It didnt take Boise State football coach Chris Petersen long to start sounding like every one of his colleagues on Wednesdays National Signing Day.
We like these guys a lot. Thats the bottom line, Petersen said, describing the Broncos 28-member class. And I just kind of chuckle. Everybody says the same old thing: greatest group ever.
The Broncos dont need this group to be quite that good. But if Boise State is to continue its run of 10-win seasons seven and counting under Petersen the Broncos do need this class to live up to its advance billing.
Boise States class was ranked No. 43 in the nation by Scout.com, the highest ranking in program history. Last years class at No. 56 had held the record. It is the top-ranked class in the Mountain West, far outpacing San Diego State at No. 65.
To put it bluntly: The class of 2013 is the most important group Boise State has signed since its first post-Fiesta Bowl signees.
The sheer size of the group it includes 19 high school athletes, six junior-college transfers and three grayshirts gives it added importance in future seasons. It is one of the largest classes that Petersen has brought in.
I know this: We worked hard on these guys in terms of the type of football players they are, the type of people they are. We love them on paper, Petersen said.
I say that on paper because we all know we got to get them here and get them off the paper and see what they can do on the field and off the field.
Petersen knows well that signing day exuberance can quickly turn sour. He doesnt need to look far.
Five members of the Broncos 19-man 2011 recruiting class are no longer with the program cornerback Eric Agbaroji, tight end Hayden Plinke, safety Lee Hightower, kicker Jake Van Ginkel and defensive tackle Jeff Worthy.
Add those disappointing results to the Broncos small 10-member group in 2010, and its obvious that the Class of 2013 is vital to the long-term success of the program.
In much the way the Class of 2007 signed six weeks after the Broncos thrilling victory against Oklahoma and ranked No. 57 by Scout.com laid the groundwork for the Broncos recent incredible run of success, Wednesdays signees will affect the trajectory of Boise State.
Twenty-two of the 26 players that signed on National Signing Day in 2007 finished their careers with the Broncos. Seventeen became starters. Six were selected in the NFL Draft.
Thats an incredible legacy and probably too much to ask of any subsequent class.
The six junior- college players (two defensive lineman, two cornerbacks, a kicker and a running back) must fill immediate voids, adding depth at spots where the Broncos are thin.
The 22 players with four years of eligibility must beat the odds. It is much easier to wash out than to become an All-Mountain West player.
And more likely, too.
I know its not going to work out for every kid, Petersen said. You go into it extremely hopeful that youre going these guys can all do it or we wouldnt have recruited them.
Only the long-term health of the program is riding on it.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph