Boise State Football

Early signing period should be fruitful for Boise State, but it is uncharted territory

Watch highlights of Keeghan Freeborn, Boise State recruit from Rocky Mountain

Boise State recruited Rocky Mountain High star Keeghan Freeborn as a defensive lineman. He mostly played on the offensive line in high school.
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Boise State recruited Rocky Mountain High star Keeghan Freeborn as a defensive lineman. He mostly played on the offensive line in high school.

There was not exactly a ton of time for the Boise State football coaching staff to relax after Saturday’s 38-28 win over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Sunday was the last day face-to-face contact was allowed with potential recruits before Wednesday’s early signing period begins.

It is the first time that all high school players can sign early; previously, only early enrollees could do so. That has moved up a lot of timelines, leading staffs and recruits to make decisions earlier. February’s signing period remains, but it probably will be more subdued than most years. Expect Wednesday to be the crazy day.

“It’s been a little bit tough,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “We tried to cram a couple weeks into about five days.”

Among the Broncos’ 17 known commitments for the 2018 recruiting class, most are expected to sign in the early period, which runs through Friday. In fact, almost all are likely to sign Wednesday.

Initially, the early period was intended to let players get the process done with and leave fewer teams scrambling for potential replacements in case of late changes of mind. But for teams such as Boise State, which had coaches calling recruits all last week while preparing for a bowl, it has turned chaotic.

“I don’t see how it benefits anybody,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said last week. “I think it’s really stressful for everyone. We’re all trying to get ready for bowl games and playoff games. ... It was very stressful for a lot of coaches to get out and see as many guys as they could in December and accelerate everything.”

Even if the early signing period winds up being like a Kentucky basketball player — one-and-done — it is definitely happening this year.

“There’s a lot of activity going on right now, we’re going to sign the guys that are committed to us and figure out the rest of the class as we get to February,” Harsin said.

Boise State’s focus appears to be building depth at areas of need, with four wide receivers committed, two running backs and three linebackers.

A few commits had some Power Five offers, including defensive back Chris Mitchell (Notre Dame), running back Andrew VanBuren (Boston College, Iowa State, UCLA, Colorado), defensive lineman Kukea Emmsley (Oregon), receiver Khalil Shakir (Arizona, Colorado, UCLA) and offensive lineman Garrett Curran (Washington State). Junior college receiver John Hightower recently visited Missouri, and Texas receiver Stefan Cobbs had a recent in-home visit from Iowa State.

The Broncos’ assistant coaches are expected to discuss their signees Wednesday afternoon, and Harsin will address the media Thursday. Visit IdahoStatesman.com throughout Wednesday for updates on the Broncos’ newest additions.

A LATE ADDITION

The Broncos got a boost Tuesday afternoon: powerful running back Danny Smith, from Oxnard (California) High.

Smith, who transferred to Oxnard this year from Morrilton (Ark.) High, rushed for 1,610 yards and 20 touchdowns in nine games, adding nine receptions for 180 yards. Smith (5-foot-11, 205 pounds) also had offers from San Diego State, Hawaii and New Mexico, according to 247Sports.com.

NO QUARTERBACK LIKELY

The Broncos lost their quarterback commitment last week — Draper, Utah’s Zach Wilson has since picked up offers from Oregon State and Cal. Boise State offered Arizona quarterback Brock Purdy, but he reportedly won’t sign anywhere until February.

Barring an 11th-hour offer or a flip from another program, don’t expect Boise State to add another passer Wednesday. With only two scholarship QBs slated to return (senior Brett Rypien and redshirt freshman Chase Cord), BSU is likely to add a freshman and a junior college or graduate transfer to the mix in the coming months.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn

BOISE STATE FOOTBALL 2018 RECRUITS

▪ LB Phillip Mills, 6-3, 220, Paloma Valley High (Menifee, Calif.)

▪ LB Brandon Hawkins, 6-3, 210, Georgetown (Texas) High

▪ LB DJ Schramm, 6-1, 215, Clovis West High (Fresno, Calif.)

▪ NT Scale Igiehon, 6-2, 327, Del Valle (Texas) High

▪ DE/LB Kukea Emmsley, 6-4, 230, Kapolei (Hawaii) High

▪ NT Keeghan Freeborn, 6-1, 310, Rocky Mountain High

▪ RB Andrew VanBuren, 5-11, 196, Chaminade Prep (West Hills, Calif.)

▪ C Kekaniokoa Gonzalez 6-2, 286, Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.)

▪ TE Cole Ramseyer, 6-4, 230, Coeur d’Alene High

▪ WR John Hightower, 6-4, 185, Hinds CC (Landover, Md.)

▪ STUD Demitri Washington, 6-5, 235, Santa Fe Christian High (Solana Beach, Calif.)

▪ WR Stefan Cobbs, 6-0, 170, Fossil Ridge High (Keller, Texas)

▪ WR Billy Bowens, 6-1, 175, Redlands (Calif.) East Valley High

▪ WR Khalil Shakir, 6-0, 180, Vista Murrieta (Calif.) High

▪ OL Garrett Curran, 6-5, 285, Granite Hills High (El Cajon, Calif.)

▪ DB Chris Mitchell, 6-0, 190, Mission Viejo (Calif.) High

▪ RB Danny Smith, 5-11, 205, Oxnard (Calif.) High

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