It’s that time of year again where our team gets to share the joy of all the hard work we have done since basically last years signing day. Keeping track of every public offer Idaho have made to hopeful future Vandals. This story will remained pinned on our website, pending any other breaking news throughout signing season. Never hurts to bookmark it though.
We’ll update the list as swiftly as possible throughout the week, and even more so on National Letter of Intent day. This post will be receiving updates as commitments and news flows in. Though with head coach still vacant we expect a smaller class than normal in early signing period. We will make sure to update and transfer portal signings and high school recruits that sign between now and the close of NLI day in the spring. Stay tuned!
If wanting more recruiting content check out this piece about top in-state recruits that would make excellent Big Sky Prospects: Idaho Preps With FCS Potential
The State of Idaho has been steadily growing as a High School Football recruiting ground for College Football. Idaho has produced some phenomenal FBS talents in recent times like Taysom Hill, Leighton Vander Esch, Shea McClellin, Taylor Kelly and Tanner Mangum. We also just had a guy like Jonah Elliss out of Moscow High be highly recruited and looks to possibly be the next NFL guy from the state of Idaho.
But for everyone of those guys, there are so many talented individuals coming from Idaho. I worked with Justin Jackson, the founder of Rare Academy ID, to identify some guys that have FCS potential. Even a few I was cautious to post about. According to Justin, there are some SERIOUS sleepers in this years class.
Big Sky schools are starting to notice the talent in the state as well. There are 72 players from the state currently on a Big Sky roster for the 21-22 season. Maybe the more important stat, the blue bloods of the conference have taken notice.
Big Sky Schools
# of Idaho Players
Weber State has won the Big Sky 4 years in a row now and in 2019 made the FCS semi-finals. They have 11 players from the State of Idaho. This includes 2x All-Conference and current Preseason All-Conference Junior George Taralas from Borah High in Boise.
Montana State also has dipped their toe in the Idaho waters when head coach Jeff Choate was at the helm. The St. Maries kid and former BSU assistant knew the gems in the gem state. Tucker Rovig of Mountain View led them under center to the semi-finals of the 2019 FCS Playoffs.
Another former Bronco, UC Davis head ball coach Dan Hawkins has been recruiting the Treasure Valley pretty heavy since taking the helm for the Aggies. He may not have won many of the recruiting battles, but he offers a healthy amount of Idaho kids.
Over the course of a couple phone calls and a few of the RARE Academy Idaho camps we has compiled a list of guys in the state that are FCS Prospects.
RARE Academy Idaho is an all-year training academy for kids throughout the whole state. This is not only physical training, but they do alot to help with the mental side of being an athlete and making the move to the college environment. Like many of you, Justin and his team see the potential growing in this State and just want to help these kids get the offers they are capable of. Then have the tools to succeed physically and mentally once on campus.
If you have never checked them out, you should. Its more of a have to see it to believe it. What they do for recruits in this State is amazing and one of a kind. They are only going to continue to grow and help your sons, nephews, neighbors be recognized and preforming at their peak.
The have a staff of former FBS players including Idahos own Brady Strodtbeck who cleared holes for Vandal running backs during the 2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Some are borderline FBS guys, others could be PWO/D2 type guys. But this is the crop of dudes to keep your eye on and go see if their team is in your area this season.
There is loads of talent on this list. But there are a couple guys I want to highlight. Particularly in terms of Idaho going after them. I’m going to spotlight a few in no particular order.
Adam Ball 6’0 200lbs RB #17 St. Regis
I know this could be looked at as cheating since St.Regis the town is technically in Montana. But it is a border town and Adam is attending the RARE Academy Idaho showcases. He is not just attending, he is preforming. When Justin talks about this kid, you hear it in his voice. He is something special. He is the reason something like RARE exists.
If there is one name to take away from this piece. It is Adam Ball. Justin speaks so highly of this guy I am planning on attending a St. Regis game in person this season. (Scroll down for a list of MUST catch games this fall). Ball has been a standout at every event and is still under the radar. Almost, so much so, I just wanted to leave him off the list and just text our coaches about offering this kid. I just couldn’t not mention him, he deserves the recognition and WILL BE the steal of this class.
Davis Thacker 6’3 205lbs WR # 6 Meridian
Davis is the brother of Damen Thacker who just started 23 games for the Vandal hoops team. We know Paul Petrino is always talking about “family”. He loves recruiting sons, brothers, nephews of coaches, former players etc. Damen Thacker did transfer out and was apart of a different athletics program, but this is a move I would not be surprised to see our athletic department make.
