LARAMIE -- Jay Sawvel called his initial 26-man recruiting class an "awesome list," but his sights were already set on Feb. 7, the traditional signing day.

"I'm really comfortable with where we're at," Wyoming's rookie head football coach said in late December. "... We want to supplement that with some more guys. This is important for us. We're not done. We have more work to do, and that's where we're going to do."

Sawvel and his staff did just that.

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The Cowboys are expected to ink at least three transfers on Wednesday in former Texas Tech wide receiver Tyler "TK" King, North Carolina safety/ running back DJ Jones and linebacker Evan Eller, who spent the previous three seasons at the Virginia Military Institute.

The program has lost a plethora of pass catchers to graduation, including Wyatt Wieland, Gunner Gentry, Ryan Marquez, Ayir Asante, Treyton Welch and Colin O'Brien.

King, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound former track star at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, has three years of eligibility remaining.



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Jones, who was a three-star running back out of Fayetteville, N.C., finished with 15 tackles last fall after transitioning into the Tar Heels' secondary. During the previous three seasons, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound tailback rushed for 442 yards on 97 carries. He added two touchdowns. Jones also snagged 24 passes for 157 yards and a score. He also returned kickoffs.

Jones has one season of eligibility. He will move back to the offensive backfield in Laramie, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Wyoming also needs to replace leading tackler Easton Gibbs, who declared for the NFL Draft at season's end. Weakside linebacker Shae Suiaunoa announced in January he would be returning for a sixth season.

Eller, who was 16th in the FBS last season with 106 total tackles, will spend just one season in Laramie.

At least three high school prospects will make it official Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the situation. There will be additional preferred walk-on's, though it's not clear at this time who is and isn't on scholarship.

Sawvel has often called that semantics, adding all recruits are treated equally.

"All of us who embrace these types of guys who are non-scholarship players coming into a program, a lot of us have Division II and 1-AA backgrounds," said Sawvel, who himself played college football at Mount Union, a Division-III program in his native Ohio. "You had to build a lot of your team on guys that weren't always the highest-rated recruit or this, that and the other.

"The development process of those guys becomes critical."


Here is what we know so far:

Nico Hamilton - RB - 5'11", 200lbs. - Austin, Texas

A number of Ivy League schools wanted Nico Hamilton. So did a pair of military institutes, including Mountain West rival Air Force. He chose Wyoming. The tailback from Lake Travis, Texas rushed for 1,273 yards on 192 carries during his senior season. That's an average of 6.6 yards per attempt. He also found the end zone nine times.


Markie Grant - CB - 6'1", 165lbs. - Houston, Texas

Markie Grant chose Wyoming over a number of FBS schools, including Power-5 programs like Indiana Arizona State, Arkansas, Cal, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Syracuse and Washington State. The three-star cornerback from Dekaney High School also received offers from Mountain West foes Utah State, UNLV, Fresno State and Border War rival Colorado State. According to, Grant registered a combined 89 tackles, including 7.5 for loss, during the 2021 and '22 campaigns. He also picked off three passes and broke up 20 more. Grant forced six fumbles and recovered three others.


David Leonard - DB - 6'1", 170lbs. - St. Louis, Mo.

David Leonard suited up at quarterback at St. Mary's High School in the St. Louis area. According to, Leonard threw for 1,566 yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with just three interceptions. He completed 50% of his passes. As a ball carrier, Leonard rolled up 421 yards on the ground on just 60 attempts. That's an average of seven yards per carry. He added six touchdowns. He is listed as a defensive back on his Twitter account.


Caleb Hall - OL - 6'5", 280lbs - Sacramento, Calif.

Caleb Hall has three known offers, one of which came from conference foe Nevada. The other, San Diego. A three-star prospect from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., visited Laramie in late January. He committed 10 days later. Hall was named to the First Team All-Delta League after paving the way for Marauder running backs to rush for 2,663 yards. He is the son of former Notre Dame All-American, the late Justin Hall, who played on the offensive line during Notre Dame's run to the national championship in 1988. Hall was also a graduate assistant in South Bend and roommates with Jay Sawvel from 1996-98. Caleb Hall's mother, Jen Hall, worked in the ND football office.


