LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming Cowboy Football announced its 2016 recruiting class on Wednesday, with 23 recruits from 11 states signing national letters of intent with the Cowboys on National Signing Day. The class was very balanced with 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players and one kicker joining the Cowboy program.
A press conference featuring Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl will be streamed live on the official Wyoming Athletics website, GoWyo.com, at 3 p.m., Mountain Time Wednesday. Videos of this year's class will be shown during that live webcast. Additional information is available on the Wyoming Signing Day Central page at GoWyo.com
Among the players who became Wyoming Cowboys on Wednesday were: running back Theo Dawson the 2015 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Wyoming from Jackson; fullback Zach Taylor from Gillette, Wyo., who was a two-time All-State selection and led Campbell County High School to consecutive 4A State Championship games; offensive lineman Dustin Weeks the No. 1 ranked recruit from North Dakota; quarterback Chandler Garrett the No. 8 ranked player from Oklahoma; offensive lineman Gavin Rush the No. 9 rated recruit from Nebraska; and three of the Top 15 ranked recruits from the state of Colorado.
Offensively, the 2016 class features three offensive linemen, three running backs/fullbacks, two wide receivers, two tight ends and one quarterback. On defense, five linebackers and five defensive backs were joined by one defensive lineman. The Cowboys also signed the All-Colorado place-kicker Cooper Rothe, who was ranked as the No. 15 best recruit at all positions in the state of Colorado.
This year's class breakdown includes one junior-college signee and 22 high school seniors. The eleven different states represented in this year's Cowboy recruiting class included: Wyoming, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington.
"We're extremely pleased with this year's class, and have a high number in this class with 23 signees," said University of Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. "We are particularly pleased that we were able to sign two players from the state of Wyoming in Theo Dawson of Jackson and Zach Taylor of Gillette. Theo is going to go on an LDS mission, which we are fully supportive of. We feel it is important to identify the top players in our state and be able to sign them. We've also done well in Colorado again, signing four players.
"I think we hit our baselines on filling the needs we have, whether that be signing a quarterback, a couple running backs, some offensive linemen, tight ends, defensive backs, linebackers and a place-kicker. We are well pleased the way we spread those scholarships out.
"Continuity on our coaching staff is critical. Having the same coaches, going out to the same areas of the country, meeting the same high school coaches and spreading our message about Cowboy Football has been advantageous for us. We are now at a point where a lot of the programs that we have been recruiting the past three years know a lot about us and that has developed a real sense of stability and credibility that has allowed us to be more effective in recruiting."
The national letter-of-intent signing period for football began on Wednesday, Feb. 3 and will conclude on Friday, April 1, 2016.
Here are a selection of highlights from the 2016 Wyoming Football recruiting class.
∙Ja'Chai Baker (defensive lineman) earned Second Team Class 4A All-District honors from the Des Moines Register as a senior in 2015. Class 4A is the largest classification in Iowa. He is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 13 recruit in the state of Iowa.
∙Theo Dawson (running back) was named First Team All-State Class 3A as selected by the Wyoming Coaches Association in both 2014 and 2015. Dawson also earned Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 honors as both a junior and senior. He was selected as the 2015 Wyoming Gatorade Football Player of the Year.
∙Parker Dumas (wide receiver) is ranked by Rivals as the No. 20 best recruit in the state of Washington.
∙Chandler Garrett (quarterback) is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 8 recruit in the state of Oklahoma. He is ranked No. 23 in The Oklahoman's final Super 30 rankings of top Oklahoma recruits of 2015. Garrett is a three-star ranked recruit by 247 Sports. He was named by the Oklahoma Coaches Association to its Class 6A All-Star team at the conclusion of his senior season. Class 6A is the largest classification in the state of Oklahoma.
∙Mike Green II (running back) was ranked as the No. 49 best recruit in the entire state of California in 2015 by MaxPreps.
∙Alijah Halliburton (safety) is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 12 recruit in the state of Colorado. He was one of only 31 players named to the 2015 Denver Post First Team All-Colorado Team for all classifications.
∙Drew Harvey (linebacker) was ranked as the No. 17 best prospect in the state of Ilinois by MaxPreps.
∙Sam Maughan (tight end) is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 14 recruit in the state of Oregon.
∙John Okwoli (wide receiver) is ranked as the No. 14 best recruit in the state of Arizona by both 247 Sports and ESPN.com. He is a three-star ranked recruit by Rivals, 247 Sports and ESPN.
∙Cooper Rothe (place-kicker) is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 15 best recruit in the state of Colorado in 2015. He was one of only 31 players and the only place-kicker named to the 2015 Denver Post All-Colorado First Team for all classifications.
∙Gavin Rush (offensive lineman) is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 9 recruit in the state of Nebraska. He was named Honorary Captain of the Nebraska Class B All-State team as a senior. He was a member of the Omaha World Herald All-Nebraska Team. Rush was also named to the Lincoln Journal Star All-Super State team.
∙Braden Smith (safety) is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 14 recruit in the state of Colorado.
∙Alec Stewart (tight end) is ranked as a three-star recruit by Scout.com. He earned All-Orange County honors as a senior.
∙Zach Taylor (fullback) was a unanimous selection as a First Team Class 4A linebacker in 2015 as selected by the Wyoming Coaches Association. He also earned First Team All-State honors from the Wyoming Coaches Association in 2014. Taylor was named to the Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 as both a junior and senior.
∙Jace Webb (offensive lineman) earned First Team All-State honors from The Oklahoman as a defensive lineman following his senior season in 2015. He was ranked No. 18 in The Oklahoman's final Super 30 rankings of top Oklahoma recruits of 2015. Webb is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 26 recruit in the state of Oklahoma. Webb is a three-star ranked recruit by 247 Sports.
∙Dustin Weeks (offensive lineman) is a three-star ranked recruit by 247 Sports. He was also named the No. 1 ranked recruit in the state of North Dakota by 247 Sports.
∙Shiloh Windsor (linebacker) played both running back and linebacker at Ada High School in Ada, Okla. He is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 34 best recruit in the state of Oklahoma.