Davis currently does not have any offers.
Taylor Marcum 6’0 185lbs RB #21 Timberline
If you follow prep football, this one is obvious. Taylor Marcum is one of the highly recruited guys in the state. In fact on July 18th he committed to Montana State. But, we have seen recently verbals change before NSD. He has an offer from the Vandals and Idaho is building a bit of a pedigree of giving in-state RBs playing time. Lets not forget the first play of the 2019 season against Penn State, Paul put in true freshman Nick Romano RB from Rocky Mountain and threw the ball to him. He is not afraid to say RBs from the state of Idaho are big time.
Garret Lavin 6’1 180lbs WR #19 Timberline
Yes, back to back Timberline guys. But, me myself, I am a Timberline guy. “The strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
Garrett is another legacy type guy. He comes from a Vandal family and just a guy I would love to see be given a shot. Even if our receiver room is getting crowded.
He does not currently have any offers.
Gage Jones6’1 185lbs DB Eagle
Likely the best defensive back in the State, Gage is poised to have one heck of a season. With a few seasons now of poor secondary play. Getting this local stud would go along way to sure up the backend.
Jaxson Washington 6’1 260lbsDL #78 Couer D Alene
The kid is just one of those grinders. He has got a gym in the garage at home and from looks of it has spent some time with his second cousin Washington States star RB Max Borghi. He also is a very good wrestler, which is a extra bonus in a lineman. He also won the RARE Showcases events top 6 lineman honors.
The Vikes have put out loads of division one talent in the past decade. It is a program you trust. Our defensive line isn’t getting any younger. We should be looking to add 2 to 3 guys on the line in this class.
He currently has 3 offers from a few NAIA and such schools, some sort of offer from the Bengals in Pocatello. But looks to be getting looks from and Montana. His father is a former walk-on and they are a big Griz Family. They have been exposed to the Vandals and we could get him, but if Montana offers (especially before us) it would be hard to win this recruiting battle.
Malakai Martinez 6’0 180lbs QB #3 Meridian
Maybe a bit under the radar until recently. He is starting to show-up everywhere. He was one of if not the first QB Justin gave me. Then on August 8th he was announced the 6th best QB in The Northwest 9 the QB camp former guest of the podcast Taylor Barton runs.
This one is a me pick. I watched Hayden in 3A state semis and final last season. He was hard not to notice. I turned to my friend I was in attendance with and said “this is the type of kid Idaho needs to offer.” I later learn he comes from a deep vandal family.
Feedback I got throught the grapevine is his speed is a concern. Well, if you can’t tackle him it doesn’t really matter does it?!
Games To Catch FCS Talent
For some of you football nuts out there, you want to catch these guys before they may suit up for or against the silver and gold in the coming years. I compiled a list of games to catch to watch some of this FCS talent under friday night lights around this beautiful state.
Mountain View vs Meridian – Meridian,ID (Mountain View, HS)
9 possible FCS guys
Capital vs Nampa – Boise, ID (Donnar Larson Park)
1 Possible FCS guy
Eagle vs Bishop Kelly – Boise, ID (Bishop Kelly HS)
3 possible FCS guys
Buhl vs Weiser – Buhl, ID
1 Possible FCS guy
Twin Falls vs Vallivue – Twin Falls, ID
1 Possible FCS guy
Lakeside vs St. Regis – Plummer, ID
1 Possible FCS STUD
Rocky Mountain vs Mountain View – Meridian, ID (Rocky Mountain HS)
13 Possible FCS guys
Nampa vs Skyview – Nampa, ID (Skyview HS)
3 Possible FCS guys
Rigby vs Post Falls – Rigby, ID
5 Possible FCS guys
Koontenai vs St.Regis – Harrison, ID
1 possible FCS STUD
Rocky Mountain vs Meridian – Meridian, ID (Rocky Mountai HS)
11 Possible FCS guys
Clark Fork vs St. Regis – Clark Fork, ID
1 Possible FCS STUD
Post Falls vs Mount Si (WA) – Post Falls, ID
2 Possible FCS guys
Thunder Ridge vs Rigby – Twin Falls (Thunder Ridge HS)
4 Possible FCS guys
Skyview vs Rocky Mountain – Nampa, ID
10 Possible FCS guys
Melba vs Cole Valley – Melba, ID
2 Possible FCS guys
Eagle vs Timberline – Eagle, ID
5 Possible FCS guys
Meridian v Skyview – Meridian, ID
5 Possible FCS Guys
Timberline vs Rocky Mountain – Boise, ID (Donna Larson Park)
11 Possible FCS guys
Skyview vs Eagle – Nampa, ID (Skyview HS)
4 Possible FCS guys
Canyon Ridge vs Mountain Home – Twin Falls (Canyon Ridge HS)
