Dec. 20, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. - University of Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen announced the signing of three junior-college players to national letters of intent on Wednesday, which was the first day mid-year, junior-college transfers could sign letters of intent. The three new Cowboys are: Malkaam Muhammad a linebacker from Iowa Western Community College; Jesse Sampson, a safety from College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif.; and Jordan Stanton, a linebacker from Los Angeles Pierce College of California. The three will all join the Cowboy Football program for the 2013 spring semester.
Muhammad will enter the University of Wyoming as a sophomore, athletically. He played his freshman season of 2011 at Iowa Western and redshirted in 2012. He will have three years of eligibility remaining at UW.
Sampson and Stanton will be juniors, when they enroll at UW in January. They both played two years of junior-college football, and will have two years of eligibility remaining as Cowboys.
In addition to the three new junior-college signees, it was announced that Tom Thornton, a high school quarterback from Tempe, Ariz., who had originally signed as a grayshirt with Wyoming in February of 2012, will also join the Cowboys beginning with the 2013 spring semester.
Thornton will enter school at UW as a true freshman, with four years of eligibility.
Malkaam Muhammad is a 6-0, 225-pound linebacker originally from St. Joseph, Mo. He is the younger brother of former Wyoming linebacker Ghaali Muhammad, who just completed his senior season with the Cowboys in 2012. The younger Muhammad played at Iowa Western Community College in 2011 and redshirted this past season of 2012. Iowa Western captured the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship, with a perfect 12-0 record. As a freshman in 2011, Muhammad recorded 38 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks. Iowa Western was 9-2 in 2011, and ended the season ranked No. 7 in the final NJCAA national poll. He played for head coach Scott Strohmeier at Iowa Western. As a high school senior at Central High School in St. Joseph, Mo., Muhammad earned First Team All-State, All-District and All-City honors. He played linebacker, running back and returned kicks. Muhammad rushed for over 1,500 yards as a running back his senior season. He was also a team captain as a senior. As a junior, he rushed for over 1,000 yards. He was a four-year letterman in football and track at Central High School, and played for head football coach Jeff Wallace.
Born March 14, 1992, he is the son of Jamma and Marcell Jackson, Jr. He has one sibling -- his older brother Ghaali. His cousin, Martin Rucker, was an outstanding tight end at Missouri from 2004-07. His cousin, Mike Rucker, was a talented defensive end, who played at Nebraska from 1995-98. Muhammad was also recruited by Colorado State, Nevada and Western Kentucky.
Jesse Sampson is a 6-0, 200-pound safety from Canoga Park, Calif. Sampson led his College of the Canyons team in tackles in 2012, with a total of 61 tackles in 10 games. College of the Canyons earned a bid to the Southern California Bowl to end the season, where they lost a close 21-24 game to Santa Ana College. He ranked 13th in the Southern California Football Association's Northern Conference in tackles, averaging 6.1 tackles per game. He had 31 solo tackles and 30 assisted tackles. Sampson added 3.0 tackles for losses, one interception and two pass breakups as a sophomore for the College of the Canyons. The Cougars posted a 6-5 overall record in 2012, and won four of their last six games. They placed third in the Southern California Football Association's Northern Conference, with a 4-2 conference mark. His freshman season, Sampson also led the Cougars in tackles, with 49, including 24 solo tackles, 25 assists and 2.0 tackles for losses. He intercepted one pass, had two pass breakups and forced one fumble in 2011. Sampson earned Second Team All-Conference recognition as both a freshman and sophomore. He also earned Dean's List honors both years in junior college. He played for head coach Garett Tujague at College of the Canyons. In high school, Sampson played both safety and wide receiver at Bishop Alemany High School. Bishop Alemany was ranked No. 9 in the state of California his senior season, posting a 13-1 record and advancing to the CIF State Semifinals. As a senior, he recorded 76 tackles, 4.0 sacks, and intercepted one pass. Sampson was named All-Serra League as a senior. His junior season, he was credited with 83 tackles, 4.0 sacks, two interceptions, one pass breakup and two fumble recoveries. Sampson earned All-Mission League honors and Second Team All-CIF honors as a junior, as he helped lead Bishop Alemany to a 10-4 record and a CIF Championship. He was an honor student throughout high school.
Born July 24, 1993, he is the son of Natalie and Anthony Sampson. He has one older brother, Anthony, and one younger sister, Brianna. His brother played football at UC Davis. Coming out of junior college, Sampson was also recruited by Hawai'i and New Mexico.
Jordan Stanton is a 6-0, 250-pound inside linebacker from Palmdale, Calif. Stanton tallied 29 tackles as a sophomore at L.A. Pierce Community College, including 21 solo tackles, eight assists, 3.0 sacks, 7.0 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one recovered fumble and one pass breakup. He helped lead L.A. Pierce to a 9-2 overall record, a 6-1 conference mark and a second-place finish in the Southern California Football Association Pacific Conference. L.A. Pierce won the Patriotic Bowl Championship over Mt. San Jacinto by a score of 37-34. Stanton earned Second Team All-Conference honors as a sophomore in 2012. He played for head coach Efrain Martinez at L.A. Pierce. In high school, Stanton played at Pete Knight High School in Palmdale, Calif. He was named a team captain as both a junior and senior. Stanton was credited with 139 tackles, forced five fumbles, intercepted three passes and recovered two fumbles as a linebacker his senior season. He also rushed for over 700 yards as a running back, and scored 12 touchdowns. He was named the Golden League Defensive Player of the Year, earned First Team All-League and was named a National Football Foundation High School Scholar-Athlete. His junior season, he recorded 90 tackles and forced two fumbles. He received an Award of Academic Excellence from his high school, achieving a 3.83 grade-point average. His high school coach was Corey Guilfoos.
Born Sept. 24, 1993, he is the son of Linda and Darrell Stanton. He has an older brother, Darrell Jr., an older sister, Asia, and a younger brother, Joshua. Coming out of junior college, Stanton was also recruited by Arkansas State.
Tom Thornton, a high-school quarterback from Tempe, Ariz., signed a national letter of intent with the Wyoming Football program in February of 2012. He decided to grayshirt, meaning he chose to postpone his enrollment at the University of Wyoming until the 2013 spring semester. He is a 6-1, 205-pound, quarterback who played his high school football at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, Ariz.
Thornton received First Team All-State Division II recognition from the Arizona Coaches Association his senior season. He also was named an Honorable Mention All-State Division II honoree by the Arizona Republic as a senior at Marcos de Niza High. Division II is the second largest classification in Arizona. Thornton threw for 2,544 yards and had 20 touchdown passes, while completing 65 percent of his passes in 2011. He added 812 rushing yards and eight rushing TDs. As a junior, he threw for 1,934 yards and 23 touchdowns. He was voted a team captain as both a junior and senior, and led his Marcos de Niza team to back-to-back 9-3 seasons in 2010 and `11, advancing to the Quarterfinals of the State Playoffs both seasons. He played for head football coach Roy Lopez. Thornton began his high school career at Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colo., which is the same high school as current Wyoming Cowboy Riley Lange.
Born on Sept. 30, 1993, he is the son of Gina and Jim Thornton. He has one older brother, Jake. Thornton was also recruited by Arizona, Brown, Navy and Utah State.
The signing period for mid-year, junior-college transfers runs through Jan. 15, 2013.