MWC Signing Day Review: Mountain Division
By Joe Jenkins
Since taking over as head coach at Boise State in 2006, Chris Petersen has made beating the Broncos on the football field one of the hardest things to do in college football. It's only happened eight times on his watch.
One of the few places coaches could try and get back at Petersen was in February on national signing day. Under his reign, the Broncos have never had the kind of recruiting haul that one might expect from a growing national powerhouse, often finishing well below 50 in the supposed national rankings.
This year is no different. Peterson’s class looks solid but unspectacular. Given Petersen's track record, however, it could shape up to be one of the most complete in the Mountain West.
In alphabetical order, here’s how the rest of the newly formed Mountain Division fared during recruiting season.
Note: Rankings for high school recruits varies from site to site. In an effort to keep all things even, the star caliber of recruits was taken from scout.com.
Breakdown: 51 commits: 1 3-star; 47 2-star; 3 unranked
Top Signee: Pete Cender TE
Needed: QB, RB
What It Means: The Falcons lost their leading passer (Connor Deitz) and rusher (Cody Getz) from last season to graduation. They responded by signing four QBs and five RBs. That’s one benefit of not giving out scholarships: you can bring on as many recruits as you like. The downside to not offering free rides is the level of talent you can pursue. Cender is the only 3-star recruit said to be reporting for duty in Colorado Springs this summer.
Breakdown: 26 commits: 19 3-Star; 7 2-star
Top Signee: Aaron Baltazar RB
Needed: RB, DL
What It Means: Petersen's recruiting classes are a lot like investing in government bonds. They are hardly exciting, but you're virtually gauranteed a reasonable rate of return. Baltazar has drawn comparisons to Tampa Bay phenom and former Bronco Doug Martin, but he may have to wait to prove he’s on that level. Sophomore Jay Ajai averaged 6.7 yards on 82 attempts last year.
Breakdown: 23 commits: 4 3-star; 19 2-star
Top Signee: Nick Stevens QB
Needed: DL, WR, QB
What It Means: The Rams are young at QB, so the California native Stevens could push for playing time provided second year head coach Jim McElwain is willing to tolerate another season with a signal caller on a learning curve. At 6-foot-5, DE Austin Berk could fill up passing lanes, but will need to add some bulk to his 223-pound frame.
Breakdown: 26 commits:1 3-star; 25 2-star
Top Signee: Lamar Jordan ATH
Needed: WR, DB, QB
What It Means: The Lobos didn’t think the QB position was the reason they couldn't manage 1,000 passing yards as a team in 2012. Instead, three of their top 10 commits were wideouts. Jordan played QB during his high school days in Frisco, TX, but projects as a WR at the next level. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to at least give the kid a look under center.
Breakdown: 21 commits: 21 2-star
Top Signee: Tyshon Mosely OG
Needed: WR, DB, QB
What It Means: The Aggies are one of two newcomers to the Mountain West that had their head coach lured away by a larger program. Just like San Jose State, Gary Andersen’s departure certainly had a negative impact on Utah State’s recruiting. Mosley isn’t the kind of commit that gets fans riled up, but at 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, he has the body to be a quality anchor on the Aggie offensive line.
Breakdown: 22 commits: 22 2-star
Top Signee: Troy Boyland DT (JC)
Needed: OL, DB, RB
What It Means: At 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Boyland can certainly give offensive linemen nightmares. He recorded 27 tackles for the College of San Mateo in 2011. The Cowboys needed offensive linemen and inked five. Keep an eye on all-purpose back Josh Tapscott.