BOISE – Taylen Green is no longer the backup, no-name freshman quarterback who could go to the movies or the grocery store and not be recognized. Not even close.
In barely six months he’s become the face of the Boise State football team. He’s landed multiple NIL deals with local businesses. He’s done autograph signings at a pizza joint. He’s asked to stop and take pictures with fans around town.
But to this point Green appears to be handing the new-found fame with ease. The Broncos held their first spring practice Thursday morning inside the Caven-Williams Sports Complex and there was Green leading the offense as the unquestioned starter.
After practice he did what the starting quarterback should do, but something he rarely did last season – meet with the media.
It’s all new for a kid that was rarely known or talked about when last season began.
“I’m still the same person I was when I first got here,” Green said. “I really don’t try to think about that. It’s a team sport and a team effort. We’re all Broncos. I can’t do what I do without my o-line, I can’t do what I do without the receivers, I can’t do what I do without the defense. So I don’t think about it as ‘me’. It’s a ‘we’ thing.”
Green took over as the starter five games into the season in 2022 when four-year starter Hank Bachmeier stunningly elected to enter the transfer portal. Green, a redshirt freshman last year, led the Broncos to an 8-2 record in his 10 starts the rest of the season and went on to win Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors.
The 6-foot-6, 222-pound Green passed for 2,042 yards rushed for 586 yards and accounted for 24 total touchdowns (14 passing, 10 rushing). He was one of nine quarterbacks in the country to have at least 10 passing and rushing touchdowns last season, but the only freshman to do so.
He had six 200-yard passing games and three 100-yard rushing games. He rushed for a career-high 119 yards in the Frisco Bowl and was named Offensive MVP after accounting for 256 total yards and three touchdowns.
Not bad for someone who wasn’t even sure how much he’d get to play when last year started.
“Definitely it was a crazy year,” Green admitted. “The lessons and experiences I learned from last year, definitely (will help) going into this year. I’m taking it literally day by day like I said last year. I’m taking it rep by rep. Don’t worry about the exterior.”
His instant success helped make him one of the most popular Boise State athletes in any sport in a matter of days. But he didn’t let the attention get to his head, and by all accounts had a strong two months of winter conditioning and offseason training heading into the start of spring practices.
“It was impressive,” Avalos said. “He grew a lot through the course of last season when he got his opportunity to jump in there, and that’s because of his humility to keep things simple and keep his focus on the right things and he’s continued to build off of that. He’s constantly up there and it’s not just the Xs and Os of football, it’s ‘how could I lead this better, how could I do this better.’
“When you have a guy who has a care factor like this and is focused on the right things, and there’s a lot of outside things too, new opportunities and people obviously wanting to be his friend and all those things but he’s done a good job and must continue to do a good job of keeping his focus where it needs to be and keeping his circle tight so he can spend the time. That’s what it is for a quarterback, it’s time management, because what they have to put in to grow and prepare looks a lot different than the other players.”
One area Green is focused on improving this season is his leadership skills.
“I would say taking my game to the next level by just communicating and not being silent,” Green said. “Just telling guys what to do and where to line up and taking command and being assertive with what I want and what I feel Bush wants for the team.
With the transfer of backup Sam Vidlak after the season Green is suddenly the oldest and most experienced quarterback on the roster despite entering his third season. Redshirt freshman Maddux Madsen and true freshman CJ Tiller are battling for the backup spot.
This is Green’s team now. And the redshirt sophomore appears ready for what’s ahead.
“It’s crazy to think about, but I’m the oldest in the QB room now,” Green said. “They look to me and ask questions. It’s kind of cool how it all worked out.”