What’s Left? Quarterbacks
• Who’s gone?: Grant Hedrick, and it’s a greater loss than many could have imagined at the beginning of the season. Head Coach Bryan Harsin took his time in the preseason naming Hedrick the starter, finally giving him the nod over redshirt freshman Ryan Finley after a public scrimmage. Hedrick would go on to start every game. His success was deeply entwined with the team’s. It was no coincidence that he threw four interceptions in each of the Broncos’ two losses and had just six in the other 12 games combined.
• Who’s back?: Finley returns as a redshirt sophomore after seeing action in five games. His most significant action came in the Air Force debacle as he threw a pair of touchdowns late after Hedrick was pulled. There was some talk once again of a quarterback controversy afterward, but Hedrick solidified his hold on the job in the weeks afterward. Thomas Stuart and Alex Ogle return as well, but both redshirted this season and seem likely to be career backups at best.
• Who’s coming? Brett Rypien, the Bronco’s highest-profile quarterback recruit in recent memory and nephew of former NFL starter Mark Rypien. A four-star per Rivals.com—for comparison’s sake, Hedrick and Kellen Moore were both three-stars, while Jared Zabransky was a two-star--Rypien was named Washington state player of the year by multiple outlets. He has enrolled for the spring semester and will take part in spring practice.
• Who else? With limited space remaining in the 2015 class, the Broncos are unlikely to take another quarterback. Connor Brewer, whose career started at Texas, announced earlier this week that he is transferring from Arizona. Boise State was mentioned as a possibility since Harsin recruited Brewer to the Longhorns as offensive coordinator originally, but those rumors appear unfounded.
• What to expect: Barring a massive jump from Stuart or Ogle, the race to replace Hedrick will boil down to Finley and Rypien. Quarterbacks who can start for successful programs as true freshmen are rare, but Rypien could number among that elusive club. Furthermore, spring practice is the next best thing to a redshirt season. Rypien will start at Boise State eventually. It’s just a matter of when. The battle in fall camp will likely last into the final week, but the guess here is that Rypien’s promise wins out. The future is now.