BY MIKE PRATER
THE IDAHO PRESS
Important fact: Hank Bachmeier is a true freshman who made Boise State football history Saturday afternoon.
Soothing fact as the Broncos, finally, dive into Florida State week: He’s not your typical, wide-eyed and confused true freshman stumbling onto an out-of-state college campus with the awkwardness of a newborn pup.
Bachmeier, despite being only a few months removed from high school in Southern California, is 20 years old. And has been a starting quarterback every fall, without missing a season, since 2015 when he was 16.
“He has the maturity you don’t usually see in a young quarterback,’’ junior receiver CT Thomas said during fall camp.
Bachmeier home schooled until his freshman year for the Murrieta Valley High Nighthawks.
He started all four seasons at Murrieta.
He committed to Boise State in the spring of 2018 after strong interest from the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten and Ivy League.
He finished high school in December and enrolled at Boise State in January.
And on Saturday, he conquered his own world, or at least joined the newest college football trend of true freshmen landing starting quarterback gigs.
True freshmen have played quarterback at Boise State before, including the newly departed Brett Rypien, but Bachmeier is believed to be the first one to start the season opener.
And he’s definitely the first to start an opener against Florida State on national television on a prime-time Saturday night.
Somebody bring the barf bucket.
Then again, does this kid with boyish looks and floppy dark hair even know nerves? He seemed calm, cool and collected during Saturday afternoon’s Fan Fest on The Blue, even though it was a controlled practice/scrimmage. A few minutes after it ended, coach Bryan Harsin made the news official.
“He’s talented. He can throw. I think he’s got a good demeanor and I think he handles himself well. He’s coachable,’’ Harsin said.
The competition to win the QB job in fall camp was tight and intense, but in the end, Harsin said Bachmeier is a clear No. 1 over redshirt sophomore Chase Cord.
“Hank, deservedly, is the quarterback right now. … No doubt about it, Hank has earned that opportunity,’’ said Harsin, who has made it clear he has no plans to platoon two quarterbacks.
So just who is Boise State’s new BMOC?
We’ve seen very little of him on the football field, though he clearly loves the pocket, has a strong and accurate arm, makes good decisions (so far) and carries himself with a nice touch of moxey. Everybody says he works hard and has a huge football IQ.
He’s not yet allowed to speak for himself — Boise State keeps true freshmen away from the media — so we don’t know much about Hank Bachmeier the person.
When asked by a young child after Fan Fest whether he was the starting quarterback, Bachmeier was overheard saying: “That’s what they say.’’
Simple. To the point. Modest.
Just the way coaches like it.
The Los Angeles Times published a profile on Bachmeier last November, revealing a few more inner details into the Life Behind Bachmeier.
He and his family lived in the private, gated community of Rancho Capistrano.
He has three younger brothers — Bear, Tiger and Buck. That alone should make Idahoans proud … and there’s more.
Bachmeier, according to the Times, “likes hanging out in the mountains, looking up at the stars, seeing wild animals grazing nearby.”
Said Bachmeier in the article: “I saw seven deer last night and a couple of baby Bambis. You get some mountain lions, snakes, coyotes. A lot of my neighbors have horses and sheep. I don’t really want to live close to people. Maybe that attracted me to Boise State. I like keeping to myself.”
His high school coach at Murrieta was George Wilson, who told the Times: “It’s definitely been a unique experience to have a four-year starter. He’s uniquely humble. He respects his coaches. He does what he’s told.”
If all true, Bachmaier is poised for a successful true freshman season at Boise State, regardless of what happens at Florida State on Saturday. He has all the tools he needs to compete for a Mountain West title and a New Year’s Six bowl run — including a favorable schedule.
Bachmeier will be surrounded by five returning starters on the offensive line, the deepest wide receiver group in school history, a committee of three running backs, solid tight ends and a friendly (at least so far) and more experienced backup in Cord.
After one of the longest offseasons in Boise State history — at least it feels that way because of the bowl fiasco, QB speculation and roster changes — a new era of Bronco football has been launched.
It all starts with Bachmeier, who as a new resident of our state, already seems highly likable and very Idahoan.
Can’t wait to learn more about him as a college football player.
Mike Prater is the Idaho Press sports columnist and co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk on KTIK 93.1 FM every Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. and Bronco Game Night after every Boise State football game on KTIK and KBOI 670 AM. He can be found on Twitter @MikeFPrater and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.