Craig Bohl: Expect ‘Blend’ of Prep, Portal Players at Wyoming
LARAMIE -- Who says Craig Bohl doesn't scour the transfer portal?
Wyoming's ninth-year head coach Monday received a verbal commitment from former Northern Illinois running back Harrison Waylee. The sophomore rushed for nearly 2,000 yards during his three-year tenure in DeKalb and has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Last December, the Cowboys added eight incoming transfers, including junior quarterback Andrew Peasley, who threw for 1,388 yards and tossed nine touchdowns while helping guide Wyoming to a 7-5 record and an upcoming appearance in the Arizona Bowl.
Aside from the former Utah State signal caller, Bohl and Co. also snagged cornerbacks Jakorey Hawkins (Ole Miss) and Deron Harrell (Wisconsin), along with ex-Michigan State linebacker Cole DeMarzo.
That trio above combined for 66 tackles, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions on a defense that allowed just 23.4 points per game.
"We've allocated more time to that," Bohl said, referring to the portal. "I think last year is an indication that, you know, we're evolving. We're pleased with the guys that we were able to add and that's going to be no different this year."
Quarterback Evan Svoboda (Snow College), defensive end Keelan Cox (Alabama), wideout Chase Locke (USC) and safety TJ Urban (Air Force) did not see the field in 2022. Cox and Urban both suffered season-ending injuries in the offseason.
With the NCAA's early signing period beginning today, UW signed 13 players along with Waylee. Bohl, who was admittedly no fan of the transfer portal when it was created back in 2018, said it is now a must.
Just don't expect him to build his roster that way.
"There's just going to be kind of a blend," he said. "I think it would be a misstep for us if we would choose to go away from the scholastic model of high school recruiting, particularly, you know, some of the guys that we've had on our team. But to supplement our team is going to be important, and to identify some of the needs and some of the deficiencies we've had."
Bohl said the university has purchased software that makes it easier to comb through the portal and view footage of live-game repetitions. He also said it's imperative to vet these players the old fashioned way, by reaching out to fellow coaches around the country.
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It's no secret that this UW program has seen its fair share of exits over the previous two winters. Last December, just minutes after the bowl victory in Boise, those infamous "Thank you, Wyoming" notes started hitting social media. The Cowboys lost both quarterbacks -- Levi Williams and Sean Chambers -- along with leading receiver and rusher, Isaiah Neyor and Xazavian Valladay, respectively. Both starting cornerbacks -- Azizi Hearn and CJ Coldon -- left, too. Fifteen players in total hit the portal.
This fall, seven players have already announced their intentions to leave, not to mention 1,000-yard rusher, Titus Swen, who was dismissed after the season finale for a "violation of team rules." He has since entered his name in the NFL Draft. Wyoming lost its defensive back with the most interceptions, Cam Stone, its leading receiver, Joshua Cobbs, and one of the top young edge rushers in Oluwaseyi Omotosho. Defensive backs Keonte Glinton and Zaire Jackson, along with wideout Tyrese Grant and running back Joey Braasch, also left.
There could be more turnover to come.
Bohl said there are players who have already graduated, some of which could be ready to move on and start their professional careers. On senior day, just four Cowboys were honored: Eric Abojei, Marco Machado, Zach Watts and Miles Williams. Only Abojei and Williams exhausted their eligibility.
While this signing class could "creep up some," (Wyoming lost two verbal commits last week in defensive end Evan Herrmann and offensive lineman Rocky Shields) Bohl added the days of inking 20-plus high school players is not where the program is at the moment.
"That's kind of a moving target -- and that's not just coach speak," Bohl said when asked if he has an expected number of recruits he wants to sign Wednesday. "We're going back and forth, saying, 'OK, do we take a portal guy at this position or do we take a high school guy? Or, do we take a junior college player?'"
Here are the players UW is expected to ink Wednesday:
Quarterback - Kaden Anderson - Southlake, Texas
Running back - Keany Parks - Kenosha, Wisconsin
Defensive tackle - Dante Drake - Robinson, Texas
Tight end - Jake Davies - Yorkville, Illinois
Offensive tackle - Quinn Grovesteen - Evansville, Wisconsin
Defensive end - Tell Wade - Wray, Colorado
Defensive tackle - Lucas Samsula - Plano, Texas
Wide receiver - Bricen Brantley - Houston, Texas
Cornerback - Chauncey Carter - Garland, Texas
Defensive back - Ian Bell - La Verne, California
Defensive tackle - Jayden Williams - Bryan, Texas
Cornerback - Naz Hill - Kankakee, Illinois
Wide receiver - Justin Stevenson - Katy, Texas (Will enroll early)
Running back - Harrison Waylee - NIU Transfer
* Craig Bohl will meet with the media at 3 p.m. Mountain Time to discuss the latest class. Stay tuned to 7220sports.com for all the latest UW football news
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