Call it what you want: a formula, a gameplan, a mentality. We’ll call it a recipe. Chris Petersen has it. It’s the recipe that’s allowed him to roll up a 92-12 record at Boise State over the past eight years, good for the top win percentage in the nation among active FBS coaches. It’s also a recipe that has been unique to Boise State and unique to Petersen.
Jalen Greene is Petersen's quarterback of the future and has a similar skill set to some or his quarterbacks of the past.
After turning down advances from nearly every major job opening in the country over the last few years, Petersen finally found the right situation at the right time to leave Boise State when the University of Washington came calling. With that decision to leave Boise and the Mountain West for Seattle and the Pac-12, we all get to see if that recipe has the same BCS Bowl taste as it did on the Blue turf in Idaho.
Cloaked beneath the statues of liberty, the hooks and ladders, the sideline proposals, the BCS Bowl wins and undefeated seasons, Boise State has been a blue collar team with a chip on its collective shoulder. For Petersen, the approach was ‘we’re going to out-evaluate, out-develop and out-coach you’. They were beating the heavyweights with players those schools didn’t want.
But what was the alternative? Boise State wasn’t going to out-recruit Oklahoma, Virginia Tech or Oregon. If they were going to beat them, they had to out-evaluate and out-develop.
Under Petersen at Boise State, the Broncos recruited what they term O.K.O.G.s or ‘Our Kind Of Guys’. It’s a term that encompasses the intangibles and the mentality of each prospect, not just the raw numbers or offer list.
Kellen Moore was an O.K.O.G. He chose Petersen and Boise State over offers from Eastern Washington and Idaho. He went on to compile a 50-3 career record as a starter. Doug Martin was an O.K.O.G. he was a consensus two-star in the recruiting industry, chose Boise State over Cal Poly and then went on to set the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie rushing record in 2012. Austin Pettis was an O.K.O.G. He was also a second round draft pick despite Utah and Utah State being his only other major opportunities out of high school.
But with the Pac-12 brand behind Petersen, with a beautiful new stadium and facilities at Washington, will the definition of an O.K.O.G. change? Early indications are that it won’t.
Petersen’s first order of business as Washington head coach was to steal safety Darren Gardenhire from rival Washington State. Gardenhire is a late-rising but talented safety that Petersen was pursuing and attempting to flip while at Boise State. A versatile and fluid defender, Gardenhire lacks the blueblood offers from UCLA, USC, Oregon, Oklahoma or Notre Dame but he’s been a standout in nearly every setting in which he’s competed.
Petersen’s second commitment came from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra quarterback Jalen Greene. Greene originally committed to Petersen back in the spring. Boise State was his first offer and only Colorado and Fresno State later offered until Petersen reissued his vote of confidence with a new Washington offer.
Peterson owns a 92-12 record at Boise State over the past eight years.
Though 247Sports holds Greene – an athletic and accurate lefty with limited arm strength – in high regards as a four-star prospect, the industry generated 247Sports composite ranking has him more in line with Boise State prospects of the past as a mid level three-star. But Petersen doesn’t seem to worry about that.
The third commitment of the Chris Petersen era at Washington was a steal from an upper tier Pac-12 name. UCLA commit Jojo McIntosh decommitted from the Bruins on Monday shortly after landing a Washington offer. Washington State and none other than Boise State were his only other major west coast offers. McIntosh is ranked as the nation’s No. 99 safety according to the industry generated 247Sports Composite rankings but his length at 6-2 and his cornerback-type cover skills caught Petersen’s eye.
Even beyond Petersen’s three early commitments, the class in place at Washington looks eerily similar to a Boise State haul. In fact, of the five other commitments, two of them remarkably hail from Idaho: three-star tight end Chase Blakley and three-star offensive tackle Matt James.
Stay dialed in to the recruiting movements at Washington in the coming weeks at RealDawg.com. What you’ll find is that the targets that emerge have some commonalities but the stars next to their name and the offers on their profiles are not going to create a trend.
Budda Baker remains one of Washington’s most important targets as an in-state Top100 prospect as does four-star Kaleb McGary. But other targets include Jacob Tuiloti-Mariner, currently rated as a two-star as a 6-2, 250-pound defensive lineman. Shane Bowman, another in-state prospect that had a monster senior year as a teammate of Baker at Bellevue, could emerge as a target despite an Oregon State commitment currently. Boise State three-star commit Drew Sample could also be a candidate to flip to Petersen at Washington. Jaylen Johnson also a one-time Boise State commit and a mid-level three-star defender has since decommitted and could be another commitment candidate for the Huskies.
It’s not a who’s who list of recruits nationally. But it never has been with Petersen.
Petersen has never been one to follow the crowd. His playcalling reflects that, his recruiting reflects that, his success reflects that. Even after taking a step up to Washington, it looks like that recipe is going to remain the same and for Washington fans, that’s probably a good thing.