Feb. 5, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
A class of 22 recruits that reach from California to Florida was announced on Wednesday afternoon by University of Wyoming head football coach Craig Bohl. Bohl was extremely pleased with the class his staff assembled in the shortened recruiting time they had available to them after taking over the Cowboy Football program this winter.
Among the largest position groups were: three quarterbacks, one of whom was a two-time All-State selection in the state of Wyoming; four tight ends, which was needed to fit the needs of Bohl's new pro-style offense; four defensive backs; and five defensive linemen to fill needs at those positions. The 2014 class includes two junior college signees and 20 high school recruits, and breaks down into 12 student-athletes on offense and 10 on defense.
"Overall, we are very pleased with the class that our staff has been able to put together," said Bohl. "The first year that you come into a program is always less that ideal because the normal recruiting cycle begins over a year in advance of signing day.
"Our staff hit the ground running. It was great to have Coach (Pete) Kaligis on our staff to help us maintain contact with some of the young men we already had committed. We have a very capable staff, who have connections in different parts of the country. We probably accessed some areas that I don't think are going to be traditional Wyoming areas, i.e. Florida, but nonetheless because of the skill base that was there and the needs that we have, we feel like we've done well.
"We are going to continue to re-engage in what I would call traditional Wyoming areas, including the state of Wyoming, in which we were happy to sign a player from Wyoming this year in Austin Fort from Gillette. Colorado will be an area where we will increase our efforts, and was a state that we felt we did well in this year signing two young men. We're going to continue to recruit out west. We were able to sign a group of student-athletes from California and Arizona this year."
In terms of how he felt his staff was able to meet the specific position needs in his first recruiting class at Wyoming, Bohl said most position needs had been met.
"For the most part, we feel good that we were able to fill most of our needs," said Bohl. "Certainly it was important for us to find a couple quarterbacks, which we did. Running back was an important position, as was the tight end position, which you can see from the number of tight ends that we signed was an area of emphasis. A lot of those needs grew out of the re-engineering of our offense. We are going to utilize a pro-style system, so those guys will come into play, and we feel like we really did well there. The other area we think we did really well in was the secondary. We were probably a little shy at linebacker."
When Bohl spoke earlier this winter about his expectations heading into 2014 National Signing Day, he said that he wouldn't sign players unless he felt they met a threshold of being able to help the Cowboys win in the Mountain West Conference. Bohl admitted that the final size of the 2014 class (22 signees) exceeded his initial expectations.
"We went into this recruiting class thinking that if we were able to get to 20 young men, who we had a firm conviction in our hearts were above the line for us to be successful in the Mountain West, then we would have done extremely well," said Bohl. "When you look at the size of this class, we exceeded 20, and we are firmly convinced that these young men are all above the line. Now are all the members of this class going to be All-Mountain West players, probably not, but coming in, our convictions as coaches is they all have a chance to be excellent players."
The 2014 Wyoming recruiting class follows with bios and highlights on each of this year's class.
The recruits in the 2014 Wyoming recruiting class bring with them a number of outstanding credentials. Among the individual honors received by the members of this year's class are as follows.
Aaron Young led ASA College to a No. 7 ranking in the final 2013 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) men's football poll. The Avengers posted a 9-1 record in 2013, including winning their final nine games of the season.
Ryan Cummings was a standout on a Valor Christian High team that captured the 2013 Colorado Class 5A State Championship. Class 5A is the largest classification in the state of Colorado. Valor Christian concluded the season with a 13-1 record. They were ranked as the No. 1 team in the state of Colorado and the No. 24 best high school team in the nation by MaxPreps.com.
Nico Evans was named to the 2013 Pac-5 Division All-CIF football team as selected by the Football Coaches Association. He was also named the Most Valuable Offensive Back in the Serra League his senior season. He rushed for 1,686 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2013.
Austin Fort was named to the Super 25 football team by the Casper Star-Tribune both his junior and senior seasons at Campbell County High School in Gillette, Wyo. He led Campbell County High School to a 10-1 record and the No. 1 seed in the 2013 Class 4A state playoffs. Gillette ranked No. 1 in the state in total offense (394.5 yards per game), No. 1 in rushing offense (253.1 yards per game) and No. 3 in passing offense (141.4 yards per game) in 2013.
C.J. Jennings was named the Fastest Man and Defensive MVP at the Orlando National Underclassmen Combine in April 2013.
Brinkley Jolly has been one of the top dual-sport athletes in the state of Missouri during his high school career at Liberty North High School in Liberty, Mo., outside Kansas City. As a tight end, Jolly earned Second Team All-State Class 4 honors in voting by the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters his senior season. As a junior, Jolly earned First Team All-State Class 4 honors in basketball in voting by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.
Tyree Mayfield earned First Team Class 5 All-State honors as a junior tight end in 2012 from the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters.
Chavez Pownell earned Honorable Mention All-State Class 6A honors as a wide receiver his senior year in voting by Florida newspaper editors and reporters. He started as both a defensive back and wide receiver for Jefferson High School in Tampa, Fla., and had 64 total tackles and five interceptions his senior season.
Nick Smith led Merritt Island High School to an 11-1 record in 2013 as the starting quarterback and led Merritt Island to the Regional Finals of the Class 5A State Playoffs, falling just one game shy of the State Semifinals. The Mustangs began the season 11-0 before losing in the Regional Finals. Smith was named an Honorable Mention Class 5A All-State honoree his senior season. The All-State team was selected by Florida media editors and reporters. He was also invited to and played for the East Team in the 15th annual Central Florida High School All-Star football game that took place in December 2013.
Joshua Stanton, the younger brother of Wyoming's leading tackler last season Jordan Stanton, helped lead his Valencia High team to an 11-3 record in 2013 on way to an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division State Championship Game.
Daniel Vega was selected to four different First Team All-State Class 4A teams his senior season of 2013, including the Des Moines Register, the Iowa Newspaper Association, the IowaPreps.com and Iowa Sports Spotlight All-State teams. He is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 10 recruit in the state of Iowa's 2014 recruiting class.
The national letter-of-intent signing period for football began on Wednesday, Feb. 5 and will conclude on Tuesday, April 1.