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Boise State football: Could it have gone any better?

In what has been the most chaotic of months in the Mountain West and beyond, Boise State has been a bastion of stability. That was evident Wednesday.

BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, December 16, 2021.

There are new hammer-carriers and flag-bearers at Boise State. Lots of them. One by one, the commitments came in beginning in June, and the Broncos’ 2022 recruiting class climbed the rankings. Despite attempts to whisk many of them elsewhere, there were 22 signees Wednesday on early signing day. Boise State inked every single one of its commits except one (and that one wasn’t a surprise). It’s the No. 1 class in the Mountain West and around a top 50 class nationally. Positions of need? There are five offensive linemen, six defensive linemen and three linebackers. And a four-star Texas running back, Ashton Jeanty, who surprised a lot of folks by sticking to his guns. Speaking of the word “commitment,” how about 10 of the newcomers pledging to enroll in January?

What happened in the past week speaks to an established culture at Boise State, one that has been fortified by the hiring of Andy Avalos last January. Linebacker Dishawn “Hunter” Misa of Sammamish, WA, waited to make his commitment and had every opportunity to bite on one of his Power 5 offers. Then Misa said last Friday he was all-in on the Broncos. Junior college defensive linemen Cortez Hogans and Deven Wright could have checked a lot of boxes for Power 5 programs but were drawn to Boise State. A Pac-12 starter at offensive guard, Cade Beresford of Washington State, ended up opting for the place his dad played. And edge rusher George Tarlas out of Weber State? The native of Chalkida, Greece, is a graduate of Borah High, and—don’t you know it—Boise is home now.

HEIR-APPARENT TO HANK BACHMEIER, OR TAYLEN GREEN?

The guy who gets a lot of the attention in a college football recruiting class is the quarterback, and so it is for Maddux Madsen at Boise State. It’s likely that Madsen isn’t at a Power 5 school right now only because of his size: the American Ford, UT, star is 5-10, 191 pounds. Frankly, you don’t bring a guy like that into an FBS program unless he’s got some moxie. Madsen’s nickname is “Maddog,” which indicates moxie. He threw for 3,004 yards and 38 touchdowns with only six interceptions this past season. Madsen won’t be unseating Hank Bachmeier next season. After all, he won’t be arriving on campus until June. But it’ll be interesting to see how Madsen competes with 6-6 Taylen Green down the line. You’ll always know which one is which in QB drills.

TALK ABOUT WANTING TO BE HERE…

There may be no player more fired up to be at Boise State than wide receiver Prince Strachan from the Bahamas by way of Fort Pierce, FL. Strachan used lots of exclamation points on Twitter Wednesday: “Thrilled and excited to announce I have signed to Boise State University!! It’s official, I’m a bronco!!!!! Feels great!!!” Strachan, the brother of Indianapolis Colts wideout Michael Strachan, grew up in Freeport on Grand Bahama island and didn’t play football until two years ago. He wrote a first-person story for the USA Today network, published on Wednesday. “This is what I trained all my life for,” writes Strachan. “My sophomore year when I got here from the Bahamas, I always had that belief that this could happen. My family always believed, too. I came a long way, but we always had that dream.”

MEANWHILE, AT NEVADA

With new coach Ken Wilson trying to pull things together at Nevada, the Wolf Pack landed just three players on early signing day. At the same time, the Pack found out its newly-departed star wide receiver, Elijah Cooks, signed with San Jose State Wednesday. That has to hurt. Chris Murray of Nevada Sports Net reports that Cook is “the first Wolf Pack player in the portal not to sign with Colorado State (the Rams have inked nine ex-Nevada players).” That has to hurt, too.

MOUNTAIN WEST PLATITUDES

In terms of rankings and honors, Mountain West basketball and football have had a pretty good week. The Colorado State men’s hoops team, now 10-0, debuted in the Top 25 Monday at No. 23 in both polls. The Rams don’t have any wins over ranked teams, but they’re coming off wins over Mississippi State and Saint Mary’s, and they have a 14-point road win over Creighton. Coach Niko Medved has CSU on a rapid rise in his third season. On the gridiron side, the Mountain West had six players named to the three AP All-America squads, more than any other Group of 5 conference. The first-teamers were John Mackey Award winner Trey McBride of Colorado State and Ray Guy Award winner Matt Araiza of San Diego State.

UNDERAPPRECIATED BRONCOS HOOPS FACTOIDS

With so much attention focused on Boise State’s shooting (or lack thereof at the charity stripe), a couple of things have flown under the radar. One is rebounding. The Broncos outboarded Santa Clara 41-30 in Tuesday night’s win and grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, matching their season high. They’ve topped their opponents on the glass in eight straight games and nine of 11 overall this season. The other is defense in general. Boise State continues to look like a Bobby Dye team at that end of the floor. The 72-60 victory over the other Broncos marked the eighth time this season and the fourth in a row coach Leon Rice’s squad has held its opponents to 60 points or less. Santa Clara came in averaging 77.2 points per game.

STEELIES COOLED ON HOME ICE

Longtime Idaho Steelheads fans loved seeing former favorite Scott Burt back in Boise as coach of the Rapid City Rush for the second time. At least until the end of the third period. Burt’s rush snapped the Steelheads’ four-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in Idaho Central Arena. The game marked the return of goaltender Colton Point to Idaho after beginning the season with Texas of the AHL. Point played five games with the Stars, posting a 1-2 record and a 4.40 goals-against average. That’s a high GAA. Coach Everett Sheen started Point against Rapid City, and he made 21 saves.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…December 16, 1973:

O.J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills gains 200 yards against the New York Jets to become the first NFL player ever to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. Simpson finished the season at 2,003. Enough said. There have been seven 2,000-yard rushers in the NFL since Simpson: Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis, Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson and—last year—Derrick Henry. Boise State faced Johnson and Peterson in college, of course.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.) 

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