It was not football that first put Chase Cord on Boise State’s radar — it was dodgeball.
Cord will finally get a shot to play this fall in a game for the Broncos, five years after they first noticed him.
It all started when former assistant Scott Huff was recruiting an offensive lineman at Sunrise Mountain High in Peoria, Ariz. Talking to the Mustangs’ football coach, the pair watched a physical education class, and one guy caught Huff’s eye.
“I just kept going, ‘Coach, who is this kid? He’s killing dudes,’” Huff said. “He had the arm strength, you could see him single-handedly dominating dodgeball, catching the ball, you could tell he was really athletic.”
That was Cord, then the freshman team’s quarterback. As he grew up, he wound up setting the state record with 137 career touchdown passes and rushed for nearly 2,400 yards. He signed with Boise State in February 2017, turning down a handful of Power Five offers.
After redshirting last season, the 6-foot-2, 206-pounder will see the field, likely in a role that could use his strengths in packages to give a different look than senior Brett Rypien provides.
“I’m excited — it’s been a long offseason, a long summer,” Cord said. “... I can move around in the pocket, make plays with my legs. That’s one thing I try to utilize on the field.
“Being here, it’s surreal, it’s a good feeling, like I have a family here.”
Boise State fans got a glimpse of Cord’s capabilities in the spring game when he rattled off a 69-yard touchdown run and was 7-of-10 passing with a touchdown and an interception.
“He’s got a great demeanor about him,” offensive coordinator Zak Hill said. “He’s got a lot of talent, a lot of athleticism that’s more dynamic than what Brett has.”
With Rypien entrenched as the starter, Cord is willing to wait in the wings. In 2019, he could certainly have the opportunity to become a three-year starter. But if his role is akin to what Montell Cozart did last season, or what Grant Hedrick and Mike Coughlin did as backups, he’s happy to do it.
“Anything to help the team win,” Cord said. “Seeing some of that mobile stuff (in 2017), it excites me, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to be ready to go, be the starter if something were to happen.”
Though he never got into a game last fall, Cord was on the ready after Rypien left Sept. 9’s loss at Washington State with a head injury. He was Cozart’s backup the rest of that game and the following game, five days later against New Mexico.
Boise State preferred to keep his redshirt intact, and Cord wasn’t needed. But now, he’s the true No. 2, with junior Jaylon Henderson and freshman Riley Smith behind him.
“I see him as the backup right now,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “I thought his operation was solid (in Friday’s closed scrimmage). ... You’ve got to push. He’s done a good job, there’s opportunities for him to play.
“I think he’s got the ability to play, I think we can use him at times, I think his consistency throwing the ball has got better through camp.”
Cord said one reason he chose Boise State was to learn under Rypien, from whom he’s taken an appreciation for preparation.
“Chase has done a great job of putting himself in a good position because of the way he studies — he wants to learn,” Hill said. “He knows the offense. It’s weird as a QB coach, because I’ll refer to him in meetings or on the field and he hasn’t played yet. It feels like he’s a veteran, and that’s because of how he handles himself.”
Going into his second season on the staff at Washington under ex-Boise State coach Chris Petersen, Huff still keeps his eye on the Broncos. And from afar, he’ll be sharing a sentiment those closer to the Blue will have.
“I can’t wait to watch him,” Huff said. “I think he’s going to be really good, really special.”