Feb. 6, 2002
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
University of Wyoming head football coach Vic Koenning announced his 2002 recruiting class on Wednesday. The class includes a total of 21 signees -- 15 high school student-athletes and six junior-college players.
Improving the overall depth and skill level in the defensive secondary was the biggest area of need heading into this year's recruiting period, and the Cowboy coaching staff filled that need by signing a total of seven defensive backs -- four junior-college signees and three high-school seniors.
On offense, five of the eight signees were backs and receivers.
The 2002 class features eight offensive players, 10 defensive players and three student-athletes who were recruited as combination players -- players who may play either offense or defense.
"We have improved the overall skill level of our football team with this recruiting class," said Koenning, in regard to his third recruiting class as head coach at Wyoming. "A number of the skill-position people in this recruiting class are outstanding all-around athletes -- many of them track and field athletes.
"We filled our immediate needs in the defensive secondary at midterm, signing four junior-college defensive backs who came to campus this January. We needed to improve our depth in the secondary, and we also needed to recruit student-athletes that we felt could contribute right away in that area. That is why we signed the number of junior-college players at that position.
"It was also important that we signed three offensive linemen, and we accomplished that goal with a group I am excited about.
"We feel like we attracted a quality person and quality player at the quarterback position. As a staff, we have tried to recruit at least one quarterback in each class.
"At linebacker, I believe that we have met both our immediate and long-term needs at that position.
"Last year's class featured a lot of defensive linemen, so we didn't have as great a need for help in that area this recruiting season.
"Overall, I think the quality of athletes we were able to attract in this recruiting class will have a very positive impact on our football team. The all-around abilities of this group of young men will also allow us, as coaches, to utilize many of these young men at a variety of positions."
Wednesday was the first day that high-school student-athletes could sign national letters of intent.
University of Wyoming
2002 Football Signees
(Alphabetical, As of Feb. 6, 2002)
University of Wyoming Football High-School Signees
Name / Pos. / Ht. / Wt. / Class / Hometown / (Last School)
Josh Barge / WR / 6-0 / 190 / Fr. / Blue Springs, Mo. / (Blue Springs)
Josh Barge is a two-time First Team All-State selection as a wide receiver, and was twice named the Kansas City receiver of the year. He also earned Kansas City All-Metro honors both his junior and senior seasons. Barge helped lead Blue Springs High School to a perfect 14-0 record and the Missouri Class 5A State Championship in 2001, that is the largest classification in Missouri. His junior season, Blue Springs posted a 10-2 record and advanced to the state quarterfinals. He had 58 receptions for over 1,000 yards as a senior, and caught 49 passes for over 900 yards as a junior. He also was an excellent defensive back, and is a talented track and field athlete. He is the defending Class 5A state champion in the 110-meter high hurdles, and finished second in the 300 intermediate hurdles at the state championships. He has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Coached in high school by Kelly Donohoe. He was also recruited by Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and SMU.
Josh Botkin / LB / 6-3 / 210 / Fr. / Dripping Springs, Texas / (Dripping Springs)
Josh Botkin was an outstanding linebacker at Dripping Springs, Texas, which is located in the Austin metropolitan area. Botkin earned First Team All-District honors as a junior. He recorded 74 tackles, including nine tackles for losses and four quarterback sacks his junior season. His senior season, he missed three games due to injury but still earned Honorable Mention All-District accolades. Botkin was credited with 71 tackles his senior season, including eight tackles for losses and four sacks. He also intercepted one pass his senior season. He runs well for a big man, according to his high school coach Howard Ballard. Botkin was also recruited by TCU, Texas Tech and UTEP.
Dorsey Golston / DB / 6-2 / 190 / Fr. / Kansas City, Mo. / (Southeast)
Dorsey Golston earned First Team All-State honors as a safety his senior year in Class 5A, the largest classification in Missouri. He also earned Second Team All-State honors as a junior and earned First Team Kansas City All-Metro honors from The Kansas City Star both his junior and senior seasons. Golston was named most valuable player in his league for two consecutive years, and was a three-time all-conference selection. He was credited with 135 tackles his senior season, and added five interceptions. An outstanding kick return man, he ran back five kicks for touchdowns his senior season -- three kickoff returns and two punt returns. His high school coach was Jesse Sands described Golston as a "safety with excellent speed and a big hitter." Golston was also recruited by Arkansas, Illinois and Kansas.
