Ajayi: New Boise State football coaches bring added excitement

ccripe@idahostatesman.com © 2014 Idaho StatesmanJanuary 31, 2014 

The new Boise State football coaching staff didn't need to recruit star tailback Jay Ajayi.

They've done a pretty good job of it anyway.

Ajayi, a junior coming off a breakout season in which he rushed for 1,425 yards and 18 touchdowns, has kept in close contact with the coaches who took over after Christmas. He has been involved in the recent recruiting efforts as a host for prospects.

"I've been hosting some of the recruits and witnessing just the charisma of our coaches and how they're drawing the recruits in," he said Thursday. "I kind of get a little jealous thinking when I was getting recruited and how different it is now. You've got the coaches jumping around and getting them excited to get to the Blue, and they've got them on the field watching highlights. They're doing a great job and it shows when you look at the recruits they're bringing in."

The new coaches, he said, have provided "a new jolt of energy."

"Everyone is excited to get back to the way Bronco football is supposed to look, and that's winning football games," he said.

Ajayi met with the media in conjunction with his naming as one of 12 players to watch in 2014 by the Touchdown Club of Columbus (Ohio), an honor previously bestowed upon former Boise State tailback Jeremy Avery and quarterback Kellen Moore.

Ajayi has attacked winter workouts with hopes of improving this fall. "Every day in workouts I'm trying to be the best in the country," he said. "If it's a lift or a run, I'm just trying to be the best and win the drill. So my mind-set this spring has been I'm very motivated and I want to have a really great year this year."

He'll have a new coach trying to get him there. Kent Riddle, who coached the Broncos' running backs from 2001 to 2005, returned earlier this month. The guy who coached Brock Forsey, David Mikell, Lee Marks and Ian Johnson, among others, reached out to Ajayi during the winter break.

Riddle even told Ajayi, who is from Texas, that he plans to meet his family while out recruiting.

"I know I'm going to have a great relationship with Coach Rid," Ajayi said. "He's coached some great running backs here at Boise State and I'm just excited to be one of them."

Shortly after he arrived in Boise, Riddle called Ajayi "a special talent."

"I can't wait to work with him," Riddle said. "I had the good fortune last time I was here of coaching some great backs … guys like Brock Forsey, David Mikell, Ian Johnson. Those guys are part of the foundation of the running back program here. Hopefully we can get (Ajayi) to be the best yet."

D-LINEMAN COMMITS

Kaleb Hill of Samuel Clemens High in Schertz, Texas, committed Thursday. The 6-foot-2, 216-pounder will play stud end, which is a linebacker/end hybrid.

Hill chose Boise State primarily over Vanderbilt, he said. He visited last weekend and is the 18th known member of the 2014 recruiting class.

Also Thursday, Boise State quarterback target Brad Kaaya announced that he would stick with his commitment to Miami.

2014 RECRUITING UPDATE

Enrolled

• S Dylan Sumner-Gardner, 6-2, 200, West Mesquite HS (Mesquite, Texas)

• WR A.J. Richardson, 6-1, 190, Narbonne HS (Lomita, Calif.)

• OL Jerhen Ertel, 6-6, 275, Jr., Glendale (Ariz.) C.C. (Bagdad, Ariz.)

• QB Tommy Stuart, 6-0, 190, So., Butte College (Baltimore)

Commitments

• WR Sean Modster, 5-11, 190, Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS

• ATH Kekoa Nawahine, 6-2, 190, Rocky Mountain HS

• DL David Moa, 6-4, 260, Kearny HS (San Diego)

• C Tennessee Su'esu'e, 6-2, 295, East HS (Salt Lake City)

• TE David Lucero, 6-5, 210, Holtville (Calif.) HS

• RB Cory Young, 5-10, 183, Norco HS (Eastvale, Calif.)

• DT Dereck Boles, 6-2, 240, Lakeland (Fla.) HS

• OL Troy Bacon, 6-4, 280, Oak Hills (Calif.) HS

• RB/WR Jeremy McNichols, 5-9, 190, Santa Margarita HS (Long Beach, Calif.)

• CB Zavior Hoxie, 5-11, 180, Buford (Ga.) HS

• OL Andres Preciado, 6-4, 245, Mar Vista HS (Imperial Beach, Calif.)

• TE Chase Blakley, 6-4, 240, Coeur d'Alene HS

• QB Alex Ogle, 6-3, 205, Jensen Beach HS (Palm City, Fla.)

• DL Kaleb Hill, 6-2, 216, Samuel Clemens HS (Schertz, Texas)

Reconsidering

• DB Khalil Oliver, 6-1, 185, Rocky Mountain HS

Former commits (new schools)

• WR Shay Fields (Colorado)

• RB Squally Canada (Washington State)

• DL Hawkins Mann (Nevada)

• TE Dimitri Flowers (Oklahoma)

• QB Jalen Greene (USC)*

• TE Drew Sample (Washington)*

• DL Greg Gaines (Washington)*

• OL Ryan Griswold (TCU)*

• CB Brandon Lewis (Washington)*

• OL Jesse Sosebee (Washington)*

• DE Will Dissly (Washington)*

• DL/LB Jaylen Johnson (Washington)*

* Players who decommitted after coach Chris Petersen took the Washington job

Statesman reporter Brian Murphy contributed to this story.

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