The Boise State football team had 19 different players with at least one catch last season. But among those returning in 2014, only three had more than 10.
Matt Miller and Shane Williams-Rhodes are proven receivers the Broncos will no doubt rely heavily on. But who will step up at the No. 3 and No. 4 receivers remains a big question mark for the Broncos heading into fall camp.
Miller, who set the single-season school record with 88 catches last season, had 1,140 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns last season to lead the Broncos. He will likely break several career records during his senior season this fall.
Williams-Rhodes had 77 catches and likely would have also broken the receptions record had he not missed the final two games of the season due to an ankle injury. He finished with 702 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
The two combined for 165 catches, 1,842 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns last season and return as the obvious main targets for quarterback Grant Hedrick. But things aren’t as clear behind them.
Geraldo Boldewijn (39 catches, 528 yards, two TDs) and Aaron Burks (18 catches, 309 yards, three TDs) are both in NFL training camps this week while Kirby Moore (36 catches, 280 yards, two TDs) begins his coaching career at The College of Idaho.
That leaves redshirt junior Troy Ware, who had 10 catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns, as the third-leading returning receiver from last season. Coaches and players have talked about Ware having the size and physical ability to be a breakout candidate this season.
Sophomore Thomas Sperbeck (five catches, 40 yards) also was impressive during spring practices and saw significant time with the No. 1 offense. D.J. Dean, A.J. Richardson, Tanner Shipley, Taylor Pope and Terrell Johnson will be in the mix as well.
The tight ends should find themselves more involved in the passing game this season under new coach Bryan Harsin and offensive coordinator Mike Sanford. But the Broncos still need multiple receivers who had little to no impact on last year’s team to step up and take advantage of the available playing time this fall.
Who will it be starting along side Miller and Williams-Rhodes when the Broncos take the field on Aug. 28 vs. Ole Miss at the Georgia Dome? It’s our No. 4 question facing the Boise State football team as they prepare to open fall practice on Friday.