LARAMIE — Craig Bohl just put together the best recruiting class he’s ever assembled at Wyoming.
The Cowboys wrapped up their 2019 signing class last week with five additions during the traditional signing period. That brought the number of total signees to 24 with 13 of them being ranked as three-star prospects in a class that ranks sixth in the Mountain West in 247Sports.com’s composite team rankings. None of Bohl’s first four full recruiting classes ranked higher than eighth.
The question now is which of them are in the best position to make an impact for the Cowboys as true freshmen?
“I do think the depth and breadth of the class indicates each one of those guys is going to get a hard look,” Bohl said. “That’s not rhetoric. There’s a lot of them that bring a lot to the table.”
The truth is a realistic answer won’t likely start being formed until the fall, especially since most of the newcomers — all of which are high school players — won’t get to campus until this summer. Quarterback Levi Williams and receiver Devin Jennings are the only known signees who have enrolled early and will go through spring practice.
Jevon Bigelow ended this season as Nico Evans’ backup at running back after injuries and in-season departures stretched the position thin. Quarterback Sean Chambers took over as the starter after eight games because of a lack of production out of Tyler Vander Waal. Zach Watts, showing the kind of intense competitive nature Bohl was looking for along the offensive line, ended the season as the starting left guard.
In other words, there are many factors that go into how soon and how often true freshmen see the field, but Bohl said there are three that he and his staff evaluate the most when making that determination: positional need, athleticism and the emotional capacity to handle the rigors of competition at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
“We have a positional need and they may have a skill set we can use, but freshmen a lot of times are just not ready for the rigors of college football,” Bohl said. “I know when I played, freshmen were ineligible. And I think there’s still merit for that. We’ll make a measured decision on which guys we play, but we like the breadth and athleticism throughout this class.”
The Cowboys’ biggest needs for instant contributors may be along the defensive line and in the secondary. Wyoming is losing five defensive linemen off its two-deep, including starters Carl Granderson, Youhanna Ghaifan and Sidney Malauulu, as well as safeties Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps and backup nickel Chavez Pownell.
Bohl didn’t mention anyone specifically when asked which freshmen he expected to push for significant playing time this fall, but Bakersfield Christian (California) safety Keonte Glinton, the highest-ranked of the Cowboys’ five defensive back signees, could be one that contributes immediately. The versatility of Alonzo Hall, a 6-5, 230-pound tweener who played defensive end at Resada (California) High but was signed as a defensive tackle, is something Wyoming could use sooner rather than later along the defensive front.
The Cowboys also signed three running backs with Bigelow and Xazavian Valladay being the only ones returning that got significant carries last season. Alphonzo Andrews Jr. (5-10, 185 pounds), Dawaiian McNeely (6-2, 206) and Titus Swen (5-11, 190) are different types of backs whose skill sets could be used early depending on the situation.
“We got thin last year,” Bohl said. “We lost a really talented player with Nico, so for us to sign three players at that spot is really going to be helpful. You can never have too many running backs in that system.”