Jarreau Grant / WR / 6-1 / 190 / Fr. / Dallas, Texas / (Wilmer Hutchins)
Jarreau Grant was named District MVP his senior season at Wilmer Hutchins High School in Dallas, Texas. Grant started at quarterback both his junior and senior seasons. He led Wilmer Hutchins to a 10-3 record his senior season, and his team advanced to the regional semifinals of the state playoffs. He completed 63 of 135 passes for 894 yards in 2001 with six touchdown passes. He also rushed for 903 yards on 157 carries and scored nine rushing touchdowns. He averaged 5.75 yards per carry. His junior season he guided Wilmer Hutchins to a 6-6 record and his school's first appearance in the state playoffs since 1991. Grant's head coach Mike Robinson described him as the best athlete on the team. Grant was also recruited by SMU, TCU and West Virginia.
Austin Hall / LB / 6-2 / 210 / Fr. / Sheridan, Wyo. / (Sheridan)
Austin Hall earned First Team All-State honors as a linebacker in 2001. He was also named to the Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 list at linebacker. Offensively, Hall also earned Honorable Mention All-State honors at fullback. He led the state of Wyoming in defensive points, accounting for 140 total tackles, including 17 tackles for losses and six quarterback sacks. As a fullback, he rushed for over 800 yards and scored 12 touchdowns his senior season. He was his team's Defensive Player of the Year, and was voted a team captain. As a junior, he won the 4A State Championship in wrestling in Class 4A . His senior season, he is currently ranked No. 1 in the state of Wyoming at 189 pounds, having posted a 22-2 record. An outstanding track and field athlete, Hall placed third at state in the discus as a junior, and finished fourth in the shot put at the state championships. Coached at Sheridan High School by Bert Dow. Hall was also recruited by Montana State.
Ivan Harrison / RB / 5-10 / 170 / Fr. / Kansas City, Kan. / (Washington)
Ivan Harrison achieved First Team All-State honors his senior season at Washington High School in Kansas City, Kan. He also earned First Team All-Metro honors, First Team All-Kansan and First Team All-Kansas City Kansas League. His senior season, he rushed for 1,633 yards, had 10 rushing touchdowns and 2,178 all-purpose yards, including serving as his team's kickoff and punt returner. He rushed for 327 yards in a single game versus Wyandotte High School, and set a school record with 418 yards rushing in a single game versus Oswego High School. As a junior, Harrison rushed for 1,504 yards, scored 21 touchdowns and accounted for 2,224 yards of all-purpose yardage. He also helped lead his Washington High team all the way to the District Championship game his junior year. He has outstanding speed, being timed at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. An honor roll student his last two years of high school, he was coached at Washington High by Scott Milkowart. He was also recruited by Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri.
Chase Johnson / OL / 6-7 / 270 / Fr. / Loveland, Colo. / (Loveland)
Chase Johnson was an All-State, All-Region and All-Conference selection at Loveland High School in Loveland, Colo. He started both ways in high school -- on the offensive line and the defensive line. Johnson helped lead Loveland High to a combined 23-4 record his junior and senior seasons. Loveland won the Colorado 4A State Championship his junior season, posting a 13-1 record. His senior year, Loveland advanced to the semifinals of the state playoffs and ended the season with a 10-3 overall record. Johnson's senior season, he was credited with 27 solo tackles and 28 assists for a total of 55 tackles, including 9.5 sacks from his defensive line position. He played for head coach John Poovey at Loveland High. Johnson was also recruited by Colorado and Colorado State.
