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The Recruiting Road So Far: Wyoming

Cowboys appear loaded at the skill positions, but can they land a running back?

NCAA Football: Wyoming at San Jose State D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

This is week two and part six of our twelve-part series to kick off the recruiting season, and the final one of this week. The aim of these articles are to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, what to expect come December 20th, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February.

Wyoming: 7th in the MWConnection Recruiting Rankings

The Cowboys came in to the season riding sky-high expectations behind national sensation, QB Josh Allen. However, they failed to meet those as they finished the regular season 7-5. Their opening schedule was tough and led to a 1-2 start with losses to Iowa and Oregon. Then they rattled off 3 straight wins, beating Hawaii in OT, Texas State, and 5 point win over Utah State. After shocking Boise State last season with a victory, they came up short this year, but rebounded with another 3-game win streak, including narrow victories over Colorado State and Air Force, putting them at 7-3. But it came with a cost as Allen was injured and missed the two losses to Fresno State and San Jose State.

In what would be considered a change of pace in today’s spread/up-tempo movement, the Cowboys offense is a more traditional one. It features two WRs, a TE, a RB, and a FB. Their WRs from last season we one shorter shifter player complimented by a bigger more physical receiver, which gives them variety though it doesn’t have to be that way. The TE in an offense like this should be very balanced, as there is a strong emphasis on the power-run game. Blocking is a must and as a receiver, the scheme doesn’t necessarily call for a a deep-threat in the passing game. The running-back would arguably be the most important player in an offense like this, as they lean on the run game considerably, both between and outside the tackles.

On the defensive side, they play a very traditional 4-3. Like described in past articles, the DEs are the primary pass-rushers and tend to be a bit on the lighter side to use speed. The DT tends to be an interior rusher and along with the NT, plugs up the middle to stop the run. The LBs all have different focuses: the MLB stops the run and covers running backs out of the back field on check downs, the WLB has some run-stopping abilities but also plays in coverage with a slot WR or TE, while the SLB is used to blizt, stop the run, and is your primary pass defender out of the 3, picking up slot WRs or TEs, whoever is considered a bigger threat. The safeties tend to play deeper to provide support to the CBs.

The Road So Far:

According to Rivals, the Cowboys have 16 verbal pledges in the 2018 class. Similar to some other teams in the conference, Bohl and his staff tend to recruit players who fit their system more so than land the biggest rated recruits. In a way, they can be thought of as a mini SDSU in terms of getting great production out of classes that aren’t highly ranked. In this class, they’ve recruited the state of Colorado very well, and oddly enough, seem to have a nice pipeline from the state of Illinois (probably from Bohl’s time in at NDSU). They also get a great deal of their recruits from talent-rich California.

Looking at the offensive side of recruiting it’s easy to see talent. Big 6’3 QB Sean Chambers was flipped from Rutgers and is mobile enough to draw some Wentz comparisons. He has the weapons surrounding him too with Gunner Gentry, Reow Jackson both listed at 6’3, and 6’2 Camron Donatlan, who is seen as an athlete who is a bit raw at football due to playing 3 sports in high school. Throw in 6’7 TE Jackson Marcotte and their passing-game should be set for years. Their line is a bit lean now but given a few years to put on weight, Frank Crum and Blayne Baker should grow into their large frames. Newest commit ATH Jevon Bigelow could be used on either side of the ball.

On the other side of the ball, half of their defensive class is in the secondary, but it’s full of talent all over. DE Solomon Byrd and Zach Watts are the two members of the defensive line in this class thus far. Byrd is at prototypical pass-rushing size at 6’4 220 lbs while Watts figures to become a fixture in the interior of the DL and could see the field early. Charlie Hicks is an athletic linebacker who could probably fill either the SAM or WILL spots. Their secondary looks loaded with Rome Weber, Miles Williams, Cameron Murray, and Chad Mumba. All have great size (ranging from 5’11 to 6’3). The former two will probably be CBs while the latter will slide into safeties. Lastly, they have a scholarship LS Jesse Hooper, which is rare so you know he is full of talent at his respective position as well.

Number Expected to Sign in December: 9 players confirmed they are intending to sign in December.

Number Expected to Enroll Early: 1 has confirmed he will enroll early at this time.

Top Targets Remaining:

RB Kenyon Sims, LB Kwami Jones, ATH Jalani Ellison, OL, DL

The Road Ahead:

Their roster only lists 9 seniors on the team. When you throw in Josh Allen, who will leave early for the NFL, it still won’t amount to much of an outgoing class. Exact numbers are not known and are ever-fluid, but they could end up taking around 21 commits, so picture about 5 spots left. Running back is big need for them as they don’t yet have one and it’s an integral piece in their offense (any offense obviously, but theirs especially). They could use another LB and possible another guy or two on each side of the line.

The best case scenario for them is to finish off this class nicely first and foremost by securing their running back commit. A second LB, preferably a MLB who can shut down the run would go a long way for the defense in this class. Everything else would really be icing on the cake at that point. Their receivers and secondary are already set, as is their QB. They have 2 players on each side of the line secured. If they can add to that number, it would go a long way but their numbers are limited so the priority here should be: RB, LB, DL/OL.

All in all, the Cowboy coaching staff has already put together a solid 2018 class and now are just filling in the holes. Running back, like quarterback, is usually a position where teams take a player every class. Teams can never have too many great rushers and for a team like Wyoming that is built on a strong run game, it’s even more important. Looking over the names, seems like Wyoming should reload and though these may not be household names now, quite a few have all-conference potential after getting plugged in the system.

Up Tomorrow: UNLV

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