Boise State has closed the last three seasons ranked no worse than 11th in the AP Top 25.
And about a month later, on signing day, it hasn’t cracked Scout.com’s recruiting top 50.
The Broncos aren’t just an anomaly because of their blue turf.
As competition for football recruits becomes ever hotter, gaining more and more attention from fans who post a running commentary along with video of the best prospects online, Boise State stands out not because of how great its recruiting is but, in national terms, how bad it is _ at least according to the rankings.
“We’ve had kids that have no offers and we’ll pride ourselves on that,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen says. “We don’t care who has or hasn’t offered a guy. If we like him we’ll recruit him.”
Sure, Petersen would love to bring in the best talent available. But that isn’t the Broncos’ reality in a landscape where they are recruiting against established Bowl Championship Series schools, whether it’s Oregon from the Pac-10 or Texas from the Big 12.
So the Broncos’ staff have become more creative, relying on the upside of a prospect, the basic intangibles all coaches seek, and working on a never-ending homework assignment _ to find out as much information as possible about a potential recruit.
The result: those diamond-in-the-rough stars who have fueled the Broncos’ success and shown up the experts.
“It just really comes down to they’re good football (players). You put the tape on and you like them a lot as a player and then you do your homework and that’s where most people won’t do it,” Petersen said. “It’s amazing out there the lack of homework that’s really done and people will just end up offering guys because everyone else has. ‘If they’ve offered him then he must be a good player.’ We try to stay away from that as much as we can.”
Most fans know the story of Heisman finalist Kellen Moore, the undersized, lefty quarterback who only got one other Football Bowl Subdivision offer _ from Idaho _ before becoming the most prolific quarterback in Boise State’s history. His record entering his senior season next fall: 38-2.
But there are plenty of others the Broncos uncovered and turned into stars:
_ Starting running back Doug Martin ran for 1,260 yards and 12 touchdowns this past season. His only other offer was Cal Poly of the FCS.
_ Former star Korey Hall hailed from Glenns Ferry, Idaho, with a population of less than 2,000, and went on to become a three-team all-WAC first-team linebacker. He’ll be in the Super Bowl on Sunday as a fullback on Green Bay’s roster.
_ Offensive lineman Ryan Clady was a 2-star recruit coming out of Rialto, Calif. He became the No. 12th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft _ selected by Denver _ leaving Boise State a year early for the next level.
“If you asked me the single best thing Chris Petersen and his staff do, it’s evaluate talent,” said Tom Luginbill, ESPN’s recruiting analyst. “Forget the coaching on the field, those guys, whatever their model, whatever their blueprint … whatever they’re looking for, their ability to project two to three years down the road and be right more often than wrong in my opinion is a very unique and special talent, and they’ve got it.”