1 Possible FCS guy
Homedale vs Weiser – Homedale, ID
2 Possible FCS guys
Vallivue vs Bishop Kelly – Caldwell, ID (Vallivue HS)
2 Possible FCS guys
Timberline vs Skyview – Boise, ID (Donna Larson Park)
5 Possible FCS guys
Coeur d’Alene v Post Falls – Coeur d’Alene, ID
4 Possible FCS guys
Sugar-Salem vs South Fremont – Sugar City, ID
Rocky Mountain vs Meridian – Meridian, ID (Rocky Mountain HS)
11 Possible FCS guys
*** As always I”m not an journalist so, take your gramatical error comments, & put them in a beg some-Where. Hope you enjoyed the content regarless if you maid it too dis disclaimer
This morning the Big Sky Conference announced it will be moving its 2020 football season to the spring, effectively putting one of the final nails in the FCS Playoffs coffin. With the Big Sky out, many people seem to think the Missouri Valley will be the next conference officially putting an end to the FCS playoffs. Meaning, there really isn’t a strong reason for schools to play each other … except for money.
Fans will have differing opinions as to whether this was the right call, but I don’t care either way anymore. I just have more questions than answers: Questions on the national, divisional and local level. If you have the answers I seek, please share them.
The NFL Draft?
The NFL Draft is currently set for April 29th – May 1st. If FBS Power 5 play, you would imagine the NFL Draft is not moving. Are we going to have players sit out after a few good games in order to prep for the draft and not run the risk of injury? Think Trey Lance of North Dakota State who is a projected top 10 draft pick.
Not every players’ draft stock is as locked as Trey Lance’s if they choose to opt out. Do some opt in to playing at an FBS school this fall? This appears to be an option gaining popularity. An All-American James Madison standing announced he will be seeking to transfer to an FBS school per the Richmond Times-Dispatch because the FBS has a higher likelihood to play. Who else may fall in this category? Eric Barriere of Eastern Washington? Zerrick Cooper of Jacksonville State? Christian Elliss of Idaho?
Anyone’s best guess would put the 2020* FCS Championship Game around the end of April to early June 2021, in which case Major League Soccer would presumably be back playing. FC Dallas is the home team and owner of Toyota Stadium, where the FCS Championship is held. While not insurmountable to schedule around, maybe FC Dallas does not want the damage that football causes done to their short grass field when they are in middle of their season. Is the game moved to a new location?
It sounds like no one is losing eligibility. Seniors this fall will still be seniors this spring. How do schools know how many scholarships they have to use? Usually it is based off your projected graduating class. Some players may opt to just graduate in the winter of 2020. I would imagine the majority decide to return and play this spring. The FCS only allows 63 scholarships, so how are leagues and programs going to adjust this for spring?
The early signing period is in December and National Letter of Intent day is early February. Both, you would assume, are before the spring 2021 season would kickoff. Are early high school graduates, transfers and JuCo signings going to be able to play this spring since they will already be on campus?
How are schools going to make up the loss of the bodybag game payouts? Does the season moving impact TV contracts? These issues combined are millions of dollars left on table. Worrisome for athletic departments that tend to already run lean and rely heavily on these revenue sources just to meet budget.
Are we going to roll into the fall 2021 season with only 2-4 months off? If the Power 5 play, is this even safe? Most FCS schools’ first few games are against these type of schools. Is it safe for Mercer to be on about three months rest, start practice and then play Alabama to start their fall 2021 season?
Are teams still able to practice all fall and winter? What are the restrictions going to look like, both with Covid-19 and competitive restrictions?
The Big Sky Conference
Is the schedule going to be the same that it was for the fall 2020 season?
Thinking we will be in a much improved position come spring 2021 is a tad naive in my opinion. What is the plan if some schools cannot participate? How do you make the Covid protocol improvements athletes are looking for to be safe? How do we proactively put ourselves in a better spot than we are in today?
