Boise State received National Letters of Intent from 19 high school seniors and 21 total recruits Wednesday, the first day of the football signing period.
Two of those signed commitments were faxed from Fruitland and one from Meridian.
Fruitland High standouts Joey Martarano and Alec Dhaenens and Rocky Mountain offensive lineman Eli McCullough highlighted Boise State’s latest recruiting class.
“The thing that’s amazing is you’ve got two of them at this Fruitland High School that all they do is win championships in whatever sport and for us to have two guys at this level of player is amazing,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said.
Martarano is a two-sport standout who may have a tough decision ahead of him. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker was recently named honorable mention PARADE All-America, the third player from Idaho to receive the honor. He was the 3A state player of the year and Gatorade Idaho Player of the Year after leading the Grizzlies to a fourth consecutive 3A state championship game.
He recorded 147 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions and also dominated on the offensive side of the ball. At quarterback, the potential first-round Major League Baseball draft pick showed off his arm, passing for 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns and his athletic ability by running for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Petersen was thrilled to receive Martarano’s letter of intent after extending a scholarship offer to the standout when he was a sophomore.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever offered a guy that early,” Petersen said.
“Certainly, if you’re going to offer a guy as early as we did, in your backyard, we’re serious as we can be. We felt so strongly about him as a player and equally, if not more importantly, as a person.”
“We’re really excited to get him here.”
Whether Martarano ends up playing on the blue turf is another question. On the baseball diamond, Martarano has participated in the most prestigious baseball scouting events in the country, including the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., the Perfect Game All-American Classic at PETCO Park in San Diego and the Under Armour All-American Baseball Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Petersen said the option of playing both sports — baseball professionally and college football — has been discussed and time will tell if that decision will need to be made.
Martarano’s position in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft June 6-8 will indicate a bonus. Ty Hensley was the No. 30 overall pick last year and signed with the New York Yankees for $1.2 million, the lowest bonus given to any of the 31 first-round draft picks.
Martarano said on KTIK Wednesday that he is concentrated on football and he does not want to make a decision based on money.
“We’ll just have to see how that goes,” Petersen said. “I know the guy’s a football player, I know he loves Boise State, I know he wants to be here and we’ll just have to cross that baseball thing down the road and see what happens for him. At the end of the day, we want what’s best for Joey.”
When Martarano’s high school teammate Dhaenens hits the field also is up the air. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end tore an ACL in Fruitland’s third game last fall. He had already committed to Boise State and Petersen is confident the Broncos will get the same player they had in camp the last two summers.
“He’ll get healthy and we know what type of player he is,” Petersen said.
In Dhaenens, the Broncos get a physical and athletic tight end, who earned all-state honors after playing running back until his junior season. He helped Fruitland to an undefeated 2010 campaign and state runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2011.
Petersen said he has not seen two players from one school sign in the same class at Boise State.
“Not from a small school like that,” he said of Fruitland, which had 55 kids turn out for football in 2012, including 30 varsity players. “You know they’re doing great things, because they win so much and have for so many years. … You get two really good players. We were ecstatic with that.”
Martarano and Dhaenens and McCullough give the Broncos three more Treasure Valley standouts.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound McCullough was a two-year starter at left tackle, who earned first-team 5A Southern Idaho Conference and first-team all-state honors after his senior season.
He also stood out in the spring. McCullough won the 5A state shot put championship in 2012 with a throw of 56 feet, 10 inches after a third-place finish in the event as a junior.
The Broncos also signed several out-of-state players, including nine from California.
Aaron Baltazar, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back from Eastlake High in Chula Vista, Calif., along 6-foot-4, 185-pound quarterback Ryan Finley, from Paradise Valley High in Phoenix, linebacker Tanner Vallejo (6-1, 230) from Grass Valley, Calif., and defensive end Kamalei Correa (6-2, 230), from Saint Louis High in Honolulu, are players that helped garner Boise State the No. 43 overall recruiting class in the country by scout.com, the highest of any non-automatic qualifying team.
“We like these guys a lot, that’s the bottom line,” Petersen said.
“We love them on paper. And I say that on paper, because we all know we’ve got to get them here and get them off the paper and see what they can do on the field and off the field.”