COURTESY OF BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY
Boise State quarterback Tyler Tharp nearly accepted a scholarship offer to come to Hawaii.
Events nearly lured Tharp to Hawaii
Taylor Tharp was on the Brink of becoming a Warrior.
If Alex Brink hadn't changed his commitment to Washington State four years ago, Tharp might have been the quarterback for Hawaii tomorrow instead of Boise State when the teams meet for the Western Athletic Conference championship at Aloha Stadium.
Things worked out pretty well for the Warriors and Broncos. UH ended up with Colt Brennan at quarterback, a former walk-on who will finish his storied career in a few weeks as the greatest football player in the school's history.
In Tharp, the Broncos have a capable replacement for three-year starter Jared Zabransky. The senior, who had never started a game before this year, has led BSU to a 10-1 record and is closing in on 3,000 yards and 30 touchdown passes.
In 2003, when Brennan was a freshman at Colorado, Tharp (who's father, Dick, was the Buffaloes' athletic director) was a high school senior. He was leaning toward UH, especially since Boise State had a quarterback in its recruiting class and Hawaii didn't.
"Really close," Tharp said. "When I tripped to Hawaii, Boise had had a commit from Brink, the guy that went to Washington State. My options were limited to Hawaii or possibly Wyoming at the time. I went out there, was really close to committing, didn't commit while I was there and as things unfolded.
"Pete (Boise State coach Chris Petersen) called me that week and said that Brink had de-committed and ... I jumped in right away. I was very close to being a Warrior."
UH coach June Jones was disappointed to lose that recruiting battle, especially since Tim Chang was coming to the end of his five-year run as a starter and viable candidates to replace him were needed.
"We thought he was going to come. He's our kind of guy, a real accurate passer," Jones said. "Nobody was recruiting him and once we got on him, Boise got on him."
After Chang finished in 2004, sophomore Brennan (who had transferred from Colorado and Saddleback College) and second-year freshman Tyler Graunke competed for the starting spot at UH in 2005, with Brennan winning out early in the season.
If Tharp had been in the mix, would Brennan still have ended up at UH? Would he perhaps have accepted a scholarship at San Jose State instead, where his cousin coached?
"Lot of ifs in that question, but it could've happened," Jones said.
To add to the series of coincidences, former Boise State coach Dan Hawkins is now at Colorado, and his son, Cody, is the CU quarterback.
So a guy who grew up in Boise is the Colorado QB, a guy who grew up in Boulder is the Boise QB, and a guy who was at Colorado is the Hawaii QB.
"The game itself is kind of serendipitous. Things happen, one thing leads to another," Warriors quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison said. "We're real happy (Brennan's) here and I'm happy for Taylor that he's doing well where he is.
"He was a very good high school quarterback, threw the ball well, had a real good knowledge of what they were doing," Morrison added. "Great kid. We always stayed in touch. When we play each other we always visit. It was nice getting to know him. He's a fine young man and I'm happy for his success. He deserves it."
Tharp said he doesn't think about what kind of numbers he might have put up in Hawaii's offense if he'd gone to UH (and managed to beat out some stiff competition to start).
"You can always play the different scenario game. You try and figure out if things might have been different," he said. "But I couldn't have asked for the situation I've gotten here. I've been completely blessed to be in a situation where I've been a part of four WAC championships, gotten four rings and have a chance to get a fifth. This has been the perfect situation for me and I wouldn't trade it."