Are we canceling indoor track and field in the spring? Are the basketball programs going to get booted to Mem Gym late in the season? How does football coexist in the multi-use facility that is transformed three different times throughout the year?
Are we able to afford winter and spring sports without football revenue from the fall? Do people need to donate the the Vandal Scholarship Fund (VSF)? If so, how much do we need to give to save our programs?
For the third consecutive year Idaho has a QB Competition coming into fall camp. With the recent announcement broke by Colton Clark of the Lewiston Tribune, that Lewiston’s Colton Richardson will not be returning to the team this fall. The competition now seems even more open than before.
With Colton out, Idaho will carry five”ish” quarterbacks into fall camp. I would also not be surprised to see a late addition added to bolster some depth via the transfer portal.
Expect to Start:
Mike Beaudry: R-Senior
Mike has spent his collegiate career bouncing around a few times, Idaho will be his 3rd stop. The early indications were it was going to be Mike or Colton behind center in 2020. With Colton out it appears Mike is the leader in the clubhouse to take over the reins.
Being a senior expect him to be an important voice in the locker room. Not being able to work with the team in spring could make the comradery slower to develop.
Mike knows what it takes to step in and compete. He took Western Florida to the D2 National title game as a sophomore. He has the big game experience which should play well into the trend of Idaho last season . Who seemed to show up for all the big games.
He is coming in as a grad transfer from UConn who plays in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) which is widely regarded as the top group of five conference in the FBS. He won the starting job at UConn before suffering an injury early in the season that led to more of a dual QB system after.
He seems to be exactly what Idaho will need in 2020. A leader who can step in on a young offense with some experience and help them take the next step forward. Helping coach and push both Nayar & Jordan to be at even higher level come 2021.
Compete to Start:
Nikhil Nayar: R-Sophomore
After national signing day in February it looked like Nayar may have been a victim of the added depth Idaho has assembled in past two seasons, and would have been a long shot to start. Not necessarily based on talent, but based on getting reps. Between a returning redshirt junior, high profile true freshman and a FBS grad transfer, snaps would have been hard to get. With Colton no longer on the roster you would image Nikhil will be the beneficiary of most of those snaps.
In a year where Spring and Summer ball has been nonexistent it gives him a major leg up as this is his 3rd year in system where the others have only had playbook for a few months. They also have not had opportunity to practice with the team where Nayar has.
From everything we have heard Nayar has the talent to be QB1. But, in previous seasons seemed to lack consistency and confidence the coaching staff was looking for to put him in a serious starting position. You know what helps with consistency and confidence? Getting reps at practice, which he will be getting this year. Now Nayar just needs to capitalize.
Nayar is the sleeper pick to win the job. He has the Skills, Size and IQ. If he puts it together don’t be surprised if he blows this competition out of the water.
Caleb “CJ” Jordan: Freshman
Maybe the most hyped QB to join Idaho since Dominique Blackman, will have a lot of weight on his shoulder and maybe unfair expectations. To some he is already being viewed as the savior of Vandal football. Jordan was considered by Hero Sports to be the #2 QB prospect in the FCS. The 3 star out of Vancouver Washington (Greater Portland Area) had offers to many FBS schools including some in the power five such as Louisville. He is worthy of the hype. Idaho should be tactical with this decision. Throwing him to the wolves may not be the best idea, especially with a shortened off-season.
A major believe is if CJ had not suffered a season ending meniscus tear during his senior season. He would be playing for a Pac 12 or Big 12 type of school. The talent is there. If you follow CJ on Twitter, he has been working his tail off to get back on the field stronger than ever. Just because he can play, doesn’t necessarily mean he should.
With a Grad transfer appearing to be the favorite, it means Idaho will likely have a 4th straight year of competition coming in 2021. Giving Jordan a year to continue to rehab, learn the playbook, get in the weight room with coach Scharnhorst and build those relationships with his teammates.
Don’t forget with current NCAA rules he is allowed to play in 4 games during 2020 season and still be a redshirt freshman in 2021. In 2021 we would also have returning weapons Haywood, Hatten, Lee, Carter, Romano and others we will learn about this year.
This all being said, if he shows up and is the clear-cut favorite. You start him. After all he is a coaches kid, and Coach Petrino loves coaches kids.
Nathan Cisco: R-Freshman
A guy who has gone a bit under the radar. Coming into fall camp Cisco looks to have fallen into the position I had originally pegged Nayar in Being a victim of our depth. Cisco is young and is still learning the offense. 2019’s competition saw Richardson and Petrino receive the majority of the snaps with Nayar getting some snaps here and there. Expect Cisco to take that role in 2020.
