coverage on your iPhone or Android phone.

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

Posted in Bronco Beat