Jason Karcher / OL / 6-3 / 300 / Fr. / Tempe, Ariz. / (McClintock)
Jason Karcher was named to The Arizona Republic All-Arizona team as a senior. He was also named to the Coaches 4A All-State team and the All-City team. A two-year starter at McClintock High School, he was named All-East Valley both his junior and senior seasons. Karcher helped lead McClintock to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs his senior season. He was selected as his team's top offensive lineman, and also won his team's "Shovel Award" for the player who planted opponents on their backs the highest number of times. His high school coach Dick Baniszewski described Karcher as, "the most tenacious offensive lineman I've ever coached." Baniszewski also said that Karcher had great feet for a lineman, and is a player who finishes blocks extremely well. Karcher was also recruited by Colorado State, Idaho State and Weber State.
Charles Oliver / DB / 5-11 / 180 / Fr. / Euless, Texas / (Trinity)
Charles Oliver is a two-time All-District honoree as a defensive back and punt returner, and was twice named All-Conference. He was also listed as one of the Top 50 high school football playes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as a senior. Oliver was credited with 95 tackles, had two fumble recoveries and led the team with four interceptions. He also blocked three field goals and two extra points. Oliver helped lead Trinity High School to the Class 5A state semifinals this past fall. He earned his team's "Ironman Award", which is presented to the player who participates in the most plays. Oliver has been timed at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He was coached in high school by Steve Lineweaver. Oliver was also recruited by Utah.
Dustin Pleasant / WR-DB / 6-1 / 185 / Fr. / Temple, Texas / (Air Force Prep)
Dustin Pleasant comes to the University of Wyoming from Air Force Prep in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he attended school during the fall of 2001. He enrolled at Wyoming in January of 2002. Pleasant graduated from Temple High School in Temple, Texas, in the spring of 2001. He was an option quarterback at Temple High, but was described by his high school coach David Beal as "an outstanding all-around athlete, a total team player and a student of the game." His senior season at Temple High, he rushed for over 700 yards and passed for over 800 yards. He earned Honorable Mention All-District honors his senior season. Pleasant runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, and was recruited out of high school as a potential receiver by Kentucky, Texas Tech and UTEP. Also an outstanding track and field athlete, he was a member of Temple High's mile relay team that placed sixth in the Texas State Championships. He also ran the 400 meters individually, with his best time in the 400 meters being 48.0 seconds. Coached in high school by David Beal.
Aaron Robbins / TE-DE / 6-4 / 250 / Fr. / Aurora, Colo. / (Smoky Hill)
Aaron Robbins is a very versatile athlete who played fullback and linebacker in high school. With his size, the Wyoming coaching staff is looking for him to play at tight end or defensive end for the Cowboys. He was an All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State selection his senior season. He was credited with 81 solo tackles and 29 assisted tackles for a total of 110. He also had three quarterback sacks and recovered two fumbles. As a fullback, he rushed for over 400 yards. He was also used as a receiver out of the backfield, catching 10 passes. Robbins was a two-year starter for head coach Dan Gallas. He was also recruited by Colorado and Colorado State.
Jeff Rush / QB / 6-3 / 230 / Fr. / Phoenix, Ariz. / (Brophy Prep)
Jeff Rush earned First Team All-Region honors as a senior at Brophy Prep School in Phoenix. He completed 108 of 208 pass attempts for 1,620 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior season. Rush helped lead Brophy Prep to an 8-4 record in 2001 and the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. As a junior, he completed 68 of 118 passes for over 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns. Brophy Prep was ranked No. 1 in Class 5A entering the state playoffs Rush's junior season before losing in the quarterfinals of state, ending the season with a 10-2 record. Rush started at quarterback for Brophy Prep all his sophomore-senior seasons. He has been chosen to play in the Arizona All-Star Game to be played later this year. His father, Ed Rush, was a longtime official in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and is currently the Supervisor of Officials for the NBA. Rush played for head coach Tim Sanford at Brophy Prep. Rush was also recruited by San Diego State, SMU and Utah State.
