‘I always wanted to be a Cowboy’
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl loves the big bodies and athleticism that come from the Midwest. He finds plenty of toughness in places like Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.
The speed and overall talent that comes from Texas and California can't be denied.
Colorado has produced some of the best players to ever wear a Wyoming uniform.
The heart, well, that comes from all around. But one place it's prevalent is in Wyoming.
Logan Wilson has it. So does Brett Brenton, Jordan Bertagnole, Logan Harris and Justis Borton, among many others.
Keeping that in state is top priority for Bohl and his staff.
"Well, it's critical," he said during Wednesday's early signing day press conference. "When we first got here, that's what we said we were going to do -- Wyoming was going to be very first place that we look for players and develop rapport with high school coaches."
Just 40-plus miles east on Interstate-80, the Cowboys' staff did just that with Cheyenne Central's Andrew Johnson.
He was one of Wyoming's 17 new signees Wednesday. He was the only one from the Cowboy State.
"You know, he's a really aggressive guy who was very competitive," Bohl said, crediting tight ends/ co-special team coordinator Shannon Moore with sealing the deal. "His tape was very compelling ... We're really excited about offering him a scholarship."
They aren't alone.
Johnson is the typical Wyoming kid. He dreamed of wearing Steamboat on his helmet and running onto the field at War Memorial Stadium in front of friends and family. He wanted to be a part of this program. He watched other players -- like the locals listed above -- turn this program around and into a contender.
He even wears the Wyoming state flag headband just like Wilson did.
READ MORE ABOUT JOHNSON HERE:
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- VIDEO: Andrew Johnson commits to Cowboys
"I grew up watching Wyoming and was a fan since I was very young," Johnson said. "I’ve always wanted to be a Cowboy. When I got the opportunity, I couldn’t say no."
Johnson, a standout receiver and defensive back in high school, was brought to Laramie to play safety.
Trust me, he knows about guys who played in that spot.
There's Tashaun Gipson, Andrew Wingard, Marcus Epps and Alijah Halliburton, but he knows that has also been a spot where a couple of local guys flourished -- Chris Prosinski and John Wendling. The Buffalo and Rock Springs native, respectively, both went on to have long successful NFL careers.
Those two probably sounded a lot like this when they came in, too.
"They are getting a Wyoming-raised football player that will outwork everyone," Johnson said. "I’ll do everything I can to make not just me better, but the team and players around me."
- For transparency purposes, Andrew Johnson is the son of 7220sports.com photographer, DJ Johnson.