Boise State Football

Recruiting expert breaks down Boise State football’s class with signing day Wednesday

QB Riley Smith’s senior highlights

Highlights of high school quarterback Riley Smith's senior season at Bartram Trail. He's a target of Boise State. (Video courtesy of Bartram Trail High)
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Highlights of high school quarterback Riley Smith's senior season at Bartram Trail. He's a target of Boise State. (Video courtesy of Bartram Trail High)

The hubbub that came every first Wednesday of February has turned a 180 this year, as college football’s recruiting calendar changed, making the traditional signing day extremely quiet in 2018.

Most schools locked in their classes in December, as the three-day signing period in which high school recruits could sign was the first of its kind. Boise State signed 20 players in the early period, making Wednesday’s signing day way less intense than usual.

But there will be a few new additions, most notably what was lacking in December – a high school quarterback.

Six-foot-5, 215-pound quarterback Riley Smith from Bartram Trail High in Jacksonville, Fla., committed on Jan. 25. Homedale High defensive lineman Scott Matlock and California offensive lineman Dallas Holliday (who flipped from Colorado State) are also committed.

Here is a look at the class, with thoughts from national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman.

[Related: Boise State adds three players to recruiting class in key spots]

Q: What stood out to you about what Boise State did in recent weeks?

“I like it. Getting a prep quarterback was something they really wanted. They got Riley, who I really like, but I think they’d have been really happy to get (Arizona prospect Brock) Purdy. Riley may end up being a better quarterback than (former Boise State commit) Zach Wilson, partly because he had to split duties with Joey Gatewood (Auburn signee). I think Smith’s best football is still ahead of him, once he gets to work with a college staff and show what he can do. He played at a higher level than Wilson, and I think that will prepare him well.”

Q: How about what the Broncos did in December?

“I don’t know if fans know how truly good Khalil Shakir will be. He’s one of those guys at (January’s Polynesian Bowl) that … the coaches were like, ‘Where is that guy going?’ and when they heard Boise State, it made sense. They were like, ‘Damn.’ That was a steal, they beat Pac-12 schools to get him. He never wavered once he committed. He’ll be used in a lot of different ways in Boise. He had some of the best runs of the week at the Polynesian Bowl, but he’s a wide receiver, so that’s what you need to know about his skills.”

Shakir was part of a big receiver class the Broncos signed.

“It’s a pretty impressive haul. There’s Stefan Cobbs, who is not real big, but he’s a speedster and has really good hands. They got Cam Thomas who may not stretch the field, but he’s a red-zone nightmare. I think what they did at receiver was went the 31 flavors route, got a little bit of everything and once they get into camp, will see what sort of guy they need to play this year. Billy Bowens is a high school guy who came from a fantastic program, and they signed a junior college guy in (John) Hightower, who I’m sure they expect to play right away.”

Wide receiver Stefan Cobbs, of Fossil Ridge High in Keller, Texas, added this catch to his highlight reel against Abilene. Cobbs was named the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s offensive player of the year.

Q: How did you notice the new calendar affect recruiting?

“I think a perfect example is Kukea Emmsley, who Boise State signed in December — he goes to the Polynesian Bowl and he’s one of the top two D-linemen there. Had this been last year and he blows up the rest of the week, then they’re trying to fend off everyone else. He played injured as a senior but was dominant when he was healthy. In years past, I’ve seen guys that have blown up that week, and coaches decide to go look at him. It’s kept guys a little more low-profile. Once they’re signed, they’re out of mind. It’s dried up the well come February. Boise State, more so than any other school out West, they usually had to fend off guys on signing day.”


The Boise State coaches will discuss the 2018 signing class and show highlights at Big Al’s in Meridian from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $10 at or by calling 208-426-4737. Boise State also will host a signing day show at at 4 p.m.


Boise State’s recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West by as of Tuesday evening. It ranks 57th nationally, trailing only Cincinnati (52nd) among Group of Five schools. Shakir is the Broncos’ highest-rated recruit, listed by 247 as a four-star prospect, and the No. 21 “athlete” in the nation.


The NFL Scouting Combine’s official participants list was released Tuesday; as expected, it includes Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. Eight other Mountain West players will take part – four from San Diego State. Idaho State offensive lineman Skyler Phillips also will be among the attendees.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn

Boise State 2018 recruiting class

Committed, expected to sign Wednesday

▪ QB Riley Smith, 6-5, 215, Bartram Trail High (Jacksonville, Fla.)

▪ DL Scott Matlock, 6-4, 250, Homedale High

▪ OL Dallas Holliday, 6-4, 300, Oaks Christian High (Westlake Village, Calif.)

Signed in December

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

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

▪ OL Garrett Curran, 6-5, 288, Granite Hills High (El Cajon, Calif.)

▪ DE/LB Kukea Emmsley, 6-5, 230, Kapolei (Hawaii) High

▪ NT Keeghan Freeborn, 6-1, 300, Rocky Mountain High

▪ C Kekaniokoa Gonzalez, 6-2, 291, Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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

▪ QB Jaylon Henderson, 6-2, 210, Trinity Valley CC (Kingwood, Texas)

▪ WR John Hightower, 6-3, 175, Hinds CC (Landover, Md.)

▪ NT Scale Igiehon, 6-3, 334, Del Valle (Texas) High

▪ CB Tyric LeBeauf, 6-2, 178, Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic High

▪ LB Phillip Mills, 6-3, 224, Paloma Valley High (Menifee, Calif.)

▪ DB Chris Mitchell, 6-1, 190, Mission Viejo (Calif.) High

▪ TE Cole Ramseyer, 6-4, 216, Coeur d’Alene High

▪ LB DJ Schramm, 6-2, 224, Clovis West High (Fresno, Calif.)

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

▪ RB Danny Smith, 6-0, 210, Oxnard (Calif.) High

▪ WR Cameron Thomas, 6-4, 205, Westwood High (Austin, Texas)

▪ RB Andrew VanBuren, 6-1, 215, Chaminade Prep (West Hills, Calif.)

▪ STUD Demitri Washington, 6-5, 245, Santa Fe Christian High (Solana Beach, Calif.)