BOISE — Freshman running back Aaron Baltazar has left the Boise State football program, a spokesperson for the athletic department confirmed Monday night.
The spokesperson didn’t have a reason for the departure but said Baltazar left the program around the same time that coach Chris Petersen left for Washington. Interim coach Bob Gregory is scheduled to speak with the media on Wednesday morning.
Baltazar, who originally committed to Washington out of high school, emerged as the No. 2 running back early in the season and had 50 rushes for 234 yards and two touchdowns in five games before suffering a season-ending knee injury on Sept. 28 vs. Southern Miss.
The true freshman had a breakout game on Sept. 20 vs. Fresno State when he had 18 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-40 loss.
Baltazar surpassed both Jack Fields and Derrick Thomas on the depth chart during fall camp and received immediate playing time, rushing 10 times for 49 yards in the season opener at Washington.
Despite missing the final seven regular season games, Baltazar remains No. 3 on the team on both rushing yards and attempts. The only two ahead of him are starter Jay Ajayi and quarterback Grant Hedrick.
Baltazer would have to sit out the 2014 season should he transfer to another FBS school but would still have three years of eligibility remaining.
KENT RIDDLE RETURNING TO BOISE STATE: Former Boise State coach Kent Riddle has told at least one recruit that he is returning to join the staff in Boise with new coach Bryan Harsin.
Riddle, who was the special teams coach under Harsin at Arkansas State this season, told Boise State wide receiver commit Sean Modster that he was heading back to Boise.
“I talked to Kent Riddle, he called me yesterday,” Modster told the Press-Tribune Monday night. “He was telling me how everything was going up in Boise and just touching base with me to see where I’m at.”
Asked if Riddle was joining the Boise State staff, Modster said, “Yeah, I think special teams.”
Riddle was the running backs and special teams coach at Boise State from 2001-2005. He was in his first season as the tight ends and special teams coach at Arkansas State and has also coached at Colorado, Army and Oregon State.
Both his kickoff return and punt return teams at Boise State regularly ranked among the best in the country. He also coached All-American kicker Tyler Jones, who was a finalist in 2005 for the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s best kicker.
QB COMMIT GREENE FOLLOWS PETERSEN: Former Boise State quarterback commit Jalen Greene has decided to follow coach Chris Petersen to Washington.
Greene, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound, three-star prospect from Serra High in Gardena, Calif., had been committed to Boise State since April. He broke the news on his Twitter page Monday evening and later confirmed it to Scout.com.
“I tired it keep it a secret,” Greene told Scout.com. “I didn’t even tell my mom I was committed there. Then I just got so many phone calls and I finally decided to just come out with it and make it public. I’m really excited to be a Dawg right now, I feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds.
“I always wanted to play in the Pac-12 and I love coach Petersen. To have the opportunity to play for him in the Pac-12 is pretty incredible. I know his system and the kind of coach he is and he’s going to be very successful. I’m very excited to be a part of this program and be a part of his first recruiting class.”
Greene was one of the first to commit to Boise State last spring and was seen as a key piece of the Broncos’ 2014 recruiting class.
MODSTER STILL COMMITTED TO BOISE STATE: Modster, a three-star wide receiver from Mission Viejo (High), Calif., said he is still committed to Boise State despite Petersen leaving for Washington but wants to wait until he speaks with Harsin before he makes a final decision.
“Yeah, I’m still committed to Boise State right now,” Modster said. “I was a little disappointed in him leaving because he was a big part of my commitment there, but I wish him the best of luck over at Washington and I’m going to have to see what coach Harsin has.
“I’ve heard that he’s very similar to Petersen in many ways, so that’s good.”
Modster hadn’t spoken with Harsin as of Monday night but said he figured he would soon.
“I expect a call from him soon,” Modster said. “I’m waiting to talk to him to see how everything else plays out like where coach (Robert) Prince is going and what he’s going to do and see how everything plays out.
“I can see myself going there still. From Harsin’s offense at Arkansas State, they throw a lot, so I’d fit in.”
Modster said he has not been contacted by Petersen or any of the coaches at Washington. Prince was Boise State’s offensive coordinator this year. It’s unclear whether or not he will stay at Boise State, join Petersen at Washington, or go elsewhere.