Jason Schneider / TE-DE / 6-6 / 240 / Fr. / Fort Worth, Texas / (Paschal)
Jason Schneider played both ways for Paschal High school, as a tight end on offense and a defensive end. He earned First Team All-District honors as a defensive end. During the summer of 2001, Schneider was invited to the Nike Football Camp in College Station, Texas. He also was a Gatorade Will to Win honoree. His senior season, he was credited with 43 tackles, including one sack and forced three fumbles. His junior season, Schneider made 45 tackles, including six sacks. His junior season, he also forced six fumbles, recovered three fumbles and intercepted two passes. In addition to football, he was a two-year starter in basketball. Paschal High School competes in the largest classification in Texas, Class 5A. Coached in high school by David Guerra. Schneider was also recruited by Baylor and Iowa.
Mark Schwarz / OL / 6-5 / 265 / Fr. / Melbourne, Fla. / (Satellite)
Mark Schwarz was chosen by the Associated Press as the First Team All-State center in Class 4A as a senior. He was also one of only 35 Florida high school seniors selected to play in the Florida-Georgia All-Star game, which was played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the winter of 2001. Florida won the game 48-17. Schwarz was also selected to the Central Florida East-West All-Star game and the Florida North-South All-Star game. He was a unanimous All-District 11 selection, and was named to the Florida Today All-Space Coast Team. Throughout his three years as the starting center for Satellite High School, Schwarz played every offensive snap of every game, and was also his team's long snapper. He was co-captain of his Satellite High team, and his team selected him as the Offensive MVP. In basketball, he was named a tri-captain and as the starting center averaged 8.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Academically, Schwarz has achieved a 3.8 grade-point average in his high school honors program. He was named to the "Florida Talented 20", which is the Top 20 percent academically of all Florida high school seniors. Coached in high school by John Hartman. Schwarz was also recruited by Florida, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, North Carolina State and Stanford.
John Wendling / DB / 6-1 / 190 / Fr. / Rock Springs, Wyo. / (Rock Springs)
John Wendling led his Rock Spring High School team to a perfect 11-0 record and the Wyoming Class 5A State Championship as a senior. He was named All-State as a senior at three different positions -- running back, defensive back and return specialist. He also earned Super 25 honors from the Casper Star-Tribune . As a junior, he was selected as an All-State defensive back. During his senior season, Wendling was an outstanding defensive back. He was routinely assigned to cover the opponent's top receiver. He rushed for 1,147 yards as a running back and accounted for 1,875 yards of all-purpose yards. He scored 17 touchdowns as a senior and averaged 9.6 yards every time he touched the ball. During his junior and senior seasons combined, he accounted for over 3,000 yards of all-purpose yardage and scored 30 touchdowns. Wendling also excelled in track and field, winning the State Championship in the long jump as a junior and finishing as the runner-up in the triple jump. An outstanding student, he is a member of the National Honor Society and is active in student council. He was coached in high school by Jamie Christensen. Wendling was also recruited by Colorado State, Montana State and Utah State.
Junior-College Signees (Already Enrolled at Wyoming)
Chris Dixon / DB / 6-0 / 180 / Jr. / Jackson, Miss. / (Hinds CC, Miss.)
Chris Dixon earned Most Valuable Defensive Player honors in the 2001 Mississippi Junior College All-Star Game. He also earned Second Team Junior College All-State honors. In 2001, Dixon was his team's second leading tackler, with 37 solo tackles and 16 assists for a total of 53 tackles. He also registered four quarterback sacks for a minus 22 yards, five tackles for losses of a minus 20 yards, caused four fumbles, had two passes broken up and intercepted three passes. Dixon was a two-year starter at safety for Hinds. His freshman season at Hinds Community College, he was part of a team that won the 2000 Mississippi Junior College State Championship. He played his high school football at Jim Hill High School in Jackson, Miss. In high school, Dixon played defensive back and wide receiver, earning All-District honors. An outstanding all-around athlete, he also played basketball, soccer and ran track. Dixon played for head coach George Murphy at Hinds Community College. He was also recruited by Central Arkansas, East Tennessee and Tennessee Martin.
Jay McNeal / DB / 6-1 / 190 / So. / Tallahassee, Fla. / (Hutchinson CC, Kan.)
