Brett Rypien had perhaps the toughest decision of his life to make, but once he saw what Boise State was about, the choice was easy.
His uncle is a Washington State legend, and a quarterback like him. Living in Spokane, many of Rypien's friends and teachers are Cougar fans.
Rypien had offers from a handful of FBS programs, but his finalists were Washington State and Boise State. After watching the Broncos' spring scrimmage Saturday night, the Shadle Park High junior gave his verbal commitment.
"Let's just say I lost a few nights of sleep over it," Rypien said. "I was really not sure going into this weekend. I was trying to keep an open mind and saying, 'We'll see how Boise goes.' It really just blew my mind, and I was extremely impressed."
A four-star prospect according to all major recruiting services, Rypien (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) is the highest-rated quarterback to commit to Boise State. Scout.com ranks him the No. 9 quarterback in the nation, while Rivals.com has him as the No. 7 pro-style QB.
Rypien said he hasn't decided whether he will graduate early and join the Broncos in January, or sign in February with the intent to join the program in the summer of 2015. No matter what he does, he's solid with the Broncos.
"I told my parents from day one: 'Once I commit, it's over with. I'm not taking any more visits,'" he said. "My recruitment is completely shut down."
Some eye-popping numbers helped garner offers from Boise State, Washington State, Washington, Arizona State, Oregon State, Colorado State, Mississippi State and Idaho. Rypien threw for more than 4,000 yards with 57 touchdown passes last season and broke his own Washington state 11-man record for single-game yardage with 613 yards on Oct. 3. He threw for 577 yards in a 2012 game.
"Some of those numbers just really are staggering - he had 480 at halftime of that 613 game," said Rypien's high school coach, Alan Stanfield, who left for Whitworth University in January. "He's got a great release. He doesn't make many bad throws. Some guys who put up big numbers still might have three or four misfires a game. Brett might have three or four a year."
Stanfield knows a young, talented quarterback when he sees one. He coached Tanner Mangum at Timberline High in 2008 and 2009 before moving on to Shadle Park. Mangum finished his career at Eagle High and was Rivals.com's No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2012 class.
"(Rypien) started a few games as a freshman. We went 0-9, and it bothered him more than anything," Stanfield said. "He had this drive where he vowed to never have something like that happen again."
Rypien and his father, Tim, organized throwing sessions for Brett and his receivers during the offseason on Sunday nights, which Stanfield said paid off immensely for the team's offensive chemistry. Tim Rypien's brother, Mark, played 11 NFL seasons between 1988-2001 and was Super Bowl XXVI MVP with the Washington Redskins. Brett broke his uncle's Greater Spokane League career passing record of 4,965 yards last September.
Rypien said his uncle has been a boon during his growth, mainly helping with "the mental side," such as how to break down game film. He also said it's "not true" that there was any pressure from him to go to Washington State. Washington, with former Boise State coach Chris Petersen at the helm, told Rypien and California quarterback Jake Browning whichever committed first got the team's 2015 scholarship at that position. Browning committed on Monday.
In the end, it worked out ideally for Rypien, who wore a No. 11 jersey in a photo his sister posted on Twitter after he committed.
The Broncos once had a record-breaking passer from eastern Washington who wore that number - Kellen Moore - and he turned out all right.
"I feel like the coaches are elite, the facilities are elite and they have the mindset where they are going to win a lot of games," Rypien said of Boise State. "And I felt like I wanted to be a part of it."