It wasn’t long ago that Boise State was seen as one of those programs good enough to win plenty of games, but not the kind that can churn out NFL prospects.
Times have changed.
The Broncos have seven players (Doug Martin, Kellen Moore, Nate Potter, Shea McClellin, Tyrone Crawford, Billy Winn and George Iloka) who are very likely to be chosen in April’s NFL draft, and a strong performance Thursday by Tyler Shoemaker at pro day may have vaulted him into the later rounds.
Boise State had a record four players taken in the 2007 draft and have had six more taken in the four drafts since.
“It shows the level of the program and what they’ve done recruiting and the development of guys,” Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “They’ve come here and they’ve developed over time. It’s a great story.
“They play great, sound football. As coaches, that’s what attracts us.”
With five former Broncos now in the NFL in attendance Thursday, all of whom wrapped up their college careers in the last three seasons, the pro pedigree is hard to ignore.
Now, with a big group of Boise State players heading to the next level, it is hardly the program that many saw as one that squeezed everything out of undersized, “step slow” players.
“Coach Pete and that staff do a good job recruiting guys that have heart and work ethic, who just want it, plain and simple,” Martin said. “They turn guys out of high school into athletes like Kyle Wilson and Ryan Clady … and everybody in this class.”
For the impact of having former Broncos in the NFL, coach Chris Petersen wouldn’t call it a recruiting tool, saying he almost never brings it up with recruits, saying “if their main mission in life is to go the NFL, and that’s all they’re focused on, then this is the wrong place.”
However, one need not look further than the Broncos’ film room to see BSU’s impact in the NFL. The back wall features the logos of every NFL team and a list under each of former Boise State players who have suited up for them.
“I think that says it all,” Petersen said.
Doug Martin, Shea McClellin continue to impress
Through analyzing game film, their work in the Senior Bowl, the combine and now pro day, Martin and McClellin figure to be the top two players taken from Boise State in the draft. On Thursday, Martin looked solid catching passes from Moore, and McClellin did work at both defensive line and linebacker.
“Overall, I did pretty good — should’ve caught a couple of those (passes), and the only thing that was suspect was my hands, because normally I have good hands,” McClellin said. “... It’s really important to come out here and show I’m doing both D-line and linebacker drills.”
McClellin and Martin have been workout warriors, and both said they each have more than a half-dozen teams set up to fly and interview with or come see them work out. Martin, who is at 220 points, credits the “grind” of a workout program that has helped him fly up the draft boards.
“It worked out in my favor,” he said. “My stock was continually rising, and what I have to do is keep proving everybody right.”
News and notes
Potter did not participate in workouts Thursday, as he was battling a minor injury, but weighed in at 6-6 and 307 pounds. … The current Boise State Broncos will hit the field today for a closed scrimmage before taking off for spring break, returning to practice April 3.