Jay McNeal started every game at safety for Hutchinson Community College in the fall of 2001, after redshirting his freshman season. As a redshirt freshman, he was credited with 53 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception for a touchdown. McNeal also blocked one field goal. He comes to Wyoming with three years of eligibility remaining. He played for head coach Dave Wheeler at Hutchinson. McNeal was also recruited by a number of Mid-American Conference teams, as well as Southwest Missouri State.
Armand Woodson / DB / 6-1 / 190 / Jr. / Phoenix, Ariz. / (Phoenix College, Ariz.)
Armand Woodson was an All-Conference safety as a freshman at Phoenix College. He missed three games his sophomore season due to a hamstring injury, but still earned Second Team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference honors. He played for head coach Gary Cook at Phoenix College. Coach Cook described Woodson as a "big hitter, and very studious." Woodson called the defensive signals for the Phoenix secondary. He played at Sunny Slope High School in Phoenix. Woodson is the brother of current NFL safety Darren Woodson of the Dallas Cowboys, who played collegiately at Arizona State. Woodson was also recruited by Boise State, New Mexico, New Mexico State and UNLV.
Nate Young / DB / 6-1 / 186 / Jr. / Jackson, Miss. / (Hinds CC, Miss.)
Nate Young earned Honorable Mention All-State honors as a safety his sophomore season at Hinds Community College after playing wide receiver his freshman year of junior college. He ranked fourth on his team in tackles as a sophomore with 47 total tackles -- 34 solo tackles and 13 assists. He also had six passes broken up, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries -- one of which he returned for a touchdown. While at Hinds Community College, he also earned Academic All-America honors. His freshman season at Hinds, he was part of a team that won the 2000 Mississippi Junior College State Championship. Young's junior-college coach was George Murphy. Young played his high school football at Provine High School in Jackson, Miss. He was selected by the Mississippi High School Coaches Association as the Most Valuable Defensive Player in the state his senior year of high school, and earned Defensive Player of the Game honors in the North/South Mississippi All-Star Game following his senior season. Other colleges that recruited him out of junior college were Tulsa, Alabama State, Northwestern State (La.) and Jackson State.
Junior-College Signees (That Will Enroll in the Fall of 2002)
Reymon Murphy / RB / 5-9 / 170 / Jr. / Killian, Fla. / (San Jose City College)
Reymon Murphy rushed for over 1,000 yards in both seasons he played at San Jose City College. He was a Region III All-State selection his sophomore season, and was a two-time All-Golden Gate Conference selection. His sophomore season he carried the ball 127 times for 1,016 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Murphy averaged 8.0 yards per carry and 101.6 yards per game. He ranked No. 23 in rushing among all California Community College players in 2001. In addition to running the ball, he had 207 yards of receiving, 369 yards in kickoff returns and 17 yards in punt returns for a total of 1,609 all-purpose yards. Murphy played for head coach Howard Gay at San Jose City College. Coach Gay described Murphy as, "a durable back with excellent speed who is also an outstanding receiver coming out of the backfield. I think Wyoming really found a sleeper in Reymon." A team co-captain his sophomore season, Murphy was also recruited by Arkansas, Iowa State, Northern Arizona, San Jose State and Utah State.
Ryan Zodda / LB / 6-2 / 230 / Jr. / Scottsdale, Ariz. / (Scottsdale CC, Ariz.)
Ryan Zodda was a two-year starter at Scottsdale Community College. As a sophomore, he was elected team captain his sophomore year. He led Scottsdale Community College with 118 tackles, including 80 solo tackles and 38 assists. He five sacks, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, forced six fumbles and recovered four fumbles. Zodda has excellent speed for a linebacker, running a 4.47 40-yard dash. He played for head coach Ken Giovando at Scottsdale Community College. He has put on nearly 50 pounds since high school, yet has increased his speed and strength. Zodda played his high school football at Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. As a high school senior, Zodda earned Honorable Mention All-State honors, was an All-District outside linebacker and was named to the All-Scottsdale Team. Zodda also was named by his team as the Defensive MVP. He helped lead Horizon High School to back-to-back 10-2 records his junior and senior seasons, ending in the state quarterfinals both seasons. He was also recruited by Arizona, LSU, UNLV and New Mexico State.