BOISE • Jalen Greene, once the presumed future of Boise State football, has left the Broncos and Chris Petersen (at Washington) in the dust, committing to USC.
Former three star recruit and redshirt freshman Ryan Finley is recovering from a shoulder injury. Next year, sophomore Nick Patti and senior Grant Hedrick could battle for the starting spot, though head coach Bryan Harsin has said the incumbent Hedrick will be at the “top of the pecking order” heading into spring ball.
Harsin recruited Hedrick and coached him in 2009.
“The easiest thing to do is to watch a guy go out there and you can see his size, you can see his strength, you can see if he’s a good football player,” Harsin said. “The hard part is figuring out who he is. I know who he is. It was very easy to connect with him when I got the job. I think he was the first one I called. He was excited, I was excited, because we had a history there. I spent a lot of time with him.”
The Hawaii Bowl starter was solid but unspectacular in seven games last season. But even if things go swimmingly next season between Harsin and Hedrick, the relationship will only last a year. With Patti seemingly a smaller version of Hedrick, it’s far from an ideal situation for a top program — one that new offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. called the best coaching job in the country.
Simply, Boise State needs a quarterback.
“The quarterback position is always going to be something you’re focused on, especially with me at that position,” Harsin said. “The numbers we want to have, we want to grow that. We are obviously going to take a quarterback.”
Harsin, Sanford Jr. and the rest of the staff are prepping to hit the recruiting trail Thursday with just a few weeks to find a signal-caller.
What kind of player will they go after?
According to recruiting guru Justin Hopkins of 24/7 Sports, Boise State is currently eyeing three different quarterbacks. They are Brock Raggio from Reno, Nev., uncommitted; K.J. Carta-Samuels of San Jose, Calif., a Vanderbilt commit who decided to re-open his recruitment after James Franklin left for Penn State; Brad Kaaya of Los Angeles, a Miami (Fla.) commit.
The likelihood of poaching one of the latter two is slim. But all three are similar. Each is considered a pro style, pocket quarterback.
Neither Patti (size) nor Hedrick (option offense, dual threat) is a prototypical pro style quarterback. At 6-foot-4, Finley is, but there are question marks about his health and durability (he’s just 180 pounds).
It’s quite possible Boise State’s future signal-caller isn’t on the roster yet.
The Broncos’ new offense — which coaches alluded to being more creative under their watch — may require the kind of quarterback Boise State used to develop. The kind of player who used to be considered conventional and now might be called traditional, one who does his work between the tackles and doesn’t need the zone read to make the defense easier to read downfield.
“Obviously the history of the position of quarterback here kind of speaks for itself,” Harsin said. “With coach Sanford here who has coached the position and played the position, I always think it is a bonus to play for a guy who has done it and to also play for a guy has been in a program at Stanford which has had some pretty good quarterbacks,” Harsin said.
Sanford, who said his first coaching job was backing up Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky in 2004, was recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks/receivers coach for Stanford last season, and before that was the running backs coach. Since 2011, the four quarterbacks Stanford has signed have been at least 6-foot-4 and considered pro-style.