It may be a hard year for Cisco and will test his mental fortitude. As unfortunately I do not think 2020 will be the year for him.
I have little doubt he will takes snaps in a live game in his future. But to happen in 2020 he would need to have taken a large leap forward in the off-season or injury issues.
Good news for Cisco is he is young and has years left in his career. His first 2 seasons will not define his career.
Carter Friesz : R-Freshman
A fan favorite in Moscow Carter will have a lot of people pulling for him. The last time we took a player whose dad had quite the name recognition in Moscow at the Quarterback position it worked out alright. Like Carter Friesz, Matt Linehan was under recruited for football but Idaho gave them a chance. Matt took that opportunity and never looked back.
Could Carter do the same?
Zach Borisch :Redshirt Sophomore
Former Washington player of the year arrived on campus with some expectations on his shoulders. He has since disappeared to many casual fans. The hardcore fans know he has received a greyshirt, redshirt and a position move to the other side of the ball.
Given his Judo background it appear to make sense that he would be tasked with taking people to the ground, instead of avoiding it.
That being said he did appear in a post by QB coach Charlie Molnar over the spring in a Zoom Meeting with the other QBs. He may get a run at QB this fall. His high school production lends you to believe he could take the reins and do something special with them.
But until we get confirmation, he will be running with the QBs full time this fall, it is easier to see him running some scout team or special packages, than a true starter.
This is how I view the competition and its competitors as we come into July. By September 4th Cisco could be starting and Borisch backing him up. Nobody really knows until we get these men back in pads and see how they look at full speed.
One thing is for sure, Vandal fans should be thrilled with the level of talent it appears this QB room has from top to bottom. That will only improve more in 2021 as Colton Richardson returns along with everyone else on this list not named Beaudry.
Entering the morning Idaho ranks 132 in the Nation for recruiting. Good for 3rd in FCS. Ahead of some notable programs
FBS: New Mexico State (145)
FCS: North Dakota State (138), Harvard (139), Yale (140),Montana (150) & James Madison (165)
We Landed another Rehkow! Landon Rehkow has signed his Letter of Intent to play for the Vandals!
Landon will take a 2 year mission. Will not be on the team until 2022. (Per Luther Elliss Interview)
Tune into Pluto.tv to see the Idaho Vandal recruiting special.
-Mike Breske excited about Colsbey Nosworthy out of CDA. Hoping he can win te bhattle to get him to “The Dark Side” (Defense). Much like he did with Llyod Hightower.
-Cinkovich is excited about Elijah Sanchez (247sports.com 3 star prospect). Beat out two other Big Sky Programs to win him. Chance he can get on field quickly.
-Luther Elliss talking FAMILY!
-Montana Alumi and current Idaho DB Coach Vernon Smith on Dareon Nash our University of Montana transfer. Coach Smith is EXCITED about Nash. Nash got bored on visit talking low level football. He shocked Smith how Nash intiaited more cmplex defensive conversations. Expects him to be star on cornerback for us this season. Lockingdown the outside. His Montana connection helped us land him.
-Kayode Rufai talks about the importance of the Northern Arizona win to close out the season. It help set the standard for this years senior class. “Even when the chips are down, you gotta show up”
-Brian Reader is amazing and we are lucky to have him. He is the perfect recruiting coordinator. He is what many wanted Jason Gesser to be, if Paul retained him when coming in. Brians a better fit in that role and an enormous asset to this program.
-Pauls picks for instant contributors. Chad Bagwell, Chauncey Smart & Fa’avae Fa’avae. Excited about Caleb “CJ” Jordan (arent we all?). Is currently 2nd highest QB recruit in the FCS and ” Will make Vandal fans happy for alot of years to come.” Postitions looking to have most competetion going into Spring ball: QB & O-line. The staff has already started putting together the 2021 class.
Where signees are from
UPDATE 2/6 4:11PM
247sports.com updated rankings. Idaho is ranked 134. Good for 5th in the FCS.
Notable teams behind:
Eastern Washington (128), Montana State (132), Cal Poly (133)
Notable teams Idaho is ahead of:
New Mexico State (146)
UC Davis (135) , Harvard (139), North Dakota State (140), [our D2 opener in 2020] Western Oregon (142), Montana (155), Missouri State (163), Idaho State (164), James Madison (168)