* Tyler "TK" King - WR - 5'9", 180lbs. - Houston, Texas (Texas Tech)

Before signing with Texas Tech in 2022, King was a two-time state medalist on the track, running a personal best, wind-legal 20.74 in the 200-meter dash to land third overall in Class 6A, the largest classification in the Lone Star State. He also took third in the 4x100 relay, landing a school record time of 40.50. King also owns the fastest 200-meter time in Alief Taylor track history. He did that as a junior. His reportedly 10.21 second finish in the 100-yard dash also happened that year. He was pretty good at football, too, hauling in 40 catches for 780 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. He was also named District 23-6A Return Specialist of the Year. He was heavily recruited out of high school from programs like Houston, Memphis, Texas Tech, CSU and others. Read more about King right HERE.


* DJ Jones - RB - 5'11", 200lbs. - Fayetteville, N.C. (North Carolina)

Some heavy hitters wanted DJ Jones out of Pine Forest High School. Michigan offered. So did Missouri, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest and Duke. He instead decided to go to Chapel Hill, where he suited up at running back for his first three years on campus. He was moved to safety before the 2023 campaign. He racked up just 15 tackles out of the Tar Heels' secondary. He will move back to running back in Laramie, according to a source.


Spencer Rathbun - OL - 6'5", 270lbs. - Littleton, Colo.

Spencer Rathbun was voted unanimous First Team All-Conference during his final season at Rock Canyon High School in the Denver area. He will ink as a preferred walk-on. His father, Rob Rathbun, was the Cowboys starting center during the 1996 season. Wyoming won a Pacific Division title that year and appeared in the inaugural WAC Championship game in Las Vegas.


* Evan Eller - LB - 6'1", 225lbs. - Roanoke, Va. (Virginia Military Institute)

Stanford and Virginia Tech kicked the tires on this former safety. Eventually, though, it was a bevy of IVY League schools and military academies that actually offered. Evan Eller chose the Virginia Military Institute in his home state. During his three seasons in Lexington, Va., Eller was a safety/ linebacker hybrid, tallying 235 tackles to go along with 1.5 sacks and an interception. Read more about Eller HERE.


* Garrett McGriff - S - 6'1", 175lbs. - Carmichael, Calif. (Army)

Garrett McGriff comes to the Cowboys from Army West Point. He did not appear in any games for Army. He is a graduate of Jesuit High School in his hometown of Carmichael, Calif. Out of high school, McGriff was a three-star recruit by In the 2021-22 season, Jesuit amassed a record of 10-2 and completed an impressive playoff run, making it to the semifinal in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Football Playoffs. He recorded 879 rushing yards for an average of 12.2 yards per carry, 20 total touchdowns, 23 total tackles, three interceptions, and 120 kickoff return yards in only three returns. Along with his statistically great year, Garrett was awarded the Delta League MVP.


* Clay Nanke - TE - 6'6", 235lbs. - Denver, Colo. (Colorado State)

Clay Nanke played at Colorado State prior to coming to Wyoming. He converted to tight end in the spring of 2023 after spending time on defense. He appeared in two games for the Rams last season against Washington State and UNLV. He did not record any statistics.


* Jaylan Bean - WR - 6'5", 200lbs. - Dallas, Texas (Garden City C.C.)

Jaylan Bean comes to Wyoming from Garden City Community College one the top programs in junior college. Last season at Garden City, he recorded 20 receptions for 230 yards. He had nine catches for 103 yards in his final two games of the season with five catches for 25 yards against Snow College and four catches for 78 yards against Coffeyville Community College. He was graduate of DeSoto High School in the Dallas area. As a senior, he recorded 48 receptions for 607 yards with six touchdowns.

* Indicates he transferred from